Communicating Your Medical Practice’s Way to Lower Financial Risks
No one outside the medical community truly understands or appreciates the financial risks of running a medical office or practice. Payment cycles, billing issues, and ongoing changes to Medicaid and Medicare mean you’re vulnerable to cash shortfalls, on-payments, and penalties that can seem out of your control.
Effective communication with your payments can help to mitigate the financial risks you face in a variety of direct and indirect ways. From setting expectations more clearly to providing more proactive follow through, here are four ways you can communicate your way to lower financial risks.
Make Medical Services More Efficiently Available
Patients often demand medical attention in excess of the limited resources you—and they—have available, and Medicare/Medicaid and insurance companies don’t always pick up the tab. Providing better and more efficient communication through answering services, phone triage, and outsourced appointment setting services can free up your own time and resources to focus on providing necessary medical care. Everyone gets the answers and attention they need without undue expense.
Clarify Out of Pocket Medical Expenses
The Affordable Care Act has expanded medical insurance cover for millions, as you’re no doubt aware, and while this is generally a good thing it also means there are millions of patients now undergoing a steep learning curve. It will be awhile before everyone fully understand their medical bills and the portions they’re responsible for, leaving it up to medical professionals to educate their patients if they want to receive payment. The better your communication capabilities, the faster and more certainly your payments will come in.
Better Medical Attention Through Accountable Care Organization Improvements
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are supposed to help providers and patients achieve better health outcomes at lower costs. Without any evidence that ACOs are meeting these goals and reducing overall healthcare costs while improving care, it’s time to step up the game. Post-discharge follow-up calls, appointment reminders, and other communication before and after in-office care can lead to shorter visits and better outcomes.
Automation and Other Medical Technologies
Again, the more efficiently you can allocate and employ your resources, the better the medical care you can provide. A variety of technologies have been introduced but under-used by the medical community, and an increased use of things like patient portals for accessing care recommendations can all for more comprehensive communication that eliminates the need for direct physician attention to a variety of minor questions and repeated instructions.