Medical Practice Management: 3 Tips to Improve your HealthGrades Rating

When it comes to finding the information they need, consumers almost always turn to the web. Whether it’s Angie’s List, Yelp, Amazon or the all-important Google, people want to know if they’re getting a good deal or not. Today good medical practice management involves monitoring the HealthGrades score for your medical practice and physicians. Although HealthGrades' systems and algorithms leave a lot to be desired, consumers consistently turn to the rating system to learn more about their potential doctor. If new patients are using your HealthGrades score to decide whether or not to sign on with your practice, it makes sense to try and improve your score as much as possible. Here are a few tips to help you:

1.       Ask your patients for a good review. If you’re confident that your current patients are happy with the level of service you provide, ask them to go to the HealthGrades site and give you a positive rating. If you’re really confident, consider adding the message to a waiting room poster or your billing documents — but keep in mind a bad rating will pull down your score, so carefully consider whether it’s worth that risk.  If your office sends out emails or e-newsletters, consider adding a review link making it easy for your patients to add a favorable review.

2.       Create your own internal satisfaction survey to target improvements. Who better knows your patients than you? Perform an annual survey with your patients to learn where you can improve — since you can’t improve what you don’t know about. Hiring an outside firm to conduct the survey will get you better, more actionable data, but  a simple search of the web for survey templates will get you started. Once you pinpoint your weak areas, you can make a strategic plan to fix them. If your office continuously improves, your HealthGrades scores are bound to follow.

3.       Target CDI. Start by conducting a chart audit to figure out where you’re strong and what areas need improvement. HealthGrades uses 3M’s APR-DRG grouper to calculate severity scores. APR-DRG scores depend on the right ICD-9-CM diagnosis and procedure code assignments that detail the illness severity. Keep in mind that HealthGrades also considers patient demographics and anything that appears on the UB-04 form.

So your Clinical Documentation Improvement staff should focus on all diagnoses influence, and track these as “severity” queries instead of “DRG” queries. If your doctors give you the correct documentation, that allows your staff to assign the right codes. Then your coders can sequence the highest SOI (severity of illness) and ROM (risk of mortality) so that they appear in the top nine position on your UB-04, and your important procedures will show up in the five positions. That way, HealthGrades will score you as high as it can.

If you aren’t proactive in trying to improve your scores, you won’t see your ratings go up. Try to focus on the things that you do control, and improved ratings will follow.  If you have poor reviews, make sure to address the issues rather than becoming defensive. 
As a Practice Manager, you may be feeling overwhelmed with all of the  tasks involved in your weekly routine.  We are here to help support you and can assist with many of the challenges your office may be facing.  Click here for our contact information.
 

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