Ideally, a medical clinic needs to efficiently track its revenue cycle from start to finish. In other words, ensuring the best possible management of all administrative and clinical functions that occur from the patient’s arrival until the moment they are billed for the services provided.
But it doesn’t always happen that way in real life. Due to several factors (an unorganized system or an unexpected increase in the number of patients in a given period, such as the flu season), clinics may struggle to manage their revenue cycle properly. When processes don’t run right from the start, accumulated errors can lead to billing problems, late payments, and other complications.
Today, technology helps organize and accelerate these processes, making them more practical to deal with. These changes can greatly improve the way your clinic handles payment issues.
Collect Patient Information Beforehand
You could avoid most billing issues by collecting pertinent information from the beginning. You need to create an organized system to collect all patients and insurance information before the appointment. This allows some time to reach out and ask questions, preventing a backlog in the system.
Recently, the National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM) published a report on best practices for collecting key patient data. The bottom line is, when registering new patients or updating old client records, you should collect data for medical records and meet financial requirements (insurance coverage, for example). Ideally, you should collect this before performing any medical procedures.
A 2020 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta demonstrated that U.S. consumers made 57 percent of their payments last year with debit, credit, and prepaid payment cards. Recent numbers also prove that Americans tend to pay 6 in 10 bills using methods that don’t require a paper check (automatically or online).
If you are a beginner in the digitization of processes, keep in mind that, more than ever, patients want everything digital or online. Either you implement technologies to modernize your procedures, or you’re out of the game. Digital systems simplify basic day-to-day operations, such as track patient records, send out billing reminders, etc. Adopt integrated systems to combine all parts of your clinic and share information such as patient medical history, accounting, billing, etc.
Utilize Revenue Cycle Management Software
After the patient finishes evaluations with a doctor, an entire work cycle begins to prepare the account. All health services the patient received must be translated into values and codes representing diagnoses and procedures. The insurance companies also need to receive claims for chargeable fees, and so on.
Revenue cycle management software is the best way to deal with all finance-related issues. A system like NextGen RCM software helps you maintain a steady stream of revenue in your clinic by monitoring medical billing processes, collecting and organizing payments, and tracking claims through its entire lifecycle (it even facilitates claim denials).
Hire an Accountant
This may sound extremely basic, but many small clinics still handle their own finances, trying to cut costs. But the financial health of your business can benefit from the presence of a hired accountant or even advice from a financial advisor.
In addition to conveying an image of security to your patients, having an accountant will be extremely valuable when preparing and filing taxes—an operation that tends to take up valuable time that many clinics don’t have. Accounting professionals will also help you avoid costly mistakes and identify unnecessary expenses. In the end, it can represent greater savings than trying to do it all on your own.
Financial Health is Also Important
The revenue cycle is everything that happens in your medical clinic, from the time the patient creates a record for a routine appointment to the payment process for the care or treatment provided. There are so many steps that errors can appear without proper management.
Every year, more and more clinics of all sizes and private practices invest in technologies to modernize and streamline these processes, avoiding mistakes and delays in the end. Considering the time you will save with the digitization of processes, the reduction of errors along the way, and the possibility of monitoring payments, the investment doesn’t take long to pay off. It’s beneficial for your business and your patients, who will feel more secure knowing they are receiving proper care and a proper billing process.