7 Pointers To Keep Your Staff Motivated and Happy

I’m sure you have heard the saying “When you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you will always perform your best without worrying about anything.” In my prior post titled “9 Tips On Improving Patient Loyalty” from October 23, 2015, I talked about how brand loyalty begins with the staff. Your front desk staff are the first people patients see when they enter and the last people they see when they leave. Cheerfulness from your staff is absolutely crucial and will translate an air of positivity over the phone and in person. In a healthcare market research survey by Press Ganey Associates of 1.4 million patients treated at 5,400 sites nationwide, overall cheerfulness of the practice came in as the number 2 patient request, right under sensitivity to the patient’s needs. Overall, the likelihood of the patient recommending another patient to your medical center can be seen based on these priorities. You can view the results of the study here. Inspiration and enthusiasm starts with physicians and the office manager, so what you can you do to ensure that you staff remains jovial and allows your patients to leave satisfied with their entire experience with your practice? Here are 7 pointers to help keep your staff motivated and happy: Embrace flexible work schedules. Typically, medical practices have established schedules and routines, so flexibility of staff schedules may not be an easy pill to swallow. However, when you allow someone to have flexible work options, it shows them that you respect the fact that they have lives out of the office. If you ever need to leave...

Super Physicians: Stopping The Financial Abuse of Seniors

The subject of this blog post is very different from my other posts, as I feel that it will hit close to home – rather than the office – for many of you. We need to talk about something very important – something that you can do now to really make a difference in the lives of your patients. I’d like to talk about how doctors and nurses can play an important front line role in stopping the financial abuse of seniors. I grew up in rural Southern Maryland in a loving household filled with lots of family. Mine was a traditional Indian extended family, with my grandparents, parents, brother, sister and myself living together. My Father is a hardworking physician – a Gastroenterologist. As a child, I remembered he would leave home at 6 am to see patients at his private practice, come home in the evening to eat dinner, and go back to the hospital to make rounds – just to make sure that our family would live a good life. My Mother is an absolutely amazing woman and always made sure that me, my younger sister and my younger brother were taken care of, learned the right lessons, ate the right foods, etc.  (I’m now 38 years old and she still does – thanks Mom!). My Grandmother, now 98 years old, and my Grandfather, who has since passed, would spend time with us, speak with us in our mother tongue and ensured that we learned to respect the older generation. Together, they all played a part in making sure that we, the younger generation, would ingrain...

ICD-10: The Sky That Never Fell

Many physicians and medical billing experts predicted that the sky would fall on October 1, 2015, when the United States began using the newest version of the International Classification of Diseases, or ICD-10. The Department of Health and Human Services first issued a regulation proposing the transition to classification scale in August 2008. After nearly a decade of trying and three delays, clinics and other medical institutions in the United States begrudgingly switched to the new coding system to report medical diagnoses and procedures on October 1, 2015. Paging Chicken Little Many physicians and medical groups panicked at the mere thought of transitioning to the new codes. Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), for example, expressed their concerns about the level of industry preparedness in a March 2015 letter to the Health and Human Services Secretary, Sylvia Burwell. WEDI worried that many organizations had not taken full advantage of the extra time afforded by the March 2014 delay. In that letter, Devin Jopp, Ed.D, president and CEO of WEDI said that, “unless all industry segments make a dedicated and aggressive effort to move forward with their implementation efforts in the next few months, there will be significant disruption to industry claims processing on Oct 1, 2015.” In July of 2015, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) surveyed physicians in the state regarding their practice’s readiness for "the transition." Ninety-seven of the 936 respondents treated patients in active medical practices and 42 percent were solo practitioners. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they expected delayed or denied claim payments resulting from the transition to ICD 10. Understandably, physicians facing possible delayed or...

9 Tips On Improving Patient Loyalty

For many companies, I represent the ideal consumer. Why do I say that and how do the below “ideal consumer qualities” relate to your practice? I’ll explain that shortly. As the ideal consumer, I do my research before purchasing anything so I am well versed on the product or service and seldom have too many questions after purchase. Because I have done my research and read reviews, I typically have positive experiences. As I am myself a business owner, if I do have negative feedback, I rarely choose to relay this information publicly because I feel that it could have just been an anomaly in production. Instead, I will call the company and speak with a manager in charge to privately explain what I would have expected from them. For services, I usually try and look at a negative experience from the provider’s point of view. After all, everyone has good and bad days. I’ll try again hoping that the next time will be better. I am what you would call a “sneeze marketer.” When I like a product or service, I will sing praises from the highest mountains. If I like a particular piece of technology, I’ll happen to mention it in conversation. If I like a restaurant, I’ll let people know that this is a place they must try and even offer to take them to lunch. If I like a service provider, I will make sure to send them referrals. For example, when my back started to hurt, someone recommended me to a certified massage therapist a few miles from my office. I was so impressed...

7 Ways To Improve Patient Waiting Room Times

Many times, waiting to be seen by a physician can be one of the most stressful moments in the patient-physician relationship. You can almost compare it road rage when there is a lot of traffic. Similarly, the unknown wait times can cause a patient to become agitated. In a prior blog post, I had actually touched on how cutting out the waiting aspect can increase patient satisfaction with the care they receive from their provider. Again, Jerry Seinfeld's “Waiting Room” bit comes to mind and is worth reiterating below to really illustrate this frustration from a patient’s perspective. See this bit from comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, that perfectly illustrates the waiting area scenario: "I hate when they make you wait in the room. ‘Cause it says 'Waiting room.' There’s no chance of not waiting, ‘cause they call it the waiting room, they’re going to use it. They’ve got it. It’s all set up for you to wait. And you sit there, you know, and you’ve got your little magazine. You pretend you’re reading it, but you’re really looking at the other people. You know, you’re thinking about them things like 'I wonder what he’s got. As soon as she goes, I’m getting her magazine.' And then, they finally call you and it’s a very exciting moment. They finally call you, and you stand up and you kinda look around at the other people in the room. “Well, I guess I’ve been chosen. I’ll see you all later. You know, so you think you’re going to see the doctor, but you’re not, are you? No. You’re going into the next waiting...

10 Crucial Tips To Remain HIPAA Compliant on Social Media

With the advances in technology within the past few years and nearly everyone being glued to their mobile phones, the medical marketing arena has changed drastically. Never have there been more options to help drive patient acquisition for your medical practice. If you're a relatively young practice, any loss of patient base is significant, even if it a simple reason such as a family moving away from the area or changing their insurance carrier. Additionally, keeping up with competing practices can become expensive, however, there are many low cost healthcare marketing strategies to keep patients coming in. One that has the greatest outreach and response rate is social media, although many practices I have spoken with shy away from posting on Facebook and Twitter. Why is that? I decided to ask a few of my clients and learned that one of the main reasons is the fear of inadvertently committing HIPAA violations. As you already know, HIPAA is the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The primary goal of the law is to make it easier for people to keep health insurance, protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information and help the healthcare industry control administrative costs. The primary concern of these physicians is the “protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information” portion of HIPAA. Advertising through social media sites is an excellent way of increasing the publicity you need to drive patient acquisition. With Facebook recently hitting 1 Billion user accounts and Twitter having 190 Million unique visitors and 115 Million active users per month, chances are that a lot of your potential...

The 5 Greatest Benefits of Telemedicine To Patients And Clinicians

There are many benefits of telemedicine to patients and clinicians. Telemedicine is a technology that has the potential to revolutionize and completely redefine the healthcare industry. It perfectly aligns with CMS' 3 part aim to "achieve better care for patients, better health for our communities, and lower costs through improvement for our health care system." Thanks to telehealth services, patients have the ability to consult with their doctors via two-way video, email, or text - from the comfort of their home or office. Did you know that currently, over 36 million Americans have used telehealth in some form? Nearly 70 percent of doctor visits can be handled over the phone, according to a recent study by the Affiliated Workers Association, a network of professionals dedicated to empowering everyday employees. Here are what I feel are 5 of the greatest benefits of telemedicine: 1) Sheer Convenience. Scheduling and actually showing up for even a 15 minute follow up appointment can prove to be difficult when you have other priorities that need to be taken care of. Kids, work, meetings, traffic etc. can all come in the way, and for some strange reason, things come up especially when it has to do with keeping up with your health! Through two-way video, patients can follow-up on a prescription or diagnosis with a physician they've been seeing for years, or with a new doctor in their network. When registered, patients can even check out a new in-network physician's background. Essentially, during a telehealth visit, providers should try and emulate a visit that most closely resembles the traditional doctor’s visit. 2) Lower Cost. Travel expenses and...

These 5 Tips Will Show You How To Get Patients To Use A Patient Portal

In prior posts, I talked about the drive towards a more patient-centric medical environment. Patient service and satisfaction is vital to today’s healthcare climate. Implementing a patient portal or the ability to securely send and receive electronic communications is an effective way to heighten patient satisfaction, empower patients and increase compliance and accountability. This significant change will also improve the efficiency of your practice. Health Prime International has helped many practices implement, roll out and market their portals, so I'll be sharing some of the lessons learned below. So, what is a patient portal? It is a secure online website that gives patients convenient 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an internet connection. Also, if your practice is on the track of adopting an EHR and attesting to meaningful use, you may already know that the Stage 2 rules require providers to demonstrate that patients have the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information. Once the portal is launched, patients would be provided with a unique token to establish a patient portal login and password, which would: Enable them to view: Recent doctor visits Discharge summaries Medications Immunizations Lab results Account statements Patient educational materials Medical history Pay medical bills Exchange secure e-mail with their health care teams Request prescription refills Schedule non-urgent appointments Check benefits and coverage Download and complete forms Enable them to update: Contact information Demographic information Allergy and medication lists Once you’ve decided that you want to implement a portal, the most pressing issue how to get patients to use a patient portal. In a 2012 study, 90 percent...

What Does Value Based Reimbursement Mean For Providers?

I received an interesting email recently from CMS, titled “CMS announces Value Based Insurance Design Model to improve care and reduce costs in Medicare Advantage Plans.” Evidently, their new Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design Model will test the premise that “giving Medicare Advantage plans flexibility to offer targeted extra supplemental benefits or reduced cost sharing to enrollees who have specified chronic conditions can lead to higher-quality and more cost-efficient care, helping health plans and consumers have the tools they need to improve costs and spend dollars more wisely.” Value based reimbursement payment systems are still considered to be in the infancy phase and are mostly structured according to this type of shared savings model. Shared savings arrangements differ, but generally, they encourage providers to cutoff spending for certain patients by offering them a percentage of any net savings that is realized. The Medicare Shared Savings Program is the most well-known and standardized example of the value based model. What does the shift in value based reimbursement vs. volume based reimbursement mean for providers? Switching to value based healthcare will change the traditional model of healthcare reimbursement, pushing providers to alter the way they bill for care. Instead of healthcare providers being paid by the number of visits and tests they order (fee for service), they would be paid based on their delivery of quality healthcare (value based healthcare). The current fee for service (FFS), or volume based reimbursement model has met with a lot of criticism over the idea that physicians may be over-treating patients as a means of generating additional income or to counteract shrinking reimbursements. In the minds of many...

Why Proper Revenue Cycle Management Is A Necessity

What is Revenue Cycle Management? The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) defines revenue cycle as "All administrative and clinical functions that contribute to the capture, management, and collection of patient service revenue." A truly comprehensive revenue cycle solution is more than just medical billing services; it includes the entire life of a patient account from creation to payment and should include the following benefits and services, as described in our unique “8 Step Revenue Cycle Management Process”: Maximize Productivity Scheduling efficiency Resource utilization Charge Capture No missing fee slips No missed charges Coding Accuracy E&M level of service Dx linking Modifiers Charge order Clean Claims Insurance eligibility Pre-claim edits Referrals & authorizations Timely filing A/R Management Insurance follow-up Proper adjustments Denial management Appeals Patient Collections Copay coaching Statements Dunning letters Follow-up phone calls Smart Analytics Reporting Contract payment analysis Trending and forecasting Decision Support Process improvement Payor contract negotiations Coding improvement By helping properly manage the practice’s revenue cycle, physicians can devote more time to providing patients with the thorough care they deserve rather than spending time on administrative work. Health Prime International has been providing revenue cycle solutions for almost 12 years to nearly 1,500 physicians in more than 55 specialties, so we know that proper management of your revenue cycle is an absolute necessity that will pay for itself multiple times. Many physicians who ask us for help had been finding themselves concerned about their practice staff’s ability to manage day-to-day operations while struggling with the annoyances of medical billing. At times, some of these practices had simply outgrown their own billing department. Today, more than ever, physician practices are...