Posted by: Ashley Choate
Reducing healthcare costs has been a top priority for the entire medical industry for nearly a decade, with few definitive results to show for it.
Healthcare expenditures amounted to almost 18 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2010, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, and current projections indicate that expenditures will reach 20 percent of the GDP by 2025. While efforts did steady the spending growth somewhat between 2010 and 2017, the cost of expanding technology and software solutions to meet the requirements set by recent legislation (ACA, HITECH Act, and MACRA) have impacted the overall numbers.
On the plus side, now that many healthcare organizations have updated and improved their technological platforms, maybe some of those software solutions can finally start to pay off.
For that to happen, however, practices must recognize the potential at their fingertips.
Many of the technology upgrades that practices and larger organizations have recently undergone were designed to improve efficiency in information gathering, data storage, and data transmission. With that efficiency comes new opportunities to cut internal administrative costs by utilizing these hardware and software solutions to their greatest potential.
Below are the three top software features that practices can and should adopt in order to save time and money in day-to-day administrative tasks and improve patient interaction capabilities across various channels.
Healthcare costs concern patients as much as nations these days. With deductibles increasing and cost continuing to rise, patients need to clearly understand their out-of-pocket commitments as soon as possible—preferably before they see the doctor. Practices can plan accordingly for such conversations with automated eligibility verification. These software solutions allow practices to quickly and easily determine what costs will be covered by a patient’s health insurance provider and what costs will need to be covered in other ways by the patients. Armed with this knowledge, both practices and patients can make better decisions about the cost of care using less time than the standard phone call or nonexistent verification methods of the past.
Nobody likes paperwork. Let’s face it—paperwork is a slow, messy business. Still, business office professionals have mostly accepted the inevitability of it. But, there’s another way. With some of the newest software solutions for healthcare practices on the market, part of the monthly paperwork required to maintain patient billing files can be accomplished through automated e-statements. With the right programs, monthly statements can be mailed out to clients through patient portals or approved email addresses, saving both time and money for the practice and business office personnel. And, most importantly, no more papercuts.
To increase efficiency and improve payment outcomes, hospitals and practices have begun relying on integrated payment processing systems and tracking software. Online payment and automated payment options provide practices with realistic tools for managing payment plans, while integrated reporting software allows practices to view trends in accounts receivables and insurance billing processes in order to locate problems and discover workable solutions.
Industry researchers may predict increases in healthcare costs on a national level, but those increases do not have to impact small practices directly. With careful planning and the use of effective technological tools, practices can improve internal efficiency and accounts receivable totals in a way that will benefit patients as well as the practice’s bottom line.
With the three software solutions mentioned above, practices may even find they come out ahead of the curve in the long run, with fewer daily challenges and happier, healthier patients.