Medical billing, as essential as it may be, isn’t something that comes easily for many healthcare facilities. Despite its importance, medical billing can often result in errors and frustration. Although patient care is your organization’s primary concern, you still have a business to run, and implementing best practices in your medical billing department can help to ensure successful revenue cycle management. As told by Physicians Practice, “…almost 12 percent of physician net patient service revenue goes to pay for costs of ‘excessive administrative complexity.’ Interestingly, medical billing inefficiencies account for 74 percent of those costs.”
Translation: Employing RCM best practices can help your office increase efficiency and cut the costs associated with trying to get paid.
Here are a few best practices you’ll likely see in nearly any successful medical billing department:
You probably already know how important appointment reminders are to your business. They help to reduce the number of no-shows and keep revenue and schedules flowing properly. The same can be said for payment reminders. However, the way in which you word reminders can mean the difference between a bill paid and a bill tossed. Be empathetic in your reminders, acknowledge that you understand how busy your patients’ lives are, and be encouraging when you remind them that their payments are due.
Be sure to include contact information so your patients can easily access staff should they have questions or concerns. Unpaid bills often result from a lack of understanding about charges they received.
Consistent & Timely Follow-ups
Bills should be mailed regularly to avoid large time gaps. Timely follow-ups help to ensure patients are expecting the invoice, reducing the likelihood that any funds have been allocated elsewhere.
In a study conducted by Connance and summarized by Becker’s Hospital Review, data revealed “74 percent of satisfied patients paid their medical bills in full, compared to 33 percent of their lesser satisfied counterparts.” Of course, the majority of medical facilities believe they strive for optimal patient satisfaction on a daily basis, but some of those organizations might be surprised to find they’re falling short in the eyes of their patients.
Intending to do best by patients isn’t enough. In order to truly foster a certain level of trust and loyalty between the physicians, facility, staff, and patients, the need for planning and effort must be reinforced at all times. In fact, patient satisfaction employs its own set of best practices, which, when implemented properly, can facilitate healthier revenue cycle management:
- Communicate with patients during every interaction. This includes greeting them warmly, answering their questions, and explaining potential billing obligations in a clear and detailed way to avoid surprises down the road.
- Facilitate feedback from everyone involved, including patients, physicians, and staff. This will help you understand what’s working well and find opportunities to improve.
- Train staff initially and as part of ongoing efforts. Well-trained staff can quickly identify problems and have the tools necessary to find solutions.
To be successful, any business should be constantly on the lookout for best practices that can make operations more efficient. In the healthcare industry, medical billing is an essential part of the puzzle, and certain best practices are essential for ensuring a well-oiled revenue cycle management machine. Although some tactics will work better for some organizations than others, there will almost assuredly be a set of key elements that unite successful medical billing departments.