A Strong PM is Key to Maintaining Financial Strength and IndependenceBefore there was electronic health record (EHR) systems, there was practice manager (PM) software. Medical practitioners deployed PM solutions to simplify the operational aspects of their practice, and for a long time, that’s what this software did.

In recent years, though, federal incentive programs spurred a tremendously higher adoption rate for EHRs. As a result, the capabilities of many practices’ EHRs have outpaced those of their PMs, many of which are due for major upgrades as far as functionality, ease-of-use and integration where EHRs are concerned. Consequently, many practices have experienced, among other issues:

  • Scheduling difficulties.
  • Inefficient/incomplete collection of payments.
  • Weak patient informational resources.

Given how much complexity, heartache and clinical disruption was involved in rolling out EHR, it’s understandable why just the idea of another system replacement is enough to induce shortness of breath.

However, modern cloud-based PM solutions are deployed much faster and with significantly less disruption to clinical functions than EHRs; no new infrastructure is required, and integration with your EHR is supported by a best-in-class PM provider.

As further guidance for practices attempting to future-proof their operations, we've compiled some of the core features and functions that are intrinsic to a strong PM replacement:

Central Scheduling

The front desk is, in many ways, the gatekeeper for clinicians. It's the front desk staff's job to ensure that physicians have a steady flow of patients and that as few time slots are left open as possible. This is crucial to the financial stability of any specialty practice. For example, a single missed appointment costs, on average, $200, according to Health Management Technology. Collectively, this equates to $150 billion in losses every year for the American healthcare system.

A PM with a central scheduling function helps solve this problem in several key ways; it:

  1. Includes flexible viewing options, such as day, week and month, with easy drill-down into patient- and physician-specific details for any given time slot.
  2. Provides an intuitive and easy way to monitor the internal workflows of providers, patients, rooms and other resources and quickly troubleshoot snags or bottlenecks on the fly.
  3. Enables a patient wait-list, so patients who prefer to be seen earlier than their scheduled appointment time can be slotted into cancellations.

All of this minimizes the risk of clerical errors, while also creating a contingency for scheduling over last-minute patient cancellations.

Modern PM tools are built with ease-of-use in mind. Functionality needs to be robust without being cumbersome. Personnel should be able to multitask from a single window and not have to spend an inordinate amount of time searching through never-ending, drop-down menus.

Pre-Appointment Tasks

Automating pre-appointment tasks such as eligibility verification and pre-authorization can significantly improve RCM. According to the CAQH Index, the cost of manual eligibility verification is $3 more per claim than electronic eligibility verification. More than 3 billion manual claims are submitted every year, which equates to many billions of dollars that could have been saved through electronic claims submissions.

Cost-savings aren't the only reason streamlined eligibility verification needs to be a priority feature for a PM. Patients need to have a clear understanding of how much money they will be expected to pay out of pocket at the point of service. This is especially true in today's healthcare climate, which is saturated with high-deductible, low-premium insurance plans. Estimating the patient's portion of the expense prior to rendering services will reduce the chances of that payment ending up in collections – or written off altogether.

A PM with a strong, online patient portal can transfer many other time-consuming chores from your staff, thereby freeing them to focus on more mission-critical tasks. Your portal should allow patients to request appointments and refills, provide and verify important demographic information, such as medical history and symptoms prior to the visit, request copies of recent encounter notes, and securely communicate with providers and staff members.

AllMeds RCM for Your PracticePatient Engagement Resources

Last but not least, practices that implement an intuitive, feature-rich PM can improve patient engagement without giving front-desk personnel more work than they already have. For example, automatic appointment reminders can be scheduled for a communication channel of the patient's choosing – via phone (with Interactive Voice Response, or IVR), text message, email or all of the above. They can even put a credit card on file to have co-pays automatically taken out prior to the appointment, so they have one less thing to worry about.

The future of healthcare is ripe with opportunities to create more efficient workflows while also adding new value to patient relationships. Electronic health records opened the door to information-powered practices, but digital PM resources represent the next step toward better medical care and financially-thriving practices.

Learn more about how AllMeds' Practice Manager can help you take that next step toward operational excellence.

Sources:

https://www.healthmgttech.com/missed-appointments-cost-u.s.healthcare-system-150b-year

https://www.caqh.org/sites/default/files/explorations/index/report/2017-caqh-index-report.pdf

AllMeds EHR PM RCM

A Strong PM is Key to Maintaining Financial Strength and Independence

AllMeds RCM for Your Practice

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A Strong PM is Key to Maintaining Financial Strength and Independence

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AllMeds EHR PM RCM

A Strong PM is Key to Maintaining Financial Strength and Independence

AllMeds RCM for Your Practice

AllMeds Specialty Practice Services

A Strong PM is Key to Maintaining Financial Strength and Independence

AllMeds RCM for Your Practice

AllMeds Specialty Practice Services