Aseem Mirza | August 11 2022
NOTE: This post originally appeared on forbes.com.
On a breezy evening in spring, John and Kevin, two handsome young men, graduated from the same medical college. Twenty-five years later, these two doctors visited their alma mater for a reunion.
A distinction between them became apparent. John was not living up to his potential. He managed everything himself, like supervising staff, front- and back-end services, and calling insurance companies to settle claims. His involvement in administrative tasks delayed patient care. As a result, John often rushed through appointments and spent less time with his patients. Although John was a good practitioner, he couldn’t increase either the patient volume or revenue. His poor work-life balance took a toll on him.
Kevin, on the other hand, had a different approach to managing his practice.
Instead of micromanaging, he partnered with numerous domain experts. He subcontracted administrative tasks so he and the nurses could spend less time on paperwork and more time with the patients. Kevin hired a digital marketing agency to manage his online presence. Kevin secured a healthy work-life balance by delegating clerical responsibilities to seasoned companies.
Unfortunately, John is not alone in feeling work-related stress within the healthcare domain. In my four years of working closely with healthcare practitioners, I have observed that most physicians micromanage instead of taking a patient-centered, outside-in approach. They are often hesitant to delegate administrative tasks or partner up with specialists to ease up their workload.
There are essentially three ways doctors can improve their overall practice management strategy to ensure better care, improve the patient experience, optimize their online presence and, most importantly, increase revenue through outsourcing. (Full disclosure: My company offers many of these services.)
If your goal is to provide your patients with convenient in-house diagnostic services and you are thinking from a financial perspective, you may consider partnering with an ancillary services provider. They are excellent outpatient and hospital alternatives, as they tend to offer cost-effective yet equally competent services.
When choosing an ancillary service provider to partner with, you should weigh the below factors:
– The training and skill set of the provider’s technicians, technologists and administrators.
– The quality of the equipment they use.
– How much investment working with them will require in terms of time and money.
– Their expertise and length of experience in any diagnostic services you may require, including screening services like autonomic testing, respiratory and renal scans, eye scans, heart screening, thyroid tests and screening, and so on.
You may also choose to delegate a portion of administrative services or subcontract the entirety of your practice management to a third party. This can give doctors and nurses more time for care delivery. Once your administrative systems and processes are in safe hands, your providers may also be able to enjoy a better work-life balance.
Below are some cost-effective approaches in this domain:
Healthcare practice management and consulting companies like Precision Hub take care of all the business aspects of your practice, including financial performance, information technology, practice efficiency and efficacy, and human resources, among others.
An ideal practice management consultant will offer you transparency and complete autonomy in using your systems and processes in addition to managing them. This ensures that you are in control of your practice’s operations. Another crucial factor to consider is how well versed they are in the ever-evolving local and federal healthcare laws, policies and legislation.
A third-party RCM consultant like Precision Hub specializes in functions associated with claims processing, payment and revenue generation right from the beginning when a patient makes an appointment.
Before you decide to partner with an RCM expert, consider their length of experience and expertise in:
– Front-office management: This includes appointment scheduling and management, benefits verification, authorization and referral management, and leveraging front-office administrative and revenue analytics solutions.
– Back-office management: This includes expertise in appropriate billing and claim entries, claim submissions and audits, accounts receivable management, denial management and monthly business analyses and reporting.
– Experience and expertise in insurance credentialing.
– Claim management percentage: look for lower claim denial rates and higher clean claim rates.
Hiring a full-time accounting staff is a costlier option, especially to meet a healthcare practice’s finance and accounting needs. A smarter, more cost-effective alternative is to subcontract an external accounting service provider like Monily.
It is important to choose a service provider that has relevant medical bookkeeping and accounts management experience. This is because they should be aware of the data privacy and security standards established by HIPAA to be able to remain compliant across functions. Another important aspect is the technology and financial tools the consultants rely on for data management and analytics. QuickBooks, Stripe, Square, Gusto and Oracle NetSuite are some of the tools that service providers tend to leverage to automate your practice’s finance and accounting processes.
Most doctors are cautious about utilizing the power of digital marketing to their advantage. A weak online presence can hamper a doctor’s ability to gather ratings and reviews. In contrast, strong and consistent online visibility can not only help you sustain stronger relationships with existing patients but can also help you reach potential patients.
Ask any digital marketing specialists you’re considering working with how they plan to augment your healthcare facility’s reputation and boost footfall within your specific zip code. They should also be able to explain how they help healthcare professionals find areas that aren’t working for future campaigns. Ask them about their plan for creating measurable, accountable and scalable digital and integrated marketing key performance indicators with multiple milestones along the journey. An ideal digital marketing partner will enable you and your practice to leverage all the above areas to build and maintain your practice’s digital presence and positioning.
Not all healthcare practitioners in the U.S. recognize the value of a collaborative advantage for improving their care delivery model and strengthening patient experiences. However, by choosing the right providers, practitioners may be able to enable easier access to quality care, improve operational and financial efficiencies, and minimize the cost of care.
Aseem Mirza - Marketing Director at Arthur Lawrence, oversees the strategic marketing initiatives within the technology and healthcare management space.