Thank you for joining us for part three of our series on how to manage cash flows and avoid selling out to the hospital. This time, we will talk about how to optimize revenue from encounters. As they say, knowing is half the battle. The other half is action. There are two basic strategies for maximizing your patient revenue. The first is to work harder.
Physicians are the bottleneck in a medical practice. Practices can increase their revenue by seeing more patients each day. How can we accomplish this when providers and staff are already worked to the bone? First, limit your time per encounter as much as possible.
Providers in high-volume practices see about 30 patients per day on average. Does the provider take too long seeing the patient? Do the patients insist on engaging in excessive chit-chat? If you can shave down encounter time and see one more level three patient per day, that will add something like $1000 to your bottom line each month, assuming you work five days a week. If you have multiple providers, your gain could be substantial.
In addition to reigning in long winded providers and patients, eliminate administrative tasks as much as possible. If your practice still uses paper charts, you are wasting time faxing, filing, printing, stapling, and shredding. Have you ever lost 10 or 15 minutes due to a misplaced chart? What about all the paperwork that requires duplicate data entry for patients’ demographic information? If you’re still using paper, switching to a certified electronic health record (EHR) will help automate your office, speeding up your workflows. It will also speed up records requests and help eliminate time-consuming pharmacy calls due to formulary issues.
A third method to reduce encounter time is delegation. Does your physician micro-manage the encounter by capturing everything themselves, from the vital signs, to the past medical history, chief complaint, and history of present illness? If so, they are wasting precious time doing the job of their medical assistant when they could be focusing on their core competency. Delegating data entry will go a long way towards speeding up encounters.
In addition to working “harder,” practices should learn how to work smarter. Coding at appropriate levels can increase revenue by about 20% annually. Many providers down code to stay off the audit radar, fearing that their documentation may not support higher levels. Switching to EHR makes it easier and faster to document for levels three, four, and five. Chances are you already doing the work to support higher levels, so don’t feel like you are gaming the system when you should legitimately code higher.
We hope you will join us next time when we discuss how to minimize your costs and expenses. There are many other ways to maximize your revenue; we have only scratched the surface. If you would like additional ideas, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com. Please visit us on the web for past issues of our cash flow series. Go to http://www.xlemr.com and click on news. We look forward to hearing from you soon.