Oldie but goodie! This post was originally published in September 2015 and updated in September 2017 as part of an on-going series highlighting popular past posts.
Managing your practice revenue, billing procedures, and patient accounts are time-consuming and tedious tasks– to put it lightly. They can have a significant impact on your front office efficiency which, in turn, can influence the patient experience. Here are a few tips to help you streamline your billing and payment processes while increasing patient satisfaction.
1. Take an inventory of where you are so you can establish goals for, and periodically analyze (monthly or quarterly), the progress and status of your accounts by tracking:
1) Number of days in "Accounts Receivable"
2) Percentage of net collections
3) Aging of "Accounts Receivable"
With a snap-shot view of these stats, you can keep your eye out for ways you can improve efficiency leading to increased and more timely collections.
2. Create Policies and Procedures- Discuss the guidelines and protocol regarding the process of collections with your team and provide a manual for each staff member for quick-reference. This will ensure a more cohesive understanding of expectations and is more likely to result in an improvement in your revenue management over time.
3. Be informed about and familiar with the different insurance companies you are working with, including coverage policies, filing limits, coding edits, global policies, etc. In addition, keep a record of denial stats, including rates and reasons for denial and recurring denied claims in order to spot and prevent them in the future.
4. Take advantage of technology as it relates to the collection process- There are a wide range of tools that can be integrated into your system in order to streamline the billing and collection process. Advantages of an automated revenue management tool include:
- Automated payment reminder messages with convenient mobile or online payment options
- Reduced amount of time you spend sending out statements, trying to collect payments manually from patients, as well as decreased billing costs
- Integrated reports that will tell you how much revenue you are waiting on, and even how much revenue you have claimed
5. Use a Patient Portal- If you haven’t implemented a patient portal into your practice management, you are leaving time and convenience on the table–for both your practice and your patients. Offering access to a patient portal encourages your patients to take an active role in their healthcare. Benefits could include:
- Ability to view their complete account activity and submit payment information with the same security as online banking
- Access to digital x-rays or before-and-after shots, admittance forms, insurance documents, post-op care instructions, and any other documents you’d like your patients to access
- The ability for patients to communicate easily with your practice by sending or receiving secure messages that can be archived to give you an added level of liability protection should the need arise
Taking a few simple steps to simplifying your billing processes can dramatically improve your collections and increase your practice revenue. However, coming up with a game plan and putting it into action are two different things. Remember to come together as a staff and discuss what this will look like in your office and how it will be executed– and then be sure to revisit and review your progress periodically to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. This could be a game-changer!
Read some additional things to look for in your Patient Relationship Management System here.