Sometimes a little spring cleaning is just what we need to start fresh — at home and at work. In addition to cleaning out that junk drawer in your desk (we all have one!), how about doing some spring cleaning with your billing system?
Sprucing up your billing processes could help you boost efficiency, get paid faster, and increase profitability. These steps will help you get started.
Check your registration process
A clean registration leads to clean claims. That’s because 60% of all information on a claim form is gathered at registration. So if anything is omitted, given incorrectly by the patient, or entered incorrectly by the front desk, the next steps in the revenue cycle will ultimately fail.
Most registration errors occur because the process is simply too difficult. There are either too many forms to deal with or the language on the forms includes terms that are too confusing for the average patient (e.g., guarantor, subscriber, etc.).
The key for practices is to have a registration process that’s easy to understand and allows for fast and accurate recording of the information. Computer software is often an ideal solution. It may not eliminate errors altogether, but it can help spot issues sooner.
Audit your financial system
Are your claims being sent the way you need them to be sent? If not, work with your vendor to correct these issues.
Monitor your denials
The American Hospital Association found that 43% of hospitals have spent more than $10,000 in the first quarter of 2016 to manage claim denials. Twenty-six percent have invested over $26,000.
Monitor your denials and learn from them. Mining this information can be somewhat manual depending on your software, but it’s well worth the time.
Start small with your top five denial reason codes. How can you reduce occurrences of these denials? Is it educating the appropriate department or maybe even addressing an issue with your software?
In some cases, one payor stands out with more denials. In these instances, work with that individual payor to on ways to reduce those denials.
Involve the staff
Overall, make sure your processes are clear-cut and understood by the employees who use them. Creating affinity groups to educate and create processes across all departments can help. And don’t forget to ask the staff if a process could be more efficient. After all, they use it every day.
Offer ongoing training
Who’s keeping track of the ever-changing billing and payor updates? Who’s passing this information on to the people or departments affected? Regular training can help to make sure that the right people get the right information at the right time.
When planning your training, consider how members of your team want to receive the information. Different people have different learning styles. Some prefer one-on-one training, for instance, while others like group training. And some members of your team may prefer written information so they can review it more than once.
Finally, most people need to hear the same message several times before they retain it. Providing training and updates through a variety of methods can help you hit the various learning methods while also providing the repetition needed.
Make this an annual event
Of course, your billing system needs attention year-round. But planning an annual “spring cleaning” of your processes, forms, training and more can help you continue to build on system improvements over time.