Medical billers do it all. They are the nucleus of a healthcare organization, constantly working and keeping things flowing through the revenue cycle. The goal of any medical biller is to be as efficient as possible to make sure the money keeps moving and organizations and patients are content. Medical billers are jack-of-all-trades, and along with all they do daily, they are still responsible for being productive and finding ways to increase productivity.
“Productivity is how to measure the output that comes from units of input if we put it in an economic context. Workplace productivity is an estimate of how efficiently organizations utilize their resources to accomplish business objectives.”
Being able to increase and improve productivity as a medical biller is crucial.
What can make things unproductive in the workplace?
Although there are various reasons as to why a medical biller may be less than effective at work, there are common reasons that pop up in the workplace more regularly.
Some of these include:
- Not having the most appropriate technology to work with
- Not having the most up-to-date codes
- Lack of communication and transparency among coworkers and supervisors
- Not automating the easy parts
- Errors resulting in improper payment
There are lots of other reasons why a workday may be unproductive. Internal and external factors also play a role. We can’t always control how our day-to-day flow is going to go; challenges will inevitably arise and we should be organized and proactive when they do.
What to do about it?
If you’re working with an organization and feel as if things could be more productive, on your end or just overall, there are things you can focus on to increase productivity.
1. Revamp your collection process
Part of the lack of production could be a possible weakness in your collection process. Medical billing experts recommend the following tips to freshen up your procedures to be more productive and land your goals.
- Stop billing
Excessive time and manual work is put forth to send out bills post-visit. Multiple statements need to be sent out time and money is spent on sending notices out via mail.
“The payment process is often the final and most influential point of contact between patients and their providers. It’s important to create a positive, convenient and efficient experience that helps patients feel comfortable, while also ensuring that your organization successfully collects.”
- Collect upfront
According to an analysis from athenahealth, providers typically collect only 12% of outstanding balances at the time of service. By getting as much as possible upfront limits the work and headache for everyone involved.
Do what you can to get the full payment—use your powers of persuasion and lay out the benefits of paying at the time of service.
- Collect respectfully
Being transparent, considerate, and empathetic will get you a long way with a patient.
Practice managers should consider the financial questions their patients are most likely to ask. Anticipating a patient’s concerns and then “proactively responding” clearly and concisely “is much better than leaving them in the dark, (athenahealth).
- Provide cost estimates
Cost estimation tools can improve the medical billing process by automatically calculating estimated charges for patients’ visits before they arrive. Not only does this help educate patients about their financial responsibility, but it also makes it easier for staff to ask for payment and give providers a better understanding of costs for the services they recommend, (Phreesia).
- Offer flexible payment options
Speaking about payment options upfront with patients is important, such as setting up automatic payments, keeping a card on file, putting money down and making smaller payments later, or offering other private ways to pay. Some individuals do not even know what their options are or might be too nervous to ask. Giving patients knowledge on the available options and working with them based on their financial situation should be well-received. Having this conversation will increase the likelihood of being more productive and receiving the payment.
- Automated E&B
Automating coverage verification can improve productivity and ensure that manual errors are eliminated and less paperwork is needed.
Overall, all of these actions will help the collection process be more productive. These will also increase patient loyalty and retention, which is the goal.
And speaking of automation…
2. Embrace automation
If most of your daily processes require you to work manually, you are doing it wrong. Automation of coding, data recording, pre-authorization, among other frequent tasks is available to make billers’ lives easier so that they can focus on tasks that require more critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
Below are examples of how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in medical billing.
And of course, there are numerous programs and apps available on the market that target organization, habit, goal-setting, and overall productivity.
3. Establish benchmarks and monitor progress
Medical billers need to know what they are working toward every day. Think about what short-term and long-term goals can be made to promote productivity. Are there areas of need that should be focused on hour by hour? What needs to happen by the end of the day to allow you to achieve your productivity goals?
Set specific, measurable, and realistic goals. Make them visible in your workspace. It is also important to celebrate your successes and keep on trying with the not-so-great days.
There are numerous ways to be more productive and have an efficient day in the world of medical billing. Reading articles such as this, having a conversation with coworkers on their thoughts, and learning from experience are the best ways to learn the art of productivity.