We understand the challenges facing private providers – shrinking reimbursement rates, increasing compliance mandates and an influx of newly insured patients, some who haven’t seen a physician in years. Naturally, these challenges have some practice managers struggling to find ways to boost revenue, or at least slow down the declining profit margin.
Professional practice consultants, like Rosemarie Nelson (Medical Group Management Health Care Consulting Group), encourage clinicians to invest time and effort scrutinizing their processes and technology to find ways to improve revenue management.
Although many physicians have already embraced electronic health record (EHR) systems as excellent tools for maintaining comprehensive, sharable patient files, some don’t realize that underutilizing existing technology stymies short-term revenue growth efforts.
Physicians lower operating costs by increasing patient portal use, eliminating errors with medical clearinghouse software and converting manual population report maintenance to electronic tracking. But, these benefits aren’t realized unless physicians understand and use the robust functionality built into their office EHR systems.
Optimizing technology is necessary, but not necessarily easy. Changing behavior patterns is hard for most people – even when they realize the benefits. We recommend clinicians and physicians enlist everyone throughout the practice to explore redundancies in routine processes.
- Invite your EHR vendor to visit your clinic to observe patient service paths from beginning to end. Since EHR partners intimately understand their systems, it is often easier for a representative to spot ways that utilizing certain features and function will improve efficiency and reduce duplicative efforts.
- Encourage nurses and administrative staff to convert all manual tracking and record keeping duties to electronic processes that save time and improve accuracy.
- Introduce patients to online portals to improve communication and compliance – reducing the need for telephone contact for generic questions about appointments and treatment plans.
Optimizing technology produces immediate results. Saving time normally spent checking and re-checking for lab results means your staff can focus on other duties. Saving an hour or two spent unnecessarily each day also leads to long-term savings. Streamlining workflow patterns, allows practice managers to adjust staff schedules based on patient volume and clinic conditions.
Medical practice is dynamic – as patient populations change, each clinic must respond quickly and efficiently to the changes to encourage healthy revenue growth. Using practice technology to its fullest and routinely reviewing workflow patterns will help providers boost revenue.