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Survey reveals top challenges for medical practices include financial management, increasing practice efficiencyYet another recently released survey shows that physicians in the U.S. are struggling with financial management—90% report this as a concern, and it’s second in the list of top challenges second only to shifting reimbursement models (91%). The survey, conducted by Wolters Kluwer Health, revealed that the financial management challenges are coming from increased costs, healthcare IT adoption and the Affordable Care Act/increasing legislation.

When asked about their top focus areas for the next three to five years, physicians cite increasing their practice’s efficiency (48 percent), exploring different business models such as mergers, becoming part of a hospital system or patient-centered medical homes (34 percent) and adopting technology to improve clinical decision making or support evidence-based decision making (31 percent).

For those of us in the revenue cycle management field, the first item is key: increasing a practice’s efficiency.

This is something we have always encouraged, and continue to do so. Here are some things you should consider in terms of making your practice more efficient:

1. Make sure you’re getting paid for all of your care. I recently heard of a practice that hadn’t looked at their missed encounter reports for a year. When the reports were reviewed, the practice discovered that they had 15 missed encounter reports for just one code. That meant thousands of dollars of revenue lost! Don’t let this happen to your practice—missed encounter and other reports should be reviewed on a regular basis—weekly reviews are recommended.

2. Are you maximizing your schedule? Look at your no-show rate, and if you have a no-show rate of 25%, you should be double-booking 1 of 4 appointments. If you don’t, you could be losing up to $1.2 million per year, according to practice management consultant Rochelle Glassman. You should also keep a waiting list as many dentists do, says Glassman. That way when your schedule opens up, your staff can fill it quickly with patients who want to be seen—and will rarely be no-shows.

3. Are you expanding your schedule? As we mentioned in a recent blog post entitled Physicians: Are You Prepared to Compete with Retail Clinics?,  you need to be aware that your competition now includes the Minute Clinics and Urgent Care Centers opening on nearly every corner. These centers are popular because many patients are no longer comfortable taking time off work, or they want to get help for their screaming baby first thing with a walk-in or same-day appointment. In order to compete, you need to take two steps according to Glassman:

A. Offer expanded hours before and after your current normal office hours, on Saturdays and during the lunch hours. You don’t have to cover these hours yourself; consider bringing on a part-time physician or non-physician provider to see these patients.

B. Review your schedule and arrange it to offer walk-in and same-day appointments. How can you do this while double-booking? Set specific times, and use your wait list to fill the appointments if needed. Don’t lose your long-time and new patients to the retail clinics.

4. Consider how you’re using your office space. Are you using valuable office footage for administrative functions when you could be using it to see patients? Functions like medical record storage and medical billing do not need to—and shouldn’t be—housed in your office when that office space could be generating revenue.

5. Is your medical billing team the right one for your practice today? The medical field is changing rapidly, and methods that once worked are no longer optimal for today’s medical practices. Hiring a front office person and teaching her to handle your medical billing is no longer sufficient with today’s more stringent—and complicated—requirements. Similarly, a one-person medical billing company is no longer the best choice to insure you are receiving maximum reimbursement.

In these challenging times, you need to choose the best, most cost-efficient means for insuring your practice profitability. That means the right medical billing team, and with the challenging reimbursement environment today, you need a top-notch team.

That’s why you should talk to a nationwide medical billing company with offices across the country. Medical-Billing.com is proud to say that we have experienced teams in cities across the country, providing a depth of experience and resources unmatched by most internal billing teams or medical billing companies.

To find out how we can help you improve your practice profitability, contact us today at 800-966-9270 or by email at Sales@Medical-Billing.com.

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