If you work in healthcare, you already know the importance of a good workflow in the doctor’s office or clinic setting. But even good practices can get better. Here are 6 ways to run a more efficient medical practice and improve the overall care you provide.
1) Capture essential information during the appointment phone call.
Even before your patients arrive at the doctor’s office, be sure to collect the following:
- Patient’s name, date of birth, address, and phone numbers
- Insurance company information
- Primary care physician
- Reason for the visit
2) Verify insurance eligibility and determine the patient’s financial responsibility
This is a team effort where your eligibility team will need to verify the patient’s carrier, coverage, and authorization. You’ll need to update the information in your practice management system for existing patients, or enter in new patient information. You will need to deal with the insurance company and you may need to contact additional care providers. Once you understand the treatments, costs, and coverage, you can determine the patient’s financial responsibility, and send it off to billing or create a financial payment plan. You’ll also share billing information with your front office staff if they are required to accept payments.
3) Optimize the patient check in/out process
Regularly verify and update patient history, contact information, and insurance information for your existing patients. For new patients, create accounts with all important information and show them how to access and use the patient portal. It is wise to address alerts in your practice management system related to financial or insurance issues. Be sure to schedule your patient’s next appointment upon checkout. Lastly, confirm tests, procedures, referrals, and authorizations. These check in/out tasks set the stage for your workflow. The more care and attention you give them, the more smoothly everything in your office will run.
4) Delegate to medical assistants
It is helpful to physicians if some of their work is shifted to medical assistants. It saves the doctor time and the practice money. The medical assistant has several tasks they should perform before the doctor enters the room. These include:
- Set up the exam room prior to each visit
- Make sure equipment is available to print and fax prescriptions right from the exam room
- Verify the patient’s reason for coming in
- Take a detailed patient history
- Review and document current medications, allergies, and vital signs
- Review clinical alerts
- Review clinical protocols
- Document the tests and procedures
When the Medical Assistant completes these tasks before the doctor sees the patient, it saves time and keeps things flowing.
5) Streamline the physical visit
Once the Medial Assistant has performed their duties, the doctor will come in. They need to perform diagnostic tests and procedures according to clinical protocol. They can enter information into the Electronic Health Record system during the exam or immediately after. Some clinics even use speech recognition software to save an additional step.
6) Establish and follow a billing protocol
The medical billers should establish a procedure to submit claims daily. It is also important to post daily payments and bill balances to the insurer or patients. Don’t wait until the end of the month. Process claim denials with 72 hours. Keep them in your system or be sure to follow up. Lastly take a look at outstanding claims monthly and create plans for follow up.
Whether you currently work in healthcare or hope to soon, it pays to get career training. Check out the healthcare programs at Career Quest Learning Centers and fill out the form if you’d like to learn more.