4 Steps to Designing a Superior Patient Experience

4 Steps to Designing a Superior Patient Experience

Designing a Superior Patient Experience

We live in a world of increasingly lofty consumer expectations—one where 44% of U.S. consumers will switch to a competitor following a poor customer service experience.

The medical industry is no exception to this trend.

In a study by PatientPop, 58 percent of Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen Xers, as well as 63 percent of individuals 55 and older, said that responsiveness to follow-up questions via email or phone outside of the appointment is critical or very important to overall satisfaction.

Patients want more than just excellent care from their healthcare providers. They expect easy access to medical records, convenient online scheduling and appointment reminders, prompt responsiveness, and painless ways to contact your office—24/7/365. And they’re also seeking compassionate and knowledgeable representatives who are willing to provide caring and accurate resolutions to their issues.

As a medical provider, you should not only focus on bringing in new patients but also continually strive to improve patient retention. Growth in customer retention rates by 5 percent can increase profitability anywhere from 25 to 95 percent, after all.

So how do you design an experience that increases patient satisfaction and retention? Let’s dive in.

1: Make Prompt Call Answering & Convenient Appointment Scheduling A Priority

As we mention above, patients want—and nowadays expect—your office to answer quickly as well as provide effective and swift resolutions to their health matters. But in a busy office, the staff is often focused on dealing with patients. Even front desk and administrative teams can become inundated with in-office tasks at a busy practice, leaving calls, messages, and emails unanswered.

A superior patient experience starts with prompt call answering and convenient appointment scheduling—a service that’s available to your patients whenever they need you, including weekends and holidays, and answers every call addresses delicate patient concerns with empathy, and schedules appointments quickly. If your staff is struggling to keep up with demand, consider outsourcing your phone answering and appointment scheduling. Not only will this improve patient satisfaction, but it also brings a sense of work-life balance to internal staff and allows you and your team to focus on what you do best; caring for patients.

2: Streamline and Perfect Your Patient Intake Process

The patient intake process is tedious, but it’s incredibly important to your operations, and speed and accuracy are vital. Streamlining and perfecting patient intake starts with leveraging the right software—one that makes it easy for patients to fill in their information and access their records, and provides all of the valuable data your practice needs to operate in an easy-to-navigate platform. For starters, your intake software should:

  • Be encrypted for data transfer through the internet and HIPAA compliant
  • Be intuitive and user-friendly
  • Not require special software or hardware downloads or installation for the user
  • Be portable into back-end systems

Your intake process should also be integrated with your electronic health records (EHR) software, and information should be updated and available in real-time for a smooth experience—for patients, admin staff, and providers—so that everyone is up-to-speed. Both technology and your process should remove redundancies from your workflow and streamline the intake experience.

3: Provide HIPAA-Compliant Live Chat & Text For Swift and Convenient Communication

Another great way to improve patient experience is via live chat and text, through which you and your staff can communicate with patients wherever they are, send appointment reminders, have two-way private and secure conversations, multitask as needed and be available when emergencies happen.

HIPAA-compliant chat and text messaging lets you communicate efficiently and accurately with patients and simultaneously safeguards electronically protected health information (PHI) while taking full advantage of the speed and flexibility of today’s communication technology.

Some of the many benefits of secure live chat and text in the healthcare realm include:

  • Reduced response times, including in the off-hours and on weekends or holidays
  • Ability to provide immediate recommendations for care and preliminary diagnoses
  • Ability to send follow-ups, like reminding patients to take medications, which creates better relationships between you and your patients
  • Secure PHI storage that acts as a record of past conversations, symptoms, or complaints to improve future care, diagnosis, and treatment plans

4: Leverage Technology and Software Integrations For Smarter Decision-Making

Technology and software integrations have transformed healthcare and are vital in any medical practice. Why? Because when you streamline your office functions and workflows, you improve all aspects of patient care and experience.

First, your office should be using an EHR (electronic health record) system. This system automates access to client information, helping to improve workflows and reduce incidences of errors by improving the accuracy and clarity of medical records. It should include all the key clinical data relevant to each patient’s care, including:

  • Demographics
  • Progress notes
  • Problems
  • Medications
  • Vital signs
  • Past medical history
  • Immunizations
  • Laboratory data
  • Radiology reports

Communication data collected throughout your patients’ experience with your office—such as phone conversations, appointment scheduling, and reminders, and live chat and text transcripts—should also be sent to and recorded in your EHR system.

Finally, the right software can help you make better patient and business decisions. For instance, maybe you want to know the percentage of patient calls versus the percentage of calls from hospitals that come into your office. Or, maybe you want to know which hospitals call you the most or you want to know the main reasons patients call so you can use that information to improve patient care and education.

How The Highest-Performing Medical Practices Prioritize Patient Experience

Medical practices that provide a superior service experience are available to their patients 24/7, have a streamlined and accurate intake process, are tech-forward, and have omnichannel communication options that empower patients to reach out any time and from anywhere. But most medical practices don’t do it all on their own. The highest-performing medical providers leverage an outside service provider like Nexa to improve client satisfaction, increase retention and grow their revenue. Learn more about how Nexa can help your medical practice level up by visiting nexa.com/medical.


ABOUT EZCLAIM:
As a medical billing expert, EZClaim can help the medical practice improve its revenues since it is a medical billing and scheduling software company. EZClaim provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, EZClaim helps improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, email them, or call them today at 877.650.0904.

[ Contribution from the marketing team at Nexa ]

Optimize your MIPS Score and Protect your Reimbursements

Optimize your MIPS Score and Protect your Reimbursements

MIPS is a point-based program and understanding how to earn MIPS points is critical to avoid a 9% penalty. The MIPS program continues to change and evolve each year as it meets the goals laid out in the MACRA law and carried out by CMS.  Since the program was implemented in 2017 the points threshold to avoid a penalty has grown from 3 to 60 out of a possible 100 MIPS points; the penalty has increased from 3% to 9% of annual Medicare reimbursements; and, the number of patients required to be reported on has increased from 20 patients to all patients for all payors.  With the rules changing every year, the strategy you previously used to score MIPS points and report may no longer be optimal.  If you want to avoid the 9% penalty in 2021 and beyond, you must think differently and evolve your strategy for MIPS.

With all the complexities and nuances of the program, it’s challenging to know what you can do to impact your MIPS score.  Here are three critical considerations that provide guidance on ensuring you have the right MIPS strategy to optimize your ability to earn MIPS points for the 2021 reporting period.

The Quality Category, worth the most points, is the category to focus most of your effort.  Because the Quality category is worth anywhere from 40 to 85 MIPS points, focusing on this category throughout the year is critical. You need to submit a full year’s worth of data so now is the time to ensure that you are capturing all relevant data in your EHR and or billing system so that it can be properly extracted and reported on for your submission.

40% of the MIPS points require you meet stringent timeframe requirements.  Two of the  MIPS categories, Promoting Interoperability and Improvement Activities, have timeframe requirements where you must perform and document activities for a minimum of 90 continuous days.  These are not easy categories in which to be successful and so if you wait too long you will find it impossible to put the right actions in place to complete the activities necessary to earn any of the MIPS points in these categories.

The reporting methodology you choose impacts the points you can earn.  Not all reporting methodologies are the same and the reporting methodology you select has a significant impact on the MIPS points you could earn.  Unless you select a reporting partner that will help you earn the most points available by leveraging technology to facilitate the ease, accuracy, and completeness of tracking and reporting to maximize your score, you risk leaving MIPS points on the table and significantly sub-optimizing your score.  Reporting via a CEHRT, like Health eFilings, is the best approach because it optimizes the MIPS points that could be earned and therefore, maximizes Medicare reimbursements.

Health eFilings’, a CEHRT, is the national leader in automated MIPS reporting and our cloud-based ONC certified software fully automates the MIPS reporting process.  And because Health eFilings’ service is an end-to-end electronic solution that doesn’t require any IT resources, administrative support, or workflow changes, you will save significant time while maximizing your financial upside.

Contact Sarah Reiter, sreiter@healthefilings.com, or 608.841.1866 to find out how to maximize your reimbursements and protect your bottom line.

About Health eFilings:

Health eFilings, a CEHRT, is the national leader in automated MIPS compliance and quality data analytics.  Its services drive improved patient outcomes, optimized quality measures, and stronger financial results for healthcare practices. Their proprietary cloud-based ONC certified software is significantly more efficient and effective than any registry as it does all the work to extract, calculate, benchmark, format, and electronically submit MIPS data to CMS so clients avoid significant penalties and earn maximum reimbursements. And, you can have peace of mind knowing you are working with the best partner because CMS has accepted 100% of Health eFilings’ submissions. Learn more here: https://healthefilings.com/ezclaim


ABOUT EZCLAIM:
As a medical billing expert, EZClaim can help the medical practice improve its revenues since it is a medical billing and scheduling software company. EZClaim provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, EZClaim helps improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, email them, or call them today at 877.650.0904.

[ Contribution from the marketing team at Health eFilings’ ]

Integrating an EHR and PM – RCM Insight

Integrating an EHR and PM – RCM Insight

Have you ever been a bit overwhelmed when shopping around for all your medical practice needs?  Of course!  There are so many pieces required to meet all the HIPAA and reporting requirements, but it’s also about efficiency and ease of sharing information between clinicians to administrators.  This can make the all-in-one Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Practice Management (PM) systems very tempting.  Keep in mind, you will pay a hefty price for an all-in-one, which makes this a very simple decision for some practices.  The good news:  You have alternatives that still provide the same ease of sharing data through integration.  I recently interviewed Dan Loch, President of EZClaim Software, LLC.  EZClaim offers a stand-alone billing platform that offers several options for integration with clearinghouses and EHR’s.  I asked Dan what he felt the biggest advantages were to using stand-along programs.

    1. Your practice will get the best of both worlds! Often practices will find a great EHR, but the billing side is not the best, or vice-versa.  Using stand-alone programs that can talk to each other allows a practice to choose an EHR solution that is best for their clinicians AND a PM solution that is best for the billers and administrators.
    2. Typically, stand-alone systems are more ‘nimble’ in responding to industry and regulatory changes.
    3. Integrating multiple ‘best-in-class’ software packages creates an offering with much more in-depth capability.

If you are currently using separate EHR and PM solutions but the programs are not integrated – consider looking into this feature.  This will relieve the burden of entering data twice.  Start by verifying if the programs have an existing integration.

    • If so, the hard part is done! Just ask what the process is to get set up and if there are any fees associated.
    • If not, consider contacting your PM software vendor to inquire what formats they accept for EHR integrations. Once they provide the specs, work with your EHR to determine if you can export in the required format.

There is no single solution that works for every practice.  If you’d like to learn more, check out this article from EZClaim ‘All-in-One’ or ‘Specialized’ Medical Billing Software?  Which is Best?  I hope that this information will help you weigh your options and find the right fit for your specific situation.  If you have questions or would like some help determining what would be best, RCM Insight is here to help!  Visit us at www.rcminsight.com and submit a request to chat on the Contact Us page.

 

Are You a MIPS Expert?

Are You a MIPS Expert?

If you are not a MIPS expert (Merit-based Incentive System), your Medicare reimbursements may be decreased by 9% in the next year. However, it’s not too late to avoid the penalty for the 2020 reporting period, but you need to act now!

One of EZClaim’s partners, Health eFilings’ has ONC-certified software that completely automates the MIPS compliance process for you. The software will automatically extract the required data directly from EZClaim (and/or your EHR), and then proprietary algorithms will process the 9,000,000 possible combinations of quality measures for each clinician to identify which measures should be submitted to CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to earn you the most points.

Need a MIPS expert? Well, Health eFilings is one of the best, and CMS has accepted 100% of their submissions on behalf of their clients. If you have completed your 2020 reporting, reach out to them, and learn how you can earn even more points in 2021.

For more information about EZClaim’s medical billing softwaree-mail, visit their website, or contact them at 877.650.0904.

[ Article contributed by Sarah Reiter, SVP Strategic Partnerships, Health eFilings]

Life Cycle of a Medical Bill (Revenue Cycle 101)

Life Cycle of a Medical Bill (Revenue Cycle 101)

Life Cycle of a Medical BillThere are five ‘phases’ in the life cycle of a medical bill: Pre-appointment; Point of care; Claim submission; Insurance payment or denial; and Patient payment. This post will overview each of these phases, and could even be considered to be a “101-level” course on Revenue Cycle Management.

With high deductible health plans on the rise, the recent explosion of telehealth appointments due to COVID-19, and many other factors in play, it’s more important than ever for everyone to understand the life cycle of a medical bill, and how the process works. The healthcare revenue cycle is relevant not only to those who work in healthcare, but to the patient, too.

The revenue cycle is the series of processes around healthcare payments—from the time a patient makes an appointment to the time a provider is paid—and everything in between. One way to think of it is in terms of the life cycle of a medical bill. Although there are many ways this process can play out, this post will lay out a common example below:

1. Pre-appointment
For most general care, the first stage of the revenue cycle begins when a patient contacts a provider to set up their appointment. Generally this is when relevant patient information will begin to be collected for the eventual bill, referred to on the financial side of healthcare as a claim.

At this point a provider will determine whether the appointment and procedure will need prior authorization from an insurance company (referred to as the payer). Also, the electronic health record (EHR) used to help generate the claim is created, and will begin to accumulate further detail as the provider sends an eligibility inquiry to check into the patient’s insurance coverage.

2. Point of care
The next step in the process begins when the patient arrives for their appointment. This could include when a patient arrives for an initial consultation, an outpatient procedure, or for a follow-up exam. This could also include a Telehealth appointment.

At any of these events, the provider may charge an up-front cost. One example of this is a co-pay, which is the set amount patients pay after their deductible (if they are insured), however, there are other kinds of payments that fall into this category, too.

3. Claim submission
After the point of care, the provider completes and submits a claim with the appropriate codes to the payer. In order to accomplish that, billing staff must collect all necessary documentation and attach it to the claim. After submitting the claim to the payer, the provider’s team will monitor whether a claim has been been accepted, rejected, or denied.

[ Note: Medical coding refers to the clerical process of translating steps in the patient experience with reference numbers. The codes are normally based on medical documentation, such as a doctor’s notes or laboratory results. These explain to a payer how a patient was diagnosed and treated, and why. This information helps the payer decide how much of an encounter is covered under any given insurance plan, and therefore how much the payer will pay. ]

4. Insurance payment or denial
Once the payer receives the claim, they ensure it contains complete information and agrees with provider and patient records. If there is an error, the claim will be rejected outright and the provider will have to submit a corrected claim.

The payer then begins the review process, referred to as adjudication. Payers evaluate claims for accurate coding and documentation, medical necessity, appropriate authorization, and more. Through this process, the payer decides their financial obligation. Any factor could cause the payer to deny the claim.

If the claim is approved, the payer submits payment to the provider with information explaining details of their decision. If the claim is denied, the provider will need to determine if the original needs to be corrected, or if it makes more sense to appeal the payer’s decision.

Following adjudication, the payer will send an explanation of benefits (EOB) to the patient. This EOB will provide a breakdown of how the patient’s coverage matched up to the charges attached to their care. It is not a billing statement, but it does show what the provider charged the payer, what portion insurance covers, and how much the patient is responsible for.

5. Patient payment
The next phase occurs when the provider sends the patient a statement for their portion of financial responsibility. This stage occurs once the provider and payer have agreed on the details of the claim, what has been paid, and what is still owed.

The last step occurs when a patient pays the balance that they owe the provider for their care. Depending on the amount, the patient may be able pay it all at once, or they might need to work with the provider on a payment plan.

 

The above example represents one way the lie cycle of a medical bill can play out. Some of the ‘phases’ are often repeated. Because of the complexity of healthcare payments and the parties involved, there is not always a ‘straight line’ from patient care to complete payment. That’s why we call it the revenue cycle, and there are companies that provide systems for its management.

One of EZClaim’s partners, Waystar, aims to simplify and unify healthcare payments. Their technology automates many parts of the billing process laid out above, so it takes less time and energy for providers and their teams, and is more transparent for patients (Click here to learn more about how Waystar automates manual tasks and streamlines workflows.) When the revenue cycle is operating at its most efficient, providers can focus their resources on improving patient care—and that’s a better way forward for everyone!

For more information of how Waystar works together with EZClaim, click here.

[ Article and image provided by Waystar ]

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ABOUT EZCLAIM:
EZClaim is a medical billing and scheduling software company that provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support, and can help improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit their website, e-mail them at sales@ezclaim.com, or call a representative today at 877.650.0904.