The medical office of today has changed dramatically in recent years. The standard of medical care is often put under a microscope, no mistakes are allowed. The same is true for the back office of a medical practice. It must be run more like an efficient business machine than ever before.
It is now mandated that medical records be recorded electronically. This means learning new software, training staff on new programs, and adjusting to changes in the culture of your medical practice.
The playing field for private practice physicians has also changed. Independent medical offices may compete for certain services offered by new competition like Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and even grocery chains that are entering the field.
An article by Dina Benedetto CPC, CPC-H CPMA from the March/April Healthcare Billing and Management Association publication, The Alphabet Soup of Medicare Contractors describes the complexity of keeping track of claims and payments within the Medicare network. Add this to all the other networks and the difficulty and complexity of the job is apparent.
There is also the need for offices to be ready to comply with the new ICD-10 replacement of ICD-9. According to the AMA this has been put off a bit longer because of difficulties. The AMA is working with the Administration to address physician concerns with ICD-10 and the multiple reporting programs and burdens associated with them, in greater depth.
All these factors make the need for medical practice efficiency and personal service even greater. Any medical practice, whether it is a single physician or a group of physicians, wants to remain faithful to its main purpose for existence—the care of the patients. This requires a delicate balance between patient care and service, and being equally mindful of the quality of back office management. It requires efficient patient scheduling software, electronic medical records, and of course accurate physicians medical billing services.
Making sure that the medical billing is done quickly and without delay or error not only facilitates efficient functioning of a medical office, it also eases the mind of the patient. Most people visit their physician’s office because they are not feeling well. When claims do not go through and the billing becomes a back and forth situation, patients suffer and feel even worse. Patients know they are going to have to pay for exams, tests and procedures. Having it all taken care of quickly and accurately makes it more bearable for them—and it’s expected as part of the patient experience. There are no phone call hassles with the insurance company, and no finger pointing due to errors or mistakes.
For doctors, a fine tuned office isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s expected by patients. Although you can’t control things like rising medical costs and changing insurance rules, you can make sure patient experience will be painless.
For more ideas and assistance with Practice Management, contact us at 303.755.2900 and let us put our 38 years of experience to work for you.