Managing your practice revenue, billing procedures, and patient accounts are time-consuming and tedious tasks– to put it lightly. Medical billing can really be a difficult part of practice management. It can also 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 medical billing and payment processes while increasing patient satisfaction.
1. Take an inventory of where you are.
This will help you establish goals for, and periodically analyze (monthly or quarterly), the progress and status of your accounts by tracking:
- Number of days in "Accounts Receivable"
- Percentage of net collections
- 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.
Make sure you are 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.
Technology can have a huge impact on the medical 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. Why should you consider using technology?
Paper statements are ineffective: Mail is often disregarded or forgotten. Forty percent of providers fail to collect over $31,713 a year from patients due to this. Practices need to find a better way to collect payments from patients.
Paper statements can get really expensive: Billing and insurance-related activities cost US physician practices about $70 billion a year. Imagine what you can save by switching to an electronic payment solution.
Patients want a better experience: Sixty-five percent of patients would consider switching providers for a better experience with payments. Patients want to have easy access to their billing in one place.
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
6. Implement text-to-pay.
One of the most recent developments in the healthcare world is the advent of text-to-pay. Although patients are becoming increasingly comfortable with, and in many cases prefer, electronic payments, the majority of practices still use an ineffective and expensive paper-based method. When practices don’t get paid on time (or at all!), this becomes a problem for both the practice and the patient. This can hurt the practice’s bottom line and their patient relationships.
Today, practices can easily send payment reminders through text straight to their patients’ phones. Patients nearly always have their phones with them, so the probability they will both see and act on the payment reminder is high. In fact, 90 percent of all text messages are read in under 3 minutes.
Once you send a payment reminder or request, the text message will include a direct link for patients to access a secure payment screen and complete the transaction in a matter of minutes using their smartphone. It's one of the easiest, most effective ways to send patients their bill.
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.