Treating patients is just one part of a medical offices’ daily tasks. Between consultations, medical billing and administrative duties, it can easily divulge into chaos. In order for medical offices to do their best, every process needs to be streamlined. These four tips will help you improve your doctor’s office’s day-to-day schedule, reduce errors and achieve more.
#1 Use an Electronic Healthcare Record System
Medical electronic healthcare record (EHR) systems will take the endless paperwork and hours of organization out of your physician’s office. One of the most grueling daily tasks is keeping track of and sorting all of the various patients’ medical charts, personal insurance information and other documents.
Rather than having to lose time locating information, guessing history and struggling to transition between care settings, an EHR has mobile and remote accessibility. Doctors and nurses will be able to access a patient’s entire background in seconds, which not only improves daily operations but also improves care in emergency situations.
#2 Implement a Concise Collections Process
Collections isn’t the most exciting part of the medical care process, but it is one of the most important. It’s also a stage that tends to slow down a physician’s office and leave many patients feeling frustrated and unacknowledged. They come to you for care, but more time may be spent gathering their payment information than talking to them about their health.
Your office’s collections process can be improved using software like NextGen EPM reporting. The following are key steps you should always include:
New patient paperwork should thoroughly explain the office’s payment procedures and the patient’s obligation to pay in everyday terms.
Collect all of a patient’s contact information on their first visit, and require a photo ID. If a bill needs to be sent to collections, having all of this information will make it much easier for the office.
Acquire Permission to Leave Messages
Have patients provide consent that allows doctors and office staff to leave voicemails regarding treatment, follow-up care and payment information. You may also utilize this permission to send patient co-pay reminders via phone, email or SMS.
Electronic health records can assist in determining patient eligibility at every appointment. This cuts down on office work and ensures patients are not roped into any treatments they cannot afford due to misinformation.
Collect Payments Up-front
Require patients to pay their co-pays and balances at the time of their appointment. The goal should be to have 100-percent of all co-pays and deductibles paid each day.
Offer to reschedule appointments for patients who do not have their co-pay, unless it is clear that they do require medical attention. Although important, money is not more important than their well-being.
Offer different payment options for patients including electronic payments, checks and cash. Any payment plans should outline all of the payment options your office accepts and be signed by the patient prior to their first appointment.
Send reminders that keep patients aware of how much they have paid, how much they have left and the final payment deadline. Reminders should be sent weekly, and initial notices should be headed, “DUE NOW.” Second statements should read, “PAST DUE,” and final statements should inform the patient that they have 15 days to pay before their bill is sent to collections.
NextGen EPM reporting can help your office cut down on late payments, avoid miscommunication and ensure everyone is always on the same page.
#3 Embrace Artificial Intelligence
Medical AI has everyday applications that can make a physician’s office run much smoother. From making appointments to answering patient inquiries, AI is like a virtual assistant with 24-hour accessibility.
AI can also be connected to patients’ smartphone and send reminders about medical and treatment plans; it can provide health monitoring and fitness tracker data to physicians, which result in greater patient data and a better understanding of their lifestyle’s impact on their wellness.
#4 Implement a Patient Flow Standard
Patient flow ensures that everyone enters the office and receives care in a timely fashion. Compassion and understanding should be at the forefront of every interaction; remember that each person is an individual, not just an appointment number.
Keep the office clean and presentable at all times to ensure everyone feels comfortable and cared for. Hold weekly staff meetings to identify areas that need improvement and come up with strategies.
Quality patient care and office management go hand-in-hand. With these four tips, you can reduce errors, communicate better and increase treatment turnaround times. Although it may be difficult to change from old ways, embracing a streamlined office schedule will make the environment much better for both patients and staff.