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Using Technology to Build an Integrated Practice #5 of 6
See how the fully-automated private practice can improve patient engagement & outcomes.
The fifth blog in a 6-part series
According to a survey conducted by The Physicians Foundation1 to more than 17,000 physicians nationwide, physicians spend 21% of their time engaged in non-clinical paperwork. Given a workforce of approximately 800,000 physicians in active patient care, this equates to 168,000 physician FTEs not engaged in clinical activities.
Additionally, due to rising regulatory burdens and the growing demand for their services, 80% of the responding physicians indicate they are overextended or at capacity, with no time to see additional patients. You may ask, what are the other 20% doing correctly? Only 14% of the 80% say they have the time needed to provide the highest standards of care. Given that a majority of physicians are at or over capacity, it’s not surprising that 72% feel that external factors such as third-party authorizations and higher deductibles significantly detract from providing quality of care. These factors have a profound impact on how care is delivered and received.
But how can the independent practice compete with the resources of hospitals and large health systems? A technology-enabled, integrated practice is key to solve the physician burnout and patient engagement dilemmas.
The Importance of Implementing Technology
Today the most successful and profitable independent practices rest on a foundation of office technology that allows them to work more efficiently, maintain a better work/life balance, grow their practice, reduce errors and provide an excellent patient experience.
From patient care to management of your medical practice, innovation in technology continues to prove its worth in all aspects of healthcare. As stated in Forbes,2 technology will continue to shape and change the business of healthcare both in day-to-day duties and overall patient care. Technology has worked to improve the medical field, but without a complete understanding of the integration of these technologies into a healthcare system, the value of these innovations is diminished. It’s crucial to stay up-to-date on available tools to most effectively advance your independent practice. The responsibility of implementing new technologies into your practice often falls on the office manager. Available technologies can be expensive, and the money and effort spent on acquiring these tools can go to waste if your office manager, and healthcare provider(s) alike, lacks adequate comprehension of their application or value.
It’s also important to understand that technology is a tool that should be used to enhance the patient experience and allow you to become a better physician; to enable you to be more efficient and in touch with your patients.
The types of technologies that prove to significantly improve independent practices are becoming more readily accessible and affordable. Many have found that each of these areas
an important role to play in every element of practice success.
Let’s take a look at the fifth building block of integrated technologies that go into the fully-automated independent practice that will help you better manage your time and improve patient engagement and practice outcomes:
#5 Medical billing and collections software
The medical billing and collections landscape is very complex. Without integrated and sophisticated software, practices risk errors and oversights that could result in significant losses to a practice.
Optimizing efficiencies at each interaction point, by truly integrating all technology components, can eliminate redundant work, reduce manual errors, speed up claims processing and even reduce days in accounts receivable (A/R).
With billing and collections you have two options:
- Do it yourself. By handling your billing in-house, you accept the responsibility to hire someone, or multiple people, to understand the billing process and to be trained on software utilization to manage claims, tracking denials, collecting payments, scrubbing and submitting claims to the Clearinghouse, and ultimately, deal with collections.A best practice for many independent practices is to choose integrated software that allows you to handle all aspects of the billing process from one location. This ensures your claims management and patient billing run smoothly every time, to optimize practice revenue. The software will also have smart scheduling software to ensure you schedule stays full and gives you a 360-degree view of your practice’s financial health through an easy-to-read dashboard.
- Outsource to a billing company. Another option used by many practices is the use of a medical billing service for revenue cycle management (RCM). RCM services allow you to focus on your practice, while they handle unpaid claims, appeals and secondary filings, exclusion and denials, and gives you the ability to see how you compare against your peers through benchmarking and revenue cycle analytics.RCM services are an affordable way to maximize profit and performance by using experts who live medical billing day-in and day-out. Trust a billing service that offers transparency, periodic reviews and a written guarantee within their terms of service as to the minimal amount of first-pass claims acceptance. Not many offer this guarantee in writing.
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- The Physicians Foundation. 2016 Survey of America’s Physicians Practice Patterns & Perspective, September 21, 2016.
- Lee, Ellen. 5 Ways Technology is Transforming Health Care.