How Do I Evaluate A Medical Billing Provider?

How Do I Evaluate A Medical Billing Provider?

Medical Billing Provider

Medical Billing Provider

How Do I Evaluate A Medical Billing Provider?

If you are planning to hire a medical billing provider to outsource your medical billing and other related administrative tasks, it is imperative to choose a reputable company that can give you a complete A/R management solution. As a doctor or a health care center, you must ensure that the company you choose for medical billing helps you make error-free claims, get them paid quickly, and follows-up to reduce collection time and boost your revenue. For evaluating a medical billing provider, you should conduct performance checks across a few parameters. 

Track Their Overall Performance 

When evaluating the appointed medical billing company, you must check what changed in the performance of your medical practice post-hiring such a service. It can be done quarterly or annually to see if your company has benefited in terms of revenue and stability after outsourcing such a significant job of billing.

Communication with Your Medical Billing Service Provider

To evaluate your medical service provider, you need to check the quality, the level of communication, and the promptness of their response. Does the billing provider listen to your billing-related concerns? Can they provide a team to sit in-house at your premises if required? Does your staff have any issues regarding their interactions with the company? Such questions will help you decipher the level of sincerity your partner firm has been exhibiting now that you have bought the service.

Check For The Rate Of Accuracy 

Whether billing or coding, your medical billing partner needs to be skilled to ensure accuracy in CPT/ICD codes, as a high rate of errors can damage your reputation. If you have hired a billing partner with a team of well-trained and certified employees, the error rate will likely be down. 

Evaluate Receivables 

If you see that accounts receivable balances are collected as timely as they should be, and the turnaround time is falling, you can be assured that the billing provider is performing the way it should. 

Time Taken For Claim Submissions

It is imperative to evaluate if your medical billing provider is submitting claims within time. Moreover, the company should follow up with your staff, insurance company, and patients regularly to seek any missing or additional information required to keep all claims and bills up to date. 

A medical billing service is typically hired to manage the workload involved in billing processes. It enables physicians and small or big medical practices to focus better on their core job, i.e., providing quality treatment to patients. The relevance of whether you are making an appropriate choice of billing vendor or not, cannot be overlooked. A proper evaluation of software quality, methods, and performance is integral to the growth of your practice and establishing a great relationship with your patients. 

Also, not every billing company using sophisticated technology is as efficient in their services. So, you should ensure your hired provider for medical billing is trustworthy and adept for efficient data migration from your current billing system.

 At OmniMD we have the expertise and resources to accommodate your practice needs. We can provide services that grow as your practice does so that you can focus on what matters most: patient care.

Today’s Challenges for Revenue Cycle Management in Healthcare Systems

Today’s Challenges for Revenue Cycle Management in Healthcare Systems

Revenue Cycle Management

How to Overcome Critical Challenges in Revenue Cycle Management in Healthcare

Today’s Challenges for Revenue Cycle Management in Healthcare Systems

Revenue cycle management is at the core of any health care service provider’s sustained existence and growth. The revenue cycle management process keeps track of patients and the revenue side of their treatment. Healthcare providers may make use of standalone revenue cycle management software or incorporate it into their medical appointment software or plug it into the EHR system. Regardless, it plays a crucial role and covers various steps.

  • Steps in the revenue management process
  • The hospital revenue cycle management process covers:
  • Pre-registration of a patient
  • Registration
  • Charge capture
  • Claim submission
  • Remittance processing
  • Insurance follow up
  • Patient collection

There is more by way of gathering data, analyzing it and deriving information that helps to identify weak spots and bottlenecks. The RCM system is complex and needs a thorough grasp of how it works for operators to derive the optimum benefit and overcome inherent challenges in the revenue cycle management. <According to Advisory Board, hospitals can lose about $22 million without having an accurate and efficient RCM in place.

Training personnel

This is a key but often neglected area. Personnel who use the RCM software often have to learn it on their own and barely get past the essentials. Knowledge of medical coding as applicable to that region is crucial at the preregistration stage and in subsequent billing stages. This involves a learning curve for which time is required. Due to this some service providers may consider outsourcing to a revenue cycle management company. Coding a medical claim can take hours and needs knowledge that in-house personnel may lack and, therefore it may seem appropriate to hand over revenue cycle management process to expert revenue cycle management services. It also entails additional expenditure so, for the long term, it is best to introduce a degree of automation at the pre-registration stage and put in efforts to get personnel to undergo systematic training, possibly by revenue cycle management consultants. If there is no precise coding then the billing will not be accurate and it results in a loss as well as delays in reimbursement. With training your personnel can overcome bottlenecks of coding, set up the hospital’s chargemaster and capture charges in addition to being better placed to inform patients about all that is involved right before they register.

Technology implementation

Administrators and doctors in hospitals may not be familiar with how technologies work. Technology may be implemented in a piecemeal fashion with medical appointment software, EHR and revenue cycle management software working in parallel and in isolation. There is no connect between the data in each path and that poses challenges of streamlining operations and keeping tabs. It also becomes cumbersome for doctors or those in charge of RCM to refer to each and concatenate results leading to errors of commission and omission obviously to the financial detriment of the healthcare service. The smart thing to do is to engage expert revenue cycle management vendors or get revenue cycle management solution providers to integrate all disparate streams to be usable through a single interface. If usability improves it aids efficiency and personnel will make optimal use to enhance operations across the board from start to finish of the cycle.

The gaps addressed

Coding is just one part that could pose an immense challenge in the revenue cycle management process. There are others that affect smooth cash flow.

  • It is vital for healthcare service providers to get their doctors accredited with insurance companies to avoid situations in which claims can be withheld on that ground. Overlooking this step can be a problem but it is easily taken care of with due attention right from the start when a doctor is going to be assigned to treat patients.
  • The preregistration is a crucial step in which several key information can be missed such as insurance information and eligibility as well as financial expectations of the patient and payment modes as well. One needs to meticulously gather data at this stage.
  • The registration step of the revenue cycle management process is another step that can face challenges due to inaccurate information and non-collection of advance payments and assigning insurance benefits as well as determining eligibility and amount.
  • Missing charges is another challenge. Charge capture may be done through manual input of data or automated. Regardless, some charges such as ancillary services may be missed and if recovery is attempted at a later date then a refusal is likely. Revenue cycle management consultants could possibly help address this gap through measures like claims scrubbing technology to ensure coding is done right.
  • Claims submitted to the insurance payer may not be in full conformity and this is also dependent on charge capture. Errors here may lead to refusal or delays. The solution is to vet each thoroughly and then track claims in real time to ensure only clean claims go through.

Accounts receivables, payments

It is often assumed that claims will be paid in full but that may not be the case. Insurance may pay less than expected and then it is for the healthcare provider to pursue the patient to pay the difference. Not paying attention to this could lead a mounting deficit. This deficiency can be overcome through the use of the right RCM system and by making the personnel aware about keeping track or, better, still, automating the system to send out a bill/reminder to patients fro such payments.

Data analytics

One must know how to analyze data derived from the revenue cycle management process, an area in which medical personnel may not be interested or capable of handling. It is essential that healthcare service providers know about key performance indicators and to keep watch over receivables as well as expenses and generate reports. Engaging revenue cycle management

consultants could bring your personnel up to speed in these areas. The RCM system generates and keeps on generating data that can be analyzed to derive useful information about revenue generation, reduce delays and address issues that affect processing. This is a challenge but training and familiarity through regular use of the revenue cycle management software by assigned personnel will deliver positive outcomes.

These are just a few challenges, mostly on the operational side but there will be others too such as software and hardware glitches from time to time. Retaining revenue cycle management consultants is one way to minimize and overcome challenges and ensure you get the most out of your investment in RCM software. Get in touch with OmniMD to resolve all such challenges and be prepared for future ones.

 

Importance of Tech Optimization in Improving Revenue Cycle Management

Importance of Tech Optimization in Improving Revenue Cycle Management

Improving Revenue Cycle Management

Boosting Revenue Cycle Management through Tech Optimization Techniques

Importance of Tech Optimization in Improving Revenue Cycle Management

There are street cars optimized across various performance characteristics but not excelling in any one. Then there are racing cars with fine-tuned engines, suspension and handling to excel in performance. This analogy can be carried forward to health care services IT solutions and their key performance metrics such as patient services and revenue generation. Given that technology forms the underpinnings of most operations of hospitals, their performance depends to a large extent on optimization and use of various such technologies like revenue cycle management software, EHR systems and medical appointment software, to name a few. Each can work in isolation and give results but optimization can result in resonance that will amplify outcomes. Take a look at the avenues of tech optimization to boost revenue cycle management. 

Identifying the pivot 

The revenue cycle management process comprises of several steps and the revenue cycle management software must work alongside other software if it is not installed as an integrated revenue cycle management solution covering EHR and medical appointment software as well as financial accounting packages. In order to optimize revenue cycle management you would first need to identify and focus on a pivot around which the other tech can be optimized. It is for hospital management and for doctors to decide on a core pivot, possibly in consultation with revenue cycle management consultants and revenue cycle management vendors as to which aspect should form the pivot. The RCM system makes for a good starting point since it incorporates vital processes from start to finish. However, there may still be other issues like interoperability.  

Interoperability  

Most healthcare services do not start with a bang; they grow and, along the way, incorporate solutions such as patient medical records and EHR, financial package, hospital information systems and EDI systems. One must also consider porting to clearing houses for insurance claims being part of the overall hospital revenue cycle process. These are implemented over time possibly through different vendors and work in isolation. Different operators may handle different software and solutions and the lack of connect between all these could translate to operational inefficiencies and that, in turn, affects revenue flows. Even the revenue cycle management software cannot deliver the best when working as a standalone unit. It pays to integrate all these standalone solutions and get them to be interoperable, possibly with the help of revenue cycle management vendors and revenue cycle management consultants working in tandem. Should these diverse systems be patched together or should you scrap them all and go in for an entirely new suite of comprehensive custom hospital revenue cycle management solution that works in the cloud?  

A single dashboard revenue cycle management solution that ties in other packages like appointments and financials as well as tracking remote workers and giving them access as well as giving access to patients certainly results in reduced errors, faster processing and efficiency. Possibly revenue cycle management vendors could set up robotic automation, scripts and web apps to reduce task switching and improve productivity that will in turn boost revenues. 

The end goal is to make processes convenient for doctors, administrators and patients and to offer accuracy as well as seamless automated integration. Optimization, you will find, is an incremental and iterative process across the various modules. RCM experts can help to continue with this iterative and agile fine tuning process.  

Data analytics, speed and transparency 

The sub-components of revenue cycle management processes are interdependent and contribute to the iterative fine tuning process to boost revenue cycle management. Once systems are integrated you get access to cohesive data that lends itself to better analytics. Analytics can show up insights for improvements that can, when implemented, speed up various processes, especially that of debt collection and also contribute to transparency. Speeding up iterations based on feedbacks leads to further improvements and so on in the revenue cycle management process.

The patient side 

Patients are the primary source of revenue. Optimizing the patient side of operations improves the user experience. Tech optimization can be implemented across areas such as incorporating convenient payment gateways, permitting patients to choose pricing and payment plans, access to support from other sources and knowing exactly how much they will pay for services. Health care services that incorporate these optimizations in revenue cycle management process benefit by loyalty, referrals, faster and timely payments and excellent relationships.  

Remote workers 

Post the pandemic and given the rise of telehealth and cloud based healthcare services, remote workers are just as important as in-house employees are to the hospital revenue management processes. In fact, according to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, telehealth utilization has increased by 38 times compared to pre-pandemic situation.  Hence, it is essential to keeping a track of them and facilitate their work to boosts revenue cycles.  

Data based decisions 

Tech optimization and integration of digital technologies in use in healthcare leads to synchronization of data and improves its quality based on which the right business decisions can be made. Data and its analytics show up problems clearly and that is the first step to solutions. Incorporating AI and ML could further automate intelligent analytics and give predictive capabilities in decision making. Here again you could get RCM experts to update existing RCM software with these inclusions.  

To sum it up, tech optimization of the revenue cycle management process, given the current scenario needs to address core issues such as: 

  • Revamp or modification of the revenue cycle management process and also the software 
  • Fine tune RCM billing system and tie it together with lateral and vertical solutions like medical records and insurance clearing houses.  
  • Fine tune the existing RCM system to maximize ROI 
  • Incorporate analytics, AI/ML and predictive capabilities to empower intelligent decision making.  
  • Keep measuring gains such as successful claim submission and payment rates and speed of cashflow as well as reduction of outstanding.  

Optimization of a hospital revenue cycle management also requires the right mindset and the need for appointing an administrator to oversee the process, one who is conversant with technologies and can work in collaboration with RCM experts to take it forward. For startups, it is relatively easy: they can engage revenue cycle management consultants to get off on the right foot but for existing healthcare services that currently use diverse solutions it takes a little bit more time and effort but it is well worth it.  

 Boost hospital revenue cycle growth by advancing overall efficiency through tech optimization. Call in OmniMD experts for tech optimization and see the results that ensue.

How The Next-gen Electronic Health Record Can Make Your Life Simpler

How The Next-gen Electronic Health Record Can Make Your Life Simpler

Electronic Health Record System

It’s Time for a New Kind of Electronic Health Record

How Next-gen Electronic Health Record Can Make Your Life Simpler

Change is constant. This applies to the field of patient data whether it is handled by individual doctors or by large hospitals and healthcare services providers across the country. From storing patient records in Excel sheets to database systems the world of patient data records has progressed to electronic health records. Even within this we have different types of electronic health record systems such as one hosted by individual physicians known as electronic medical records, remotely hosted electronic health record software and remote systems accessible to a large number of users.  

However, what distinguishes these existing electronic health record systems is that they are passive or historical, simply maintaining a record of the patient’s illnesses, diagnostics and treatments at one or more facilities. This is good but proves to be a stumbling block when there are major issues like a pandemic where other parameters come into play such as preventive and proactive measures to identify vulnerable populations, keep track of infected individuals, their recovery rate, their specific conditions and reactions to treatment and data to take steps to prevent spread. There are blocks such as high cost, excessive documentation and lack of user friendliness in currently existing EHR systems. Most of these focused more on the administrative and financial side with the medical side added on as an afterthought.  These systems also imposed additional work burden on personnel. The Covid pandemic worldwide brought out these deficiencies and paved the way to introduce changes to electronic health record systems for the future.  

It is time for a change to the electronic health record systems and the way they are implemented and used.  

In fact, according to EHR Intelligence, the use of EHR in July, 2020 increased by 2.06% compared to the pre-pandemic times. 

Future developments in electronic health record software could and should include various advancements as detailed below. 

Structural technical underpinnings

Future EHR software applications should have solid technical underpinnings to incorporate latest advances in IT technologies such as: 

Algorithms need to be incorporated into medical EHR software to combine various case conditions, interconnected health issues, treatments based on patients’ individual situations, flexibility for healthcare workers to step in as may be needed according to the situation but do it automatically and speedily with minimal human intervention.  

Such futuristic electronic health record ehr solutions would also have advanced decision support and workflow logic to remind team members through a variety of channels about patients, available plans and facilities for fast action.  

The future medical ehr software will be able to fluidly deliver analytics for individuals and for populations within specific geographic regions and to have predictive capabilities as regards spread of a disease.  

Intelligence at the core

As they stand current EHR software applications are focused on maintaining past data about patients, their activities and particularly the revenues side. Incorporation of intelligence into such EHR systems does not pose a big challenge given the voluminous amounts of data sets that can be used for machine learning to facilitate predictive capabilities. It could, for example, analyze variables such as whether a patient is following a treatment routine, their deviations and possible outcomes and suggest possible steps to remedy this kind of situation.  Importantly, futuristic electronic health record systems should be able to analyze and deliver suggestions to busy doctors so that they can put such suggestions into practice instead of wasting time in thinking about individual problems. Indirectly, analyzing patients in bulk who are infected with a specific disease could show up peculiar conditions that would be missed by most doctors treating individual patients. Real time big data analytics needs to become part of the overall electronic health record system to be used worldwide or countrywide, similar to the airlines reservation system in which all stake holders can get information in real time. This also has implications in disease detection, spread and preventative measures.  

The question of access

Though electronic health records are available for sharing by healthcare service providers, access still remains limited. The issue of accessibility needs to be addressed considering that 66% of users search for information on the internet and 88% of appointments is booked via phone or other digital means. Electronic health record systems can take a leaf out of how businesses manage their communications and manage customers by providing remote multi-channel access across various devices with fluid crossover from desktops to mobiles as and when needed, both for patients and doctors.  

Technologies to incorporate are natural language processing, voice recognition and IoT to further broaden the scope of accessibility.  

The question of accessibility also leads to standardization and uniformity of electronic health record systems as well as data protocols for glitch-free use and operation.  

Accessibility also raises issues of security that can be addressed using blockchain technology for validation, data security, claims, authentication and prevention of insurance frauds. 

Multiplicity of plans

Health care services would vastly improve and patients would benefit if future electronic health record software were to incorporate the facility to enable providers to prepare plans for various contingencies. 

Population health management

Instead of considering a single patient, the future electronic health record systems can help providers to set up plans for populations based on a set of parameters relating to disease, age, gender and economic drivers. Data can be gathered through various devices like smart watches and IoT devices and providers can take inputs to devise flexible plans.  

Health information exchange

Interoperability is a part of EHR but needs to be improved to give immediate access to any health care services provider, especially in cases of emergency.  

Training

The more sophisticated a medical health record solution becomes in the future the more complex it is likely to be and it will likely involve a learning curve. Service providers in the healthcare segment would work alongside solution providers to give training to bring users up to speed on 5G technologies, AI’s benefits, IoT and wearables and how to use the system to derive the maximum benefit.  After all, sophisticated electronic health record software is like a sophisticated car or aircraft—one must know how to use it or it will be practically of little use. It pays to join hands with the right vendor who considers all these aspects when you decide to go for medical ehr software. 

Enhance patient engagement, improve accessibility, and leverage standardized processes. Get medical EHR software now! 

What Is Revenue Cycle Management, and How Does It Benefit Health Organizations?

What Is Revenue Cycle Management, and How Does It Benefit Health Organizations?

Revenue Cycle Management

What Is Revenue Cycle Management, and How Does It Benefit Health Organizations?

 

Health organizations may seem to generate positive revenues based on paper records but how much of it is actually realized and the speed of cash inflow tells the story of its financial health. Revenue collection can be negatively impacted by poor coding, errors in billing and delays or denials by insurance companies. Most of these and other deficiencies can be overcome and addressed by the use of revenue cycle management solution.

What is revenue cycle management?

Revenue cycle management (RCM) is a process, usually a part of EMR or EHR systems used by healthcare services. It is comprehensive in nature, ranging from scheduling appointments to registrations to giving a cost estimate to tracking a patient’s treatment to billing, recovery and follow up.

With covid-19 pandemic hitting the healthcare systems on a global level, about 75% of healthcare facilities implemented RCM to continue serving the patients despite quarantine and social distancing measures.

RCM software delivers proven benefits not only to patients but to the healthcare service providers as enumerated in the following paragraphs.

The revenue pitfalls in healthcare services

Healthcare organizations need a steady and healthy cash flow in order to meet expenses as also for future expansions. However recovery of dues is not 100% guaranteed due to various factors:

  • Not collection complete information from the patient as regards health condition and insurance coverage,
  • Disputes arising due to misunderstanding about patient’s expectations of cost of treatment and actual treatment,
  • Delays and denials by insurance companies in settlement of claims, and
  • Changing laws and regulations.

The RCM System addresses these and other issues and when incorporated as part of medical appointment software or plugged into EMR/EHR, can considerably reduce outstanding and improve transparency, reputation of the healthcare provider and also give satisfaction to patients.

RCM enables streamlined collection of data

Healthcare service providers may choose to outsource this work to a revenue cycle management company but it makes good sense to have this process in-house. With revenue cycle management integrated into existing software solutions such service providers can streamline processes such as:

  • Schedule an appoint
  • Register a patient
  • Collect patient data such as health and medical records and vital insurance papers and check about claims admissibility

It is vital for healthcare providers to collect patient’s medical records in order to know the line of treatment to be initiated and costs involved and to also know just how much of these costs can be covered by insurance and how much the patients will have to bear. It is wise to give patients a clear indication of their part of financial burden rather than spring surprises later on after the treatment is over.

Revenue cycle management can use this data and the RCM software to:

  • Record treatments and associated costs
  • Raise bills and submit claims to the insurance provider using the right codes to record them so as to avoid denials
  • Follow up for recovery of dues, send reminders and collect payment from patients and also from insurance and to refile claims in case of denials. If insurance is denied outright then amounts may be recovered from patients through the automated software. Insurance can be a very sticky point and errors here can lead to misunderstanding with patients and also loss of revenue by way of denied claims. Automation, fine tuning and reminders in the RCM greatly improve the insurance part of the process.

Considering that not all healthcare providers are the same in the method of operation or size, they may need custom RCM systems in the selection of which suitable revenue cycle management consultants can be of great help. They can assist in selection of the RCM software and also to set up best practices for revenue cycle management.

Benefits of Revenue Cycle Management Solutions to Healthcare Providers

Engage revenue cycle management consultants to choose the right revenue cycle management solution and have them set up the RCM system to suit your particular method of operations. You may need to have the RCM software integrated into the medical appointment software, which the software provider can carry out. The first step is creating awareness about the importance of fast cash flow and encouraging use of the software by personnel who must be given training in the use of RCM solutions.

This leads to systematic benefits as given below.

Streamlining

RCM streamlines the connection between health records, treatments and accounting system through integration. You have single point view of the financial health, billing, bad debts, receivables and claims (in process, disputed, and denied).

Better, faster and higher recovery

Recovery from insurance is a sore point and by reducing errors of coding and filing claims under the right head, the software improves recovery rate and reduces percentage of denied claims while also issuing alerts about refiling within the stipulated time, thanks to efficient revenue cycle management systems.

Simplify tasks, automate them and reduce workload

The RCM solution simplifies tasks, reduces work loads, reduces margins of errors and provides a single window access to all records and facility for follow up for recovery. The RCM software reduces burden, time and efforts.

Single point access to all patient records

You have all patient records and related financial records in one place giving all vital information at a glance.

Fingertip analysis and generation of reports

Streamlined and integrated data can be analyzed quickly to derive insights about revenue flows and state of financial health of service providers, thereby enabling timely action. Knowing your financial condition can help you to take corrective action to reduce debt and speed up cash flow.

Create a better impression, improve relationships and generate more business through referrals

By being open, transparent, honest and upfront about treatments costs the healthcare provider creates a better impression in the minds of the patients, leading to more referrals and recommendations.

Healthcare is infinitely more convoluted and complex than cash and carry businesses. Healthcare is a business in a manner of speaking, relying on healthy revenues for sustenance and growth. The right revenue cycle management solution makes a world of difference to financial health of providers as well as patient relationships.  It is advisable for healthcare providers to choose RCM software with care and also have it implemented by RCM consultants/solution providers in order to make the best use of it.

 

 

Let the RCM software improve healthcare services through real-time data management, accurate records, and reduced fallacies. Opt for RCM software now!