Three Ways Practices Are Driving Up Administrative Costs

If you are in the business of healthcare in 2014, one thing is for sure – these are challenging times. If it’s not the impact from healthcare reform or looming implications of ICD-10, or some other regulatory change – there is likely something affecting your bottom line. This evolutionary time undoubtedly calls for providers to change their practice management strategies to stay afloat.

The good news is, it may not be as difficult as it seems to save $100,000/year or more. Many practices don’t realize that outdated office processes are costing more than they think and, with a few minor adjustments, can offset some of the additional administrative costs associated with health reform and decreasing reimbursement rates.

Experts estimate that time spent on unnecessary administrative tasks costs the average small practice around $314,953.00 a year.

Three outdated processes that significantly drive costs for practices:

Calling in prescriptions to pharmacies: All the time office staff is on hold with pharmacies, calling in prescriptions is a complete waste of time and labor. Utilizing e-prescribing tools that automates prescription delivery to pharmacies electronically can be a huge time saver, and ultimately a huge money saver for practices.

Manually verifying patient insurance eligibility: A question that many practices may not be able to answer: How much time and money does your office staff devote to verifying patients’ insurance eligibility? Whether it’s on the phone or navigating payer websites – it’s likely they are spending more than necessary. With cloud based automated eligibility programs, practices are seeing a  significant savings not only in time spent verifying benefits but also in a reduction of bad claims. This brings us to our next point.  

Resubmitting denied claims: With all manual processes comes an increased level of human error. Denied or bad claims are usually a result of just that – a manual eligibility verification process gone awry. Another GREAT reason to employ a cloud based automated eligibility program, not only are resubmitting claims time consuming, but if the right information wasn’t captured in the first place, it’s not likely it’s going to be accepted in the second round. Automated eligibility programs will flag staff immediately, prompting them to recapture the correct information.

The Institute of Medicine estimates there is $181 billion to be saved in streamlining administrative costs in the next 10 years. This is suggested by way, of course, of adopting electronic transactions such as e-prescribing, automated eligibility and EFT.

Many practices shy away from these technologies, intimidated by cost and implementation. As cloud based programs become more prevalent, implementation tends to be very minimal, driving down the costs of these products.

The best part – once office staffs time is freed up, and no longer being wasted on manual processes it can be applied to revenue-enhancing activities and patient satisfaction. The time is now for practices to smarten up about their business operations by decreasing unnecessary administrative costs.