Securing revenue: Are Physician Practices Doomed to Administrative Burden?

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (AIM) found that physicians spend twice as much time on administrative tasks as they do on patient care. That is disturbing on many levels; it shows that burgeoning regulations are forcing physicians to become defacto accountants, billers, coders, and practice managers rather than the health care providers that are trained to be. IT also shows that patients are losing out on time with their physicians because of regulatory burdens.

The study reported in AIM analyzed 57 physicians practicing in four specialties in four different states. On office days these physicians spent 27 percent of their time on direct patient care and 49 percent of their time on administrative work. The looming question is this; how are physician practices to survive if they can’t spend time on the very thing that generates revenue – patient care?

Physicians rate the regulations they must operate under as “very” or “extremely” burdensome. The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) 2017 Regulatory Burden Survey showed that as medical groups strive to improve patient care while improving operational efficiency, nearly 50 percent are spending more than $40,000 per FTE physician, per year, to comply with federal regulations. Seemingly, everyone agrees that we have reached an untenable situation. Regulations aren’t going to be rescinded quickly if at all, so the only answer is to streamline the time it takes to comply with the regulations.

Ending the cycle

There are ways to reduce administrative time and increase the time spent on patient care. It requires practice systems that accurately and quickly capture charges to enhance revenue cycle management. Traditional, paper based practices result in waste and inefficiency. Every time paper is lost, revenue is lost right along with it. Competitive practices require a charge capture system with razor’s edge precision and streamlined functions.

Let’s talk charge capture

Rapid, accurate charge capture can avoid numerous paper-driven tasks and take the provider directly from patient care to charge capture to biller. What’s the benefit? Avoiding losses that can add up to more than $270,000 for larger group practices. That’s the amount that is estimated to be lost every year from missed charges when patient encounters are tracked by a paper trail. For practices that are constantly seeking new sources of income, that is money easily found and captured through the implementation of the right charge capture systems.

Let’s be clear, not every technology is good for healthcare. In fact many aren’t. Practices should avoid selecting what we like to call the “cart-before-the-horse” technologies. Those are the technologies that were developed for some other purpose and then they are scooped up and adapted for healthcare. It never works and that’s not what you want. You want technology that is developed with a street level, first hand knowledge of the complex machinations of practice management. You want the technologies that can quickly and seamlessly solve many challenges, including charge capture, billing, coding and revenue management.

Mobile patient tracking and charge capture puts you in the high speed lane to increased revenue. It enables you to enter charges through a mobile device immediately after seeing the patient and sync it with coders and billers. ICD-10 has ramped up the requirements for coding detail. Mobile charge capture also means the immediate capture of important care details that will avoid denied claims. When you use technology that ensures that patient encounters are captured accurately and submitted in a timely manner to coders and billers you increase revenue – it’s that simple.

It is possible to have HIPAA compliant, secure messaging and mobile upload of patient charges in the palm of your hand. It is possible to increase revenue, reduce headaches, enhance communications and relieve administrative time each day. That’s the win-win in the midst of a field filled with what can be crushing regulatory burdens.

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Growing physician trend: Simpler billing processes and no more paperwork

The U.S. healthcare systems have not been designed to make physician’s life easier. Years of training and abilities are being wasted while dealing with billing and paperwork as less time is dedicated to patients that truly deserve and need quality care. Practices and Hospitals are not spending enough time to improve operations.

placeit (3)Doctors now think differently than they did in the last decade. Most of them are now in favor of a single-payer healthcare, as published in a new survey from Merrit Hawkins. Medicare, for example, is a single-payer system in which the federal government pays the bills for those who qualify, but hospitals and other providers remain private. Despite the conflict of ideas about healthcare systems, the truth is that more physicians are now adapting better to changes and searching for less convoluted ways to deal with their billing processes.

The growing trend is that physicians want to spend more time taking care of the patients and to offer healthcare to as many people as possible. Today, less than half of the practicing physicians own their practices according to the American Medical Association, and they want less participation in who pays the bills. On top of that, studies have also shown that about a third of the physicians time is spent on administrative work. This clearly indicates the opinions of the majority to rely on one system to pay medical bills to make the process simpler and smoother.

Something has to change, and we are committed to making things easier. Designed by physicians and run by health information technology experts, maxRVU has been successfully implemented across the country. Click to learn more.

Chronic Disease Patients Need Better Shared Care Plans

maxRVUMore than half of American population, are affected by one or more chronic diseases. A patient with a chronic disease translates into one that will probably be visiting hospitals and doctors for several months or even years.
These patients will require the best quality treatments but also strong integration from all providers involved. Primary Care Physicians and Specialists must work together to achieve the best clinical outcomes. This integration has been called Shared Care. The use of Information Technology to potentiate Shared Care can come in handy.
A recent study published by Wim H van Harten, MD, PhD in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, reviewed the state-of-the-art regarding the effectiveness of IT-supported Shared Care interventions on the care of patients with chronic diseases: diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), (congestive) heart failure, cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension, asthma, or cancer.
In this study, they state that Shared Care supported by IT systems makes visits more efficient and improves clinical outcomes. Among other benefits, “Electronic health record use improved PCP visits and reduced rehospitalization; electronic platform use resulted in fewer readmissions and better clinical outcomes; and the use of electronic communication application using text-based information transfer between professionals had a positive effect on the number of PCPs contacting hospitals, PCPs’ satisfaction, and confidence.”
Better and continuous quality of patient care can be achieved. Referrals can be done easily and faster, physicians can take decisions based on reliable records and patient’s histories without worrying about missing information.
Most physicians have not developed tools for care plans given that they take great efforts and expenses. A lot of work still needs to be done before IT systems can be implemented nationwide, however, there is a huge need for robust care plans that can be available at any time since the first patient visit and not only when something has gone wrong.
More details about the study can be found here.