If you are thinking about opening a medical practice, you no doubt have concerns about its efficiency, profitability and overall success. Striking off on your own, taking people’s health into your own hands, can be as exciting as it is daunting, and in order to serve your patients properly, you must first ensure that you keep the lights on.
Running a medical practice efficiently is as much for the wellbeing of your patients as it is for your own bottom line since your success directly translates to their health and happiness. This is something we at Summit A*R know very well, having helped numerous medical and dental practices, as well as countless small and large businesses, recover debts and get their cash flow back into working order.
In this blog post, let’s look at a few common sense ways you can run your medical practice more efficiently, including embracing technology, focusing on a solid revenue management strategy, training your staff to work diligently and professionally, and – of course – finding a great collection agency to make sure you collect as much due payment as possible.
For the time being, let’s assume that you have secured financing for the practice, purchased all necessary equipment and that you have hired a crack team of staff members. Next, it comes time to turn your eye to efficiency.
Setting Up a Revenue Management System that Works
Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) is the backbone of a well-functioning medical practice, tracking schedules, payments, claims and follow-ups. Working in tandem with your records system, it allows the whole operation to run smoothly and is your first line of defence against past-due payments.
The transactions in the medical industry – as opposed to, say, the retail industry – are not altogether straightforward, requiring a sophisticated system underpinning them. The best direction we can point you in here is a comprehensive market analysis done by Business News Daily, which outlines their top picks for RCM services according to practice size. There is a lot of great info in the link, and they take into consideration cost and value.
Making Use of Technology
One problem dogging medical practices, especially those trying to get their sea legs, is visitation bottlenecking. How do you make it so patients aren’t left to wait an inordinate amount of time? Further, what do you do about last minute cancellations? Making use of technology to automate scheduling is the way to go. Again, here are some scheduling software recommendations, courtesy of Capterra.
Also, incorporating “virtual visits” – that is, allowing patients to connect with you remotely over the computer – means that you can fit in more visitations, sometimes even patching the missed time when a patient cancels last minute.
Ensuring Staff Works to Their Best Potential
A motivated staff will pay off in myriad ways; they can make your business more efficient, more profitable, and they can be a powerful driver in word of mouth advertising. As the first face patients see upon entering, and the last face they see as they exit (bill in hand), front desk staff are particularly important.
Make sure your staff gets proper onboarding, including all pertinent information on patient interaction. The better they can explain the clinical process, including billing and claims, the more likely a patient is to feel comfortable and make payments on time. As a leading medical revenue service collection agency we know that clarity and diligence in the billing process can help you avoid past-due and delinquent payments.
Follow up semi-regularly with constructive performance reviews, centred on “learning opportunities” rather than reprimands, and be sure to positively reinforce good work. Recognition goes a long way toward motivating staff… in any business.
Creating a Solid Collection Strategy
Struggling profit margins are like a disease – they can easily take hold and compromise the entire system. In order to maintain steady cash flow, you need to recover the money owed to your practice. That’s where medical collections solutions can help.
But you cannot simply trust any medical collection agency. You need one, like Summit A*R, that understands the value of good patient relationships. Especially for new practices, patient retention is important, and the last thing you want is to scare patients off with bullying tactics. Let’s learn more about our company and how we differentiate ourselves from other agencies.
Other medical collection agencies might think that a strong-arm approach is the best bet at recovering debts, but we know differently. Patients want to pay their bills – they don’t want to owe money. It may just be that current circumstances make payment difficult.
With that established, the guiding principle in collection should be one of courteousness, respect and diplomacy. Yes, we let patients know you are serious about collection, but we don’t bully them into a) hiding away further from the debt and b) cutting ties with your practice. We are 100% HIPAA compliant, with a stellar A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
This diplomatic approach is not only the ethical and civil way to conduct collection, but, as it turns out for us, it is also incredibly effective. As the ultimate proof that our approach works, we are proud to say that our recovery rate is double the national average. Late payments might be a fact of life for your medical practice, but that doesn’t mean it needs to eat into your profit margins. Recover your money and keep your patients happy with Summit A*R.
And to make things even more efficient, use our client portal to stay updated on the progress of your case(s). We believe in full transparency throughout the collection progress, so that you can adjust your data and figures accordingly, as we work our magic.
For any business, efficiency is hard to achieve right out the gate. That’s doubly true with a medical practice, whose payment system is complex and precarious. With these tips, however, and the right medical collection agency, you can get started on the right foot.