6 Time Wasters That Could Be Happening In Your Medical Practice

An ornate clock with the words Time Slipping Away on its face
At the turn of 2016, MediPro made a New Year’s resolution to help medical practices and billing services become more efficient.  We’ve made some headway thus far but there is much more that needs to be done.
So I’ve identified some of the biggest “Time Wasters” that occur in medical offices–which through the use of technology can definitely be improved.

Preparing Patient Statements: Every month one or more of your staff gather to print out patient statements, then they have the task of folding, stuffing, sealing the envelope, affixing postage and making a drop at the mailbox.  Think of how labor intensive this process can be.
TRY THIS:  Align yourself with our automated patient statement service– with an upload of a file, paper statements can be professionally generated and circulated on behalf of your practice.  Want an easy way to accept patient payments 24×7?  Get set up with a portal like environment so your patients can pay their bills online—no muss, no fuss.  The money is deposited into your account within two business days!

Placing Appointment Reminder Phone Calls: Most practices I’ve personally been to use one of their staff members to place appointment reminder calls.  Imagine the time vested with leaving messages, updating the practice schedule, and tying up a phone line.  For medical groups with multiple providers, it can be close to a full-time job.  Simply put, missed appointments equal missed revenue.
TRY THIS:  Take advantage of our automated patient appointment reminder programs.  Create custom calling campaigns with a professional voiceover or your own to remind patients 24-48 hours before their scheduled appointments.  It runs in the background with minimal oversight.  Available with Text and Email reminders too!

Rounding Up a Patient’s Paper Chart:  Believe it or not there are some practices who have yet to switchover and maximize Electronic Health Records software.  Offices still have rooms of patient paper charts just waiting to be pulled, re-filed, misplaced, left on a desk, carried to another location and include reams of paper documents.
TRY THIS:  The reality is that electronic health records are not going away—they are here to stay.  More than likely some of your colleague’s implementation horror stories do exist, yes it is a transition however going paperless is taking a positive step in the efficiency direction.  Electronic patient charts now at your fingertips, enjoy quick keystroke navigation when trying to locate a patient’s diagnosis from 2013 instead of riffling through a stack of documents, and minimal questions back to your office if the insurance company cannot decipher one of the words the provider wrote in his/her visit note.  Give us a call so we can help position your office for the future.
Manually Entering in Standard Remittance Advice: For those who still embrace having printed remittance piles around their desk, I implore you to take note.  Most Practice Management software and Clearinghouses have a way to automate this process.  It is not expensive to add this Electronic Remittance Advice (ERA) functionality to your billing bag of tricks and it will save hours of manual posting.  I once worked with a multi-provider group and their biller was adamant about keeping old school traditions alive.  When I asked her if she was staying current with posting insurance payments and making adjustments, she quietly said, “I am about 6 months behind.”  I quickly assessed this group with a zero on the billing efficiency scale.
TRY THIS:  Select your top 5-10 payers or all of them if you’re feeling savvy and inquire as to whether or not your practice has ERA capabilities with your contracted clearinghouse program.  If so, work with your vendor to get this service added and make sure adequate training is provided so you can re-focus your time and energy on that never-ending A/R list.  At our office, we have some great options to choose from.

Hand Keying in Patient’s Demographic data: Have you ever been ‘the one’ to enter in new patient data into your Practice Management software?  As the clattering of a keyboard takes on a rhythmic tone of its own, you may wonder if there is a better way to do this.  In actuality, there is.  The process is called Optical Character Recognition (OCR).  Not all software programs have this capability however one of the Cloud based PM/EHR solutions MediPro works with does.  When scanning a driver’s license or patient insurance card, information like a first, last name, birthdate, insurance group name and id number are captured and then auto populate the appropriate data fields in your software.  Another idea is to utilize your software’s healthcare portal and encourage your patient to complete items like their address, insurance details, emergency contact, and or medical histories.  What a huge time saver this is for your staff!
TRY THIS:  Look for medical software that can incorporate this technology into your daily workflow.  Healthcare portals should come standard with your medical software and in turn, they can have a direct effect with increasing patient engagement.  OCR may be a little more challenging to find as not all software manufacturers have instituted this functionality.

Accepting Plastic Money: Oh the world of credit cards and the fees your medical office pays out of pocket every month just for this merchant convenience.  From leasing the machine, to high swiped or keyed transaction rates–Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express have never been happier.  It is difficult enough to get patient’s to pay their bills so take a look at your current credit card processing program with a magnifying glass.  Better yet, find a credit card program that integrates with your Practice Management software.  Collecting co-pays and managing patient payments with ease gets my vote this November.
TRY THIS:  Contact your medical software vendor to see if there is an option of accepting credit cards within your software.  Get rid of your local bank’s bulky credit card machine and simplify your experience with a USB Card Reader that connects to your computer and doesn’t tie up a phone line.  Send us your current credit card processing statement from a previous month’s activity and we’ll conduct a no obligation cost analysis to see if one of our programs can help trim some expenses.

After working with medical practices for double digit years, I have aligned myself with a company that can provide all of these efficiency enhancements for your office.  You’d be amazed by changing a few things with automation, how much of a positive outcome it can have with the staff, daily operations, and your checkbook.

Dana Deardorff is the Office Administrator at MediPro, Inc.  She is working toward her 13th year in the medical software industry and specializes in the many challenges independent physicians face in today’s healthcare marketplace.