The landscape of the healthcare business is constantly changing. New regulations are introduced all the time. Advancements in technology change the way physicians practice. It’s no wonder that medical practice management is growing more complex. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest practice management challenges, and how you can rise to meet them.
1. Increasing Operation Costs
Operating costs are rising, which is nothing new. Do a review of expenses at least once every year. Include what you spent on things like office supplies, software, IT support, and medical supplies. Brainstorm to see if you can cut costs anywhere. For instance, sterile supplies often have expiration dates. Do you find yourself having to dispose of any of those supplies because you don’t use them in time? If so, it’s time to reduce your order.
You can also find vendors and suppliers that will deliver certain supplies on a regular basis. Ordering in bulk may save money upfront but all your savings are canceled out when you end up with waste. You can also shop around to see if you can get the same price on supplies and services. Some people find that hiring a full-time person for IT support is less expensive than outsourcing to a contractor. Many practices find they can save money by eliminating physical paperwork and switching to digital forms and storage.
2. Patient Satisfaction
Sometimes changes in healthcare regulations and processes can frustrate patients. This is true whether your practice is responsible for the changes or not. When patient satisfaction drops, then your revenue may also drop if they stop making appointments. Plus, you can’t discount the power patients when it comes to recommending your practice to others.
To avoid this practice management challenge, do regular reviews of how your patients are feeling about their care. Gather information through anonymous surveys and feedback forms to pinpoint what may be frustrating them. A lot of times, patient satisfaction can increase when you make small changes to workflow. Using electronic records can streamline the registration process. And reminding physicians and nurses that while it’s important to efficiently get through patient loads, bedside manner matters. Patients don’t want to feel like care providers rush through visits just to check them off a list. If they do feel that way, they are more likely to try and find someone who does make them feel like more than just a list of symptoms.
3. Transitioning to Value-Based Care
In recent years there has been a big push towards value-based healthcare. Shifting from the fee-for-service model to value-based care may seem overwhelming. But there are ways to ensure a smooth transition. Also, with the right preparation and processes, you can avoid revenue loss during the transition. Start by addressing problem #1 and managing your operational costs. Then do a review of your revenue cycle management process to see how you can improve its efficiency. Measure your practice’s key performance indicators (KPIs) like:
- Number of patient encounters
- Number of procedures performed
- Total charges
- Total collected
- Outstanding charges
- Number of adjustments
4. Collecting Payments
With changes in the payor policies, one practice management challenge will be taking a proactive role in collecting payments. Deductibles are rising, as are co-payments, meaning patients are more financially responsible for their care. Make sure your patients are aware of your practice’s collection policies. If they don’t know about the policy, they can’t follow it. Communication is key. Also, consider offering payment plans if you don’t already. Patients are more likely to pay bills if they can do it over time. Many practices have started encouraging (or even requiring) patients to keep a credit card on file so automatic payments can be made.
5. Hiring & Keeping Qualified Staff
One of the biggest practice management challenges many people face is staffing. Recruiting, hiring, and retaining qualified and reliable staff can suck up valuable time and money. Having an in-house billing specialist or medical transcriptionist may seem like a good idea, but it might not be worth the headache of finding and keeping someone. It’s also not a great idea to have employees who are not trained in billing or documentation (like front desk staff or other administrative staff) perform these tasks along with their other duties. They are more likely to make mistakes, which will end up costing you down the road.
Outsourcing these aspects of your practice management is often a good solution that will save you time and money. Fast Chart offers practices and organizations of all sizes affordable outsourced clinical documentation. Fast Chart is lead by professionals with over 100 years of combined experience in transcription, documentation, and accounts receivable management. We are US based and staffed and our accuracy rates speak for themselves. Contact us at (919) 477-5152 to talk to a representative about how we can help you meet the challenges of practice management.