Virtual Reality Companies for Improved Pain Management

Firsthand Technology for relief of pain

Present chronic pain treatment primarily includes narcotics, the effectiveness of which is reduced over time. According to a variety of studies that were enlisted by Firsthand, virtual reality decreases the period of thinking about pain by 48%, whereas narcotics just by 10%. It’ll decrease the unpleasantness of severe pain by 38%, while this number is just 16% in the instance of opioids. In addition, the fun element of virtual reality isn’t comparable to that of painkillers: 983% boost in a “better feeling” vs. 33% reduction of joy when using narcotics.
The company based in San Francisco has been a portion of pioneering teams of researchers who’ve established the industry of virtual reality pain control and assisted in building the first virtual reality pain alleviation app, SnowWorld. Firsthand Technologies provide practical and affordable virtual reality hardware kits and their corresponding software, Cool! and Glow! Its first one will follow you on a path through changing seasons or a beautiful landscape, whereas the second allows you to draw amazing light creatures using your hands. The kits are available for single patients, and additionally for hospitals.

AppliedVR for decrease of pain in hospital settings

The start-up that was born out of Lieberman Research Worldwide, a global market research company, provides VR solutions particularly for hospitals. They perform clinical research around the effectiveness and usability of how virtual reality assists patients all throughout their healing journey, to better acquire, design, as well as make validated therapeutic virtual reality content more accessible at scale within medical settings.
They’ll brand themselves as a “Netflix” channel of validated therapeutic content. Top hospitals in virtual reality ongoing trials and research, like the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center within LA, Children Hospital in Boston or UCLA partnered up with appliedVR to test the advantages of the technology for instance in decreasing labor pain.

Leading Management Solutions is a healthcare management solutions company providing assistance and resources to healthcare management. Contact us today at (407) 674-1916 or visit www.lmshealthpro.com. to learn more.

About the Author:

Kristen Brady is the founder and owner of Kaboom Social Media, your social media marketing and content specialists! Follow her on Twitter: @kb54927

How Much is Your Untrained Employee Costing You?

Your medical practice is only as strong as its weakest link—employees who lack training and make your practice look unprofessional can negate all of the effort and hard work from the rest of your team. Lack of training causes low productivity, an unsafe work environment, and increased expenses. Frequent mistakes not only cause patient frustration, but also coworker frustration: the coworkers have to clean up the messes that untrained employees create. Untrained employees can lead to serious financial and legal consequences. For example, a survey showed that 44% of the participants admitted to having shared sensitive company information because they “wanted to bounce ideas off of people”; 30% did so because they “needed to vent”, and 29% stated that they “did not see anything wrong with it.” These statistics show just how risky it is to have an untrained employee who can easily commit HIPAA violations for which you will be held responsible. When patient PHI has been compromised, the practice can face overwhelming financial penalties—and can even face criminal charges, depending on the nature and severity of the violation. A recent study shows that security breaches cost the healthcare industry $5.6 billion annually. The OCR has capped the fine for a severe HIPAA violation with no intent to correct at an annual maximum of 1.5 million dollars; however, even a fraction of this amount can seriously impact the financial stability of any practice.

Aside from HIPAA violations, untrained employees can cost you in many other ways:

Accidents or injuries while on the job: not only can an untrained employee injure himself while working, and seek financial compensation from your practice, but they can also create risky situations for other employees or even patients. Furthermore, accidents can lead to broken equipment, wasted supplies, and many other negative consequences. All such adverse incidents must be remedied and documented by the practice manager.

Bad customer service: every employee represents your practice. If an untrained employee provides bad customer service, displays a negative attitude, or is unable to answer common patient questions, it makes your whole practice look unprofessional and can cost you patients. When patients leave your practice due to subpar customer service or unknowledgeable staff, more often than not they will let their frustration be known to their friends and family, on social media and on Google reviews—leading to you losing even more patients and credibility.

Not collecting enough money from patients: If your untrained employee is a receptionist who is scared to ask patients for their co-pays or unable to explain patient balances, you will lose a significant chunk of money that should have been collected at check-in. Patient responsibility amounts have been climbing, and are now at around 23% of all A/R—and these balances are the hardest to collect if not collected at the time of service. If your untrained employee is a biller who improperly verifies a patient’s insurance—or does not verify it at all—and the patient gets seen, the practice loses money on that patient, whether by not collecting any money at all or by spending time and resources collecting it.

Not billing properly: no matter how amazing your providers are, how friendly your front desk receptionist is, or how caring your nurses are, your practice will not be able to operate if your billing department is not bringing in the revenue that you have worked so hard for. For example, an MGMA survey shows that better performing practices in primary care have an average Days in A/R of 23.54 days, as opposed to other practices who average 39.56 days. If your untrained billing staff is not following up on claims efficiently, many of your claims run the chance of being denied for untimely filing—causing you to lose large amounts of money.

Additionally, more so than in any other field, employee mistakes in healthcare can be deadly. Medical errors have been found to be the third leading cause of death in the US, with over 250,000 deaths per year caused by such errors. Some of the most common mistakes made by untrained healthcare employees include medication errors, infection issues, and charting or documentation mistakes. As we all know in healthcare, if it was not documented, it didn’t happen. This mistake may seem minor and easy to correct—if caught. However, if an untrained nurse forgot to document an allergy that a patient had, and the patient had a severe allergic reaction to the course of treatment provided, your medical practice as well as the individual provider treating the patient is now at risk of a malpractice suit—which comes with attorney fees, incurred financial losses, a damaged reputation, and higher malpractice insurance premiums. And this is only one way in which a documentation error by an untrained employee can lead to dire consequences.

Each of your employees directly represents your practice. The costs of not training your employees are too high for this to not be a priority for you. If you do not already have one in place, implement an onboarding and training process for all new employees—a general one for all new employees which introduces them to your practice mission, vision, core values, and goals, as well as a role-specific training process for each new employee to learn the intricacies of the position for which he or she was hired. Ensure that your training does not stop at new employees: existing employees need continuous training as well. Find a way to make it fun as well as informative—no one wants to sit through the same boring training routine over and over again. Although a new onboarding and training process may take some time and manpower to develop, the benefits of having such a program in place will be worth the effort exponentially when every employee at your practice is knowledgeable, professional, and on board with your practice’s vision and goals.

For assistance in setting up your practice’s onboarding and training program, contact Leading Management Solutions to set up a free consultation.

About the Author:

Sonda Eunus is the Founder and CEO of Leading Management Solutions, a healthcare management consulting company (www.lmshealthpro.com.). Along with a team of experienced and knowledgeable consultants, she works with healthcare practice managers to improve practice operations, train employees, increase practice revenue, and much more. She holds a Masters in Healthcare Management and a BA in Psychology.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sonda-eunus-6895067b

Process Improvement for Increased Productivity in Healthcare

Practice managers in today’s healthcare environment in the United States are forced to work on a “putting out fires” basis as new changes, policies, and requirements shape our practice’s daily operations. With the shift from a fee for service to a value-based pay-for-performance healthcare payment model, practices are struggling to keep up with new requirements and quality measures while also maintaining a successfully operating and financially stable organization. However, practice managers and owners must ensure that they do not let the rapidly-changing healthcare landscape overwhelm them and lead them to overlook other equally important components of running a successful medical practice. In order to prevent this from happening, it is important to look at the processes that may be improved in a practice and to find potential ways to make those processes more efficient in order to free up more time and resources to keep up with new healthcare trends and requirements.

Some of the most common issues that may cost a practice unnecessary time and money, or even harm the practice’s reputation, follow:

1. Inefficient processes take up too much time and labor

It is very easy to get stuck in a process that may require unnecessary steps that could potentially be eliminated, just because that is how things have always been done. However, in order to maximize efficiency and productivity, it is important to look at your practice’s current processes to see if the same actions or tasks can be carried out quicker, in fewer steps, and with less employee labor involved. The Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) delivery of care model proposes a great way of reducing inefficient processes by conducting PDSA cycles – Plan, Do, Study, Act. Such cycles involve planning and trying out new ways of doing things for short periods of time, observing the results, and deciding whether or not the new process should be kept or modified.

2. Inappropriate billing processes lead to significant financial losses

Sometimes billing processes are set up erroneously from the start, and the practice loses or under-collects money for years before realizing the mistake. For example, is the correct code being billed for a certain procedure, or is there a more specific one which is reimbursed at a higher rate? It is also important for billing managers to be familiar with the reimbursement rates for the codes that they bill most frequently, and to keep track of any reimbursement rate changes. For example, Medicaid has multiple plans which set their own reimbursement rates, but they still need to follow Medicaid guidelines. Sometimes, Medicaid reimbursement rates will change but these plans will not follow suit as they should—this needs to be caught and addressed with each individual plan before losing out on large amounts of money and then embarking on long resubmission and appeals processes.

3. Outdated technology causes delays in operations and inefficient processes
Technology is evolving at such a rapid pace that it is impossible to keep track of all of the new advances. However, sometimes new technology is introduced which can greatly improve your practice’s current processes to speed them up and increase productivity. For example, is your practice still using a conventional fax machine and spending money on toner and paper? Have you considered using secure e-fax services or HIPAA-compliant emails? Does your check-in process take too long, backing up your physicians and slowing down your patient flow? Have you considered electronic kiosks which allow patients to check themselves in? Do your providers use apps on their phones such as the Physician’s Desk Reference or Drug Interaction Checker apps to speed up their patient care delivery? Have you activated your EMR’s mobile app on your providers’ phones so that they are able to resolve patient issues securely from their cell phones? These are only some of the ways that new technology and applications can be used to increase efficiency and productivity at your practice.

4. Hostile environment and employee dissatisfaction lead to increased staff turnover

Does your practice have a hostile work environment in which your employees are clearly dissatisfied and frustrated? If there is a high rate of employee turnover, you are losing significant amounts of time and money to hire and train new employees. Not only does each new employee take weeks to be fully trained, for which you are paying without getting an immediate return on your investment, but you are also investing your time in interviewing, hiring, filling out new hire paperwork, setting the employee up in the EMR system and payroll system, and other such tasks. Additionally, you are also using up the time of your other employees who will need to train the newbie—time for which you are paying which could be used to complete other tasks. Furthermore, frustrated employees who leave your practice can also bring even higher costs—they can bring forth frivolous lawsuits, file for unemployment, and defile your practice’s reputation by presenting it in a negative light to family, friends, and on social media and other internet platforms, costing you new patients and tarnishing your practice’s credibility.

These are just a few of the most common issues that medical practices face on a daily basis which can be resolved with some time and effort on the part of the practice administrator, practice owners, and employees. It is beneficial to form a core multi-disciplinary team that will drive the process improvement movement forward, and who will be able to speak for the various departments of your organization. For example, your team can consist of yourself, a physician who is invested in the practice’s success, your front office supervisor or receptionist, a nurse supervisor or lead nurse, a billing representative, and possibly a patient or two who have been coming to your practice for years and are interested in helping it improve and grow. Sometimes an outside consultant or partner may be beneficial to bring new perspectives and ideas from an outsider’s point of view. Once your core team is formed, it is important to set and maintain a regular meeting schedule. Ensure that meeting minutes are recorded, and that all of your team members’ ideas are considered. By setting forth an environment in which your team members are encouraged to brain storm and present ideas for improvement, you are creating employee buy-in and engagement. This will in turn make your team members excited about seeing the changes that you are making create a positive impact, and this excitement will be transferred to the rest of the employees. It is important that all of your employees, not just the core team, are aware of your improvement efforts, and on board with them. By letting all employees know that they are welcome to bring forth ideas for process improvement, you are creating an environment of open communication. Employees who feel that they are being listened to and that their opinion and ideas matter will always perform better than those who are simply following orders. Additionally, the employees who work in the trenches day in and day out are the best sources of information and patient feedback. Once you have created the right environment for process improvement and engaged your employees, you will be amazed to see just how much can be done to improve productivity, eliminate waste, and increase revenue.

 

Leading Management Solutions helps medical practice leaders identify ways to improve operations to increase revenue, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction. Learn more about us atwww.lmshealthpro.com.

About the Author:

Sonda Eunus is the Founder and CEO of Leading Management Solutions, a healthcare management consulting company (www.lmshealthpro.com). Along with a team of experienced and knowledgeable consultants, she works with healthcare practice managers to improve practice operations, train employees, increase practice revenue, and much more. She holds a Masters in Healthcare Management and a BA in Psychology.

 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sonda-eunus-6895067b

Lead As If All of Your Employees Are Volunteers

By Kristen Brady

The majority of companies aren’t startups, and even amongst the ones which are, most won’t have IPOs which make the founding talent rich. Many businesses just have staff, which it pays. Therefore, this vesting period often isn’t a problem. Talent, instead, is poached by social networks or recruiters or, heck, talent will take the initiative to discover something better. It’ll happen all year long, each year.

Guess what? As our economy picks up, this process too, will speed up.

Money always will be a factor for some individuals, and no matter what you attempt, some of the most talented performers are going to leave for a better offer financially. You probably can provide someone a 20 percent increase in pay to keep them; you more than likely can’t offer them a repeat amount of IPO riches.

 

However, for the majority of us, money only begins the conversation. It’ll absolutely get our attention. Offer someone too little, and they’ll take it as a slap in the face, or even that you are not serious. You will not get that initial interview.

However, there are so many more critical reasons to want to be employed with a company, and even more to remain with one that we have grown to love!

Team leaders, CEOs, and all people in between: if your employees do not love your company after 4 years of employment (or 4 months, or 4 quarters…), that is on you.

Does your company have the pick of the employee litter? Are your top employees dying to remain on board? If the answer is no, it is not that they are ungrateful, and it is not that your competition is luring them away. It is that, as a leader, you suck.

Act like every employee is a volunteer. Because basically, they are.

Leading Management Solutions is a healthcare management solutions company providing consulting and resources to healthcare managers. Contact us today at (407) 674-1916. Visit our website at www.lmshealthpro.com.

About the Author:

 

Kristen Brady is the founder and owner of Kaboom Social Media, your social media marketing and content specialists! Follow her on Twitter: @kb54927

Marketing Strategies for Healthcare Practices

Originally published on www.lmshealthpro.com.  By Sonda Eunus, MHA

It is not enough to provide excellent patient care and customer service when it comes to growing a new healthcare practice. Many marketing strategies exist, some that are very costly and some that are absolutely free, with many in between. Of course there are the ads in newspapers, magazines, and school yearbooks, or billboards that advertise your practice. Accepting more insurances, including Medicaid and Medicare will bring you a large amount of new patients. However, there are some other ways that are just as, if not more, effective at attracting new patients. I have outlined some of the most successful ones below.

 

Website with search engine optimization (SEO)/online presence/blog/social media—it goes without saying that most people today use the internet to find anything that they need. It is no different when a patient is looking for a healthcare practitioner for his or her ailments. Besides good word of mouth, your online presence will be your greatest generator of new patients. For this reason, it is important to invest some time and money into working with a professional web designer to develop a great website. Such a website should contain all of the main information about your practice, including your core values and mission and vision statements, pictures and short bios of all of your physicians or other healthcare providers, the services that you provide, the insurances and payment options that you accept, all location addresses, phone numbers, and fax numbers, etc. Ask your website developer about adding search engine optimization—the process of identifying widely searched-for key words and including them in your website for greater visibility on Google and other search engines. Search engine optimization is not a one-time process, but will need continuous up-keep in order to remain relevant on search engines. Professional SEO services exist to help you maintain your online presence.

 

Utilize your current patient base—your existing, satisfied patients can be a great source of new patients. Ask them to refer you to their family and friends. Some practices have utilized referral cards that the patients can give to potential new patients, with the practice’s address and phone number, as well as the hours of operation. Additionally, you can ask your current patients to share their great experience at your practice—by rating and reviewing you on Google, HealthGrades, Facebook, and many other online platforms. These ratings and reviews will go a long way when new potential patients are looking up your practice online. However, it is very important that you make your existing patients happy first, or they can write very bad reviews and ruin your reputation and online rating.

 

Create a two-way referral system—Form great relationships with other local non-competing healthcare providers, and establish a two-way referral system where you refer your patients to them and they refer theirs to you. You can do so by attending healthcare fairs and events in the community, personally going to these organizations and introducing yourself (a box of donuts wouldn’t hurt either!), or sending out an introductory brochure with your organization’s information as well as a short bio and your credentials.

 

Make yourself a source of knowledge—write articles, speak at health fairs and other local events, contact and participate in special interest groups, and inform the public about various health issues. Post all speaking events or written articles on your social media pages and on your website. Some practices implement monthly newsletters, or start a blog that is very informative and relevant to patients and their families. This will make you an expert in your field, and when a patient needs to find a new physician or healthcare practitioner, he or she will think of you first.

 

Offer extended hours and same-day appointments—most patients, work, go to school, run errands, and do a million other things which may make it hard for them to make it in for appointments during regular business hours. Some practices have found it very beneficial to offer extended hours such as early mornings before work, late evenings, and weekend hours. Additionally, it is a good idea to block off some appointment slots until the morning of, so that sick patients can get seen on the same day instead of waiting or having to go to the ER.

 

These are some ways that healthcare practices are able to attract new patients. A lot of them may be more beneficial than traditional marketing such as billboards or newspapers, and are also less costly. Additionally, you are becoming more of a resource to your patients, and are creating more credibility for your organization. Most importantly, remember to provide great patient care by knowledgeable and well-trained staff, and cultivate a culture of positivity and enthusiasm in your practice, which your patients will pick up on and appreciate. With happy patients come referrals and great testimonials, and with those come more patients!

 

Leading Management Solutions helps medical practice leaders identify ways to improve operations to increase revenue, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction. Learn more about us at www.lmshealthpro.com.

About the Author:

Sonda Eunus is the Founder and CEO of Leading Management Solutions, a healthcare management consulting company (www.lmshealthpro.com). Along with a team of experienced and knowledgeable consultants, she works with healthcare practice managers to improve practice operations, train employees, increase practice revenue, and much more. She holds a Masters in Healthcare Management and a BA in Psychology.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sonda-eunus-6895067b

 

 

 

Stolen Patient Records: Your Next Medical PR tragedy

Originally published on March 12, 2017 atwww.lmshealthpro.com.
By Kristen Brady

Cybersecurity specialists warn that EHRs (electronic health records) include an appealing target for hackers for many reasons:
The healthcare sector is comparatively fresh to digital data storage. More youthful electronic medical records (EMR’s) installations are defense-minded or less secure.
This sector is more fragmented than other ones, like banking. Plus, health information is more vulnerable. It’s shared by numerous offices and providers, support and service companies, as well as individuals.
On the black market, personal identifier information is valuable. Stolen credit cards may be canceled. However, Social Security numbers, names, and similar data may be repeatedly used to obtain loans or commit additional fraudulent offenses.

Preparing for pending medical PR messes

There isn’t any “good news” part to being the victim of ransom and/or identity theft. Statistics report that it is likely to occur to you. Use some time to get yourself ready ahead of time for how to deal with the public relations, marketing, as well as patient experience part of “bad news.” Here are a few steps you can take:
Make a strategy which includes your whole company. Realize that it is a looming crisis which deserves the attention and time of top management, as well as every department.
Offer maximum disclosure along with minimum delay. Allow the whole organization and public to know the pertinent and timely information.
You should direct news media contacts to designated spokespersons. Always be responsive and forthright, yet coordinate precisely who speaks for the company.
Use additional communication techniques to educate patients, the community and all stakeholders. Do not rely on outside news media to “spread the word” to the general public.
Be consistent and regular with updates and news. Nobody enjoys “bad news.” However, the public has an appreciation for truthful distribution of critical details and news.

Leading Management Solutions offers public relations and event planning according to a practice’s budget. Some of the services we offer include:
Development and assistance with implementation of marketing strategies
Development of company awareness and recognition in the community
Participation and company representation in local events
Assistance with company event planning, such as Grand Openings, Meet the Docs, and Patient Appreciation events

Contact us today for more information at (407) 674-1916.

Leading Management Solutions helps medical practice leaders identify ways to improve operations to increase revenue, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction. Learn more about us at www.lmshealthpro.com.

About the Author:

Kristen Brady is the founder and owner of Kaboom Social Media, your social media marketing and content specialists! Follow her on Twitter: @kb54927

Healthcare Marketing Trends for 2017 – Part 1

Originally published on March 5, 2017 at www.lmshealthpro.com.

By Kristen Brady

As you glare ahead and make your marketing plans for your healthcare practice, below are trends to take into consideration for 2017:

In 2017, social messaging apps are increasingly becoming marketing platforms

Twitter, Facebook and the additional big-names still are great social hangouts. However, what is increasing in popular usage are social messaging apps, like WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat and other ones. As these have in China and other places, they’re quickly evolving to multi-purpose platforms. Relationships and conversations with customers in real time are the traditional core of messaging. Learn to expect new marketing and advertising possibilities to come on the scene as chat apps continuously increase.

Smarter content will win patients

The trend is presenting authoritative, share-worthy and interesting content. The Web is marketing’s front door in healthcare. Patients—currently responsible for a share of medical costs—browse the Internet for information that is relevant and valuable. Amidst growing competition for a reader’s attention, content today has to be reliable, social-sharable and fresh to build trust and earn respect.

Individualize; personalize

Today, marketing generating systems are more advanced. The audience/public also has become resistant to broad brush, old-style methods of advertising. Marketing methods of a contemporary nature identify user interests and produce relevant, personalized and timely content upon a one-to-one basis. For example, retargeting, displays advertisements to people who indicate a curiosity in your content or website. As automation of digital marketing creates a user profile, personalized and relevant messaging is more attention grabbing and delivers greater response and interest.

Optimize for the new universal standard – mobile

Within the United States, 4 out of 5 Americans use and own a smartphone. Tablets, desktops and laptops still are commonplace. However, a person likely will connect first with a smartphone. The capability of sending and receiving email, do instant online research, and make connections online is ever present. Healthcare marketing must first consider the mobile screen, and budget for, as well as adapt that message to additional choices.

Marketing that is location based

Smartphones present marketers the capability of targeting and reaching an audience/patient by their location and by niche. For instance, one strategy will use a device’s location to alert a patient of facilities nearby. Furthermore, location-based marketing detects and adapts to the personal and social preferences of an audience.

For more details contact Leading Management Solutions at (407) 674-1916.

Leading Management Solutions helps medical practice leaders identify ways to improve operations to increase revenue, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction. Learn more about us at www.lmshealthpro.com.

About the Author:

Kristen Brady is the founder and owner of Kaboom Social Media, your social media marketing and content specialists! Follow her on Twitter: @kb54927

How to Improve Productivity in Healthcare

Originally published on February 28, 2017 at www.lmshealthpro.com.

By Kristen Brady

The movement from volume to value based care, as well as alternative payment models are going to require institutions to discover new methods of increasing productivity.
“In healthcare today, an increase in productivity is a skill” writes Joe Flower in an article for Hospitals and Health Networks.

 

Even though it might not be simple to do more with less, it’s possible to discover methods of being more productive. Below are some of his recommendations:
If you change your structure of payment, be certain your productivity metric will match it. It’ll make it simpler to notice productivity problems. Flower utilizes the example of an institution which moves a pain office from a model that is fee-for-service to a per-employee-per-month agreement for a warehousing business. If the institution performs an MRI on all patients, it’ll raise costs and lower productivity.
Redesign all EHRs to reflect clinical workflow. Many systems are not built around patient needs or clinician workflow. The poor interface and poor structure causes productivity problems.
Be certain new technologies help with productivity. Newer technology, like robotics and artificial intelligence, actually can slow productivity if it makes clinicians adapt to this technology rather than being certain the technology meets the necessities of clinical workflow. However, if utilized in the right way, it may decrease administrative tasks and mistakes. Flower states great examples of technologies which have increased productivity are IBM Watson and UT MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Oncology Expert Advisor.
And last but not least, lobby against all increased regulations. It is hard for any institution to completely comply with all the regulations presently in place. Joe Flower advocates for providers to organize and lobby to persuade state and federal agencies and additional regulators to take data from a standardized information set derived right from each institution’s electronic records.

For more details contact Leading Management Solutions at (407) 674-1916.

Leading Management Solutions helps medical practice leaders identify ways to improve operations to increase revenue, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction. Learn more about us at www.lmshealthpro.com.

About the Author:

Kristen Brady is the founder and owner of Kaboom Social Media, your social media marketing and content specialists! Follow her on Twitter: @kb54927

Communicating with Patients for Increased Patient Collections

Originally published on February 8, 2017 by Orlando Medical News.
By Sonda Eunus, MHA

Collecting patient payments at the time of service is one of the most daunting tasks that a medical practice’s front office employees face on a daily basis. Asking for money may be uncomfortable for some employees, and even more so without the right training. Additionally, patients may get irritated when they are asked to make a payment, especially if they are not clear on why they need to pay. It is therefore important to communicate with the patient and inform them of the office policies for patient payments from their first visit to your clinic. Even prior to the patient’s first visit, the practice must make an effort to collect as much information as possible as far as this patient’s payment method. If the patient has insurance coverage, it is important to obtain the accurate information about their plan as well as their policy number. The patient must be informed that this information and the patient’s eligibility will be verified, and that if any issues arise the patient will be notified before they come in for their visit. When verifying coverage, whether through an electronic portal such as Availity, on individual insurance plan websites, or by calling the insurance carrier, it is important to note several pieces of information. First, verify whether or not the patient has met their plan’s deductible amount, or if there is a co-payment or co-insurance required. Additionally, check if the patient’s plan has assigned them to another physician, and if you will need to obtain an authorization to render services to this patient. Furthermore, if the patient is coming from another area, your practice may be out of network with their plan which will lead to denial of payment or a high patient share of cost.
Once the patient arrives for their first appointment, he or she should be given the office policies document to read, which should detail the patient payment and billing process in terms that are simple enough for the patient to understand. The patient should be asked to sign the office policy along with the rest of the new patient registration paperwork. This signed document should then be scanned and entered into the patient’s chart. This way, if the patient tries to dispute a bill or avoid a payment down the line, this document can be proof that they have previously acknowledged understanding of your practice’s patient billing policies. Here are some of the points that you may want to cover in the office policies for patients to be aware of from the start:
It is your responsibility to keep us updated with your correct insurance information. If the insurance information that you have provided us with is incorrect, you may be responsible for the payment of your visit.
You are expected to pay any co-pay, co-insurance, known non-covered services, and/or any deductible estimates at the time of service (this should also be displayed on a sign or plaque at your check-in window).
Patient balances that are not collected at check-in are billed immediately on receipt of your insurance plan’s payment and Explanation of Benefits. Your payment is due within ___ business days of your receipt of your statement. We will send a maximum of __ statements, and if payment is not made the account will be transferred to a Collections Agency and reported to credit bureaus.
If you are covered by a commercial insurance plan that we accept, we will file a claim to your insurance carrier. A commercial plan will always be primary to a government plan such as Medicare or Medicaid. The secondary insurance, if any, will be billed upon receipt of your primary insurance’s Explanation of Benefits and may pick up some or all of your share of cost as established by your primary insurance on a case by case basis.
Not all plans cover annual healthy (well) physicals, sports physicals, mental health visits, etc. (should be tailored to the specific specialty of your practice). If these services are not covered, you will be responsible for their payment. Take some time to familiarize yourself with your insurance plan and covered services.
It is your responsibility to know if a written referral or authorization is required to see specialists, or whether a preauthorization is required prior to a procedure. Please inform us if they are required.
If we are not contracted with your insurance plan, payment in full is expected from you at the time of visit. We will supply you with an invoice that you can submit to your insurance for possible reimbursement (you should have a Self Pay Schedule prominently displayed so that patients are aware of how much their visit will cost in advance).
We accept cash, all major credit and debit cards, or checks with a copy of a valid driver’s license. Bounced checks will incur a Bad Check fee of $___.
Sometimes patients will ask if they can make their payment at a later time after being seen (such as after they get their next paycheck). If your practice allows this, it is best to ask the patient to securely store a credit card number on file and to draft the payment on the day that they receive their paycheck. Assure the patient that this information will be safe and will be disposed of appropriately after the payment has been drafted. Depending on the relationship that you have with your patients, it is possible to make it common practice to keep credit cards on file for all future payments as well. It is important to have an authorization signed by the patient in the patient’s chart that allows the practice to draft payments automatically. If, however, you are not able to secure a credit card number for the payment, you should get the patient to sign a Financial Responsibility form which states that the patient acknowledges the balance and will make the payment by the agreed upon date. If the payment is not made by the patient before this date, the patient should receive a phone call from your office to collect the payment.
By ensuring that patients are aware of your practice’s billing and collection policies in advance, you can significantly increase your patient payment collection rate. Your front office and billing employees should be adequately trained and knowledgeable enough to clearly explain these policies to new and existing patients. Additionally, these employees must be trained on how to ask for payment prior to checking the patient in for their appointment, both for time of service collections as well as for previous account balances. They should be prepared to answer questions about what the payment is for, as well as explain previous balances. With improved communication between your practice and its patients, as well as appropriate staff training on patient payment collections, your practice will be able to greatly improve your patient payment collection rate as well as eliminate any patient confusion or conflicts that may arise in the future.

Leading Management Solutions helps medical practice leaders identify ways to improve operations to increase revenue, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction. Learn more about us at www.lmshealthpro.com.

About the Author:

Sonda Eunus is the Founder and CEO of Leading Management Solutions, a healthcare management consulting company (www.lmshealthpro.com). Along with a team of experienced and knowledgeable consultants, she works with healthcare practice managers to improve practice operations, train employees, increase practice revenue, and much more. She holds a Masters in Healthcare Management and a BA in Psychology.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sonda-eunus-6895067b

Different Leadership Styles in the Workplace

Originally posted on January 24, 2017 at www.lmshealthpro.com.
By Anita Haridat, Ph. D

Previously, we have learned about various learning styles and the different personality traits that are often correlated with those styles. However, what about your leadership styles? While there are both advantages and disadvantages that may exist among each category, the goals and the overall culture may determine the best factors to take into consideration. Here are the most common styles of leadership:

Laissez- Faire

For leaders who follow laissez-faire, there is a lack of supervision that is granted to employees. With this “hands off” approach, while there are some people who thrive in an environment where they do not have to answer to others, this may hinder business processes if there is no supervision efforts created. Examples of Laissez-Faire leaders include Steve Jobs, Ronald Reagan and Warren Buffet.

Pros: If team members are highly skilled, there is an ability to have an increase in passion along with intrinsic motivation.

Cons: Poorly defined roles, limited sense of cohesiveness

Personality traits that pertain to Laissez-Faire leadership: open to new experiences, extraverted, agreeable

Democratic or Participative

With this leadership style, there is an ability for team members to give their opinions in a proper manner, but there are also applicable leaders who make the final decisions. This type of leadership is beneficial because there is a strong chance to boost the morale of employees since their beliefs actually matter. Furthermore, if there are changes that should be made within a business, the leadership takes the time to assist the employees by implementing applicable protocols. Examples of democratic/participative leaders include the following: John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln.

Pros: Most businesses can adhere to democratic/participative tactics, promotes creativity, helps to build strong teams

Cons: Time consuming to process ideas

Personality traits that pertain to Democratic/Participative leadership: agreeable, extraverted

Autocratic

This type of leadership is also known as authoritarian. One individual tends to have complete control over a business or an organization and there tends to be very limited input from the other employees. The decisions are often made based on the ideas and the different parameters that have been researched by the leader. In essence, there is complete control over the team members. Examples of autocratic leaders include: Genghis Khan and Queen Elizabeth I

Pros: decisions can be made in a rapid manner, employees have the ability to focus solely on the tasks that they have been designated, organization levels are high

Cons: Limited sense of motivation within the environment, limited morale, sense of dissatisfaction

Personality traits that pertain to autocratic leadership: neurotic and conscientious

 

Leading Management Solutions helps medical practice leaders identify ways to improve operations to increase revenue, employee engagement, and patient satisfaction. Learn more about us at www.lmshealthpro.com.

About the Author:

Anita Haridat has her Ph.D in healthcare/business administration and her master’s degree in clinical nutrition. She has several publications in sources such as EGO Magazine, Natural Awakenings Magazine, Syosset Patch, Our USA Magazine and many more. Her passion for health and wellness has created multiple stepping stones for paving the way of creating a positive well being. Her first book can be found here:

A Ph.D Takes Your B.S to a Whole New Level: Survive Grad School with the Right Mentality