Technology has become a major force for change in the world, both bad and good, and there’s no denying the average business is markedly different from its ancestors of only a decade or so before. The average healthcare practice has also changed drastically and its needs—and technology—have shifted along with the modern age. Consider the last office visit or procedure you had that didn’t involve some kind of technology?
But technological advancements in patient care are not the only changes. Successful practice management requires a combination of a business and healthcare–treating the patients as consumers, for instance, who have a choice where they receive medical treatment–and today’s patients have a lot of expectations. For their convenience and your sanity, consider the following five options for improving your practice’s business technology and increasing your profits in the process.
Online Patient Portal—The use of an online portal specific to each patient or family is a first step towards modernizing any healthcare practice, especially one with recurring, regular patients. Through the online portal, patients can review statements, make payments, and explore their own payment histories with a simple click instead of phone calls that could tie up time and phone lines.
Recurring Payments—Whether through an online portal or another format, practices can greatly benefit from allowing patients the ability to set up recurring payment plans electronically, so that funds would be pulled regularly from patient accounts. With this, patients won’t need to worry about manually setting up the regular payments because their payment information would be saved into a secure system and the payments automatically processed, making it convenient and easy to ensure their medical bills are covered on time or at a reasonable pace.
Eligibility Verification—Understanding patient eligibility and responsibilities for insurance is essential for both the patient and practice management. Once, individual phone calls to insurance providers might have been necessary to ensure patients were insured and eligible for treatment and to understand copays or other transaction details. Now, however, practices can employ systems that allow for either individual, real-time evaluations of patient eligibility or batch verification that can be run before appointments. These systems act almost like online databases, requiring no software installation or system changes. Upgrading is easy and the benefits are many.
Integrated Reporting—Another benefit of upgraded systems is the ability to integrate information and run reports isolating certain variables, specifically for accounts receivable and collections. Practice management, as with any business, requires constant upkeep and end of day reports to understand costs and expenses. Programs that can integrate information about payments received and patient costs, past due amounts and dates of service, etc., can make the process of collecting on past due balances much easier. These reports also make revenue cycle management simpler, allowing managers to better understand revenue over a longer period and to evaluate trends in profitability and increases or decreases in incoming funds.
Remote Check Deposit—Processing checks can be a real pain and many businesses have stopped accepting personal checks altogether. However, the ability to process and store details about check payments doesn’t have to be hard. There are systems available that can simplify check processing by scanning the check and electronically depositing it—not unlike new mobile banking technology that processes checks through pictures taken anywhere at any time. For practice management, such systems would keep digital images of all checks received, for reporting purposes and for easy reference in the future. Storing checks and then manually visiting the bank to deposit them, having to keep deposit receipt records for tracking—these are outdated steps that create unnecessary work and waste time. Some remote check deposit systems can process up to 75 check per minute and post them to your account without you ever having to leave the office.
Successfully managing a practice already takes a great deal of hard work and dedication. And good decision-making. Improving technology for business practices is a smart and time-saving move that would ultimately result in increased profits and improved patient satisfaction. Take a moment to review your options for the different systems available, such as PaymentCare, and you might find that change can be very good indeed.