Connections for Success

 

12.08.14

How to Maximize Your Practice’s Financial Health
Greg Koelling

Few medical practices operate at peak financial health simply because the actual processes of many patient-focused tasks have not been evaluated. Many of these processes ultimately affect profitability. However, if you take a systematic approach to these procedures, you will not only improve your patients’ experiences but also your bottom line and personal satisfaction.

The Process for Changing Your Process

To reach optimal financial health, you must first take a step back to see what process changes represent the low hanging fruit. Often, simple adjustments suggested by the people actually involved the details of these processes can provide substantial benefits. These could be anything from the patient admission process and wait time to accounts receivable collection or EHR utilization.

Once you identify the processes that are easiest to change, the next step is to select the person or persons (whether inside or outside of your organization) that should be responsible for affecting it. Rarely will the responsible party need to be the physician. The point is to have necessary tasks performed by the person(s) or organization that is both best qualified and best utilized for that specific project.

Once the responsible party has created the plan for making the process changes, it is important to track the outcomes. The responsible party must create data that can be measured in order to establish the baseline of your current processes and track the results of your enhancements. This also requires creating performance measures based on this data, monitoring those results and benchmarking them against your past performance. Measuring and monitoring will assure you that these changes are providing you with the outcomes that you hoped to achieve.

Common “Low Hanging Fruit”

  • Patient admission and wait time – provide paperwork or online forms in advance of appointments or fill out over the phone, especially for new patients. Evaluate paperwork for redundancy or extraneous information.
  • No show appointments – call, text and email reminders in advance of appointments, cancellation fees.
  • Unpaid patient co-pays or deductibles – require payment at time of appointment with potential refund, allow for payment via credit card, inform patients in advance if procedure needs pre-approval from insurance, allow a payment plan with automatic monthly payments via credit card.

Imagine Your Practice’s Peak Financial Performance

No-shows have been reduced to a bare minimum. Claims spend less time in accounts receivable, and a higher percentage of total charges are paid. Patient copays and deductibles are collected at the time of service. Patient satisfaction is greatly improved. You are spending time with patients, not on administrative tasks. Your staff feels valued as more than just an employee.

You might even be receiving additional income from Pay-for-Performance (P4P), Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI), and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) incentives.

Your practice is functioning at peak health. Its work processes are systematic, streamlined and thorough. As a result, you see more patients while providing high-quality care. All of this leads to better financial performance.

Ultimately, you understand the practice better and have more control over its long-term success.

For help maximizing your practice’s financial health, contact Greg Koelling at gkoelling@orba.com or call him at 312.670.7444. Visit ORBA.com for more information about our Health Care Group.

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