How Could EHR Systems Improve Practices’ Cash Flow
We all know that electronic health record (EHR) systems are valuable tools for storing and accessing information, but did you know that medical practices could use them for other functions?
They can. In fact, because of their versatility and compatibility, health care offices could use EHR software for many purposes.
EHR systems could help medical offices improve their cash flow and manage their revenue. People might think of medical practices in terms of the health conditions they treat, but they’re also businesses.
Medical professionals could use EHR systems to help with both–and much more.
Offer additional RCM assistance
One of the benefits of electronic health record (EHR) systems is that they’re not isolated tools.
Medical practices use EHRs for many functions, and they use them with other types of software. Many people have access to EHRs and what they can do.
In fact, they might ask for assistance to fully capitalize on their functions. Many EHR systems have prolonged customer support features. Many EHR and practice management (PM) systems have people they could call for assistance with technical issues or other matters.
One of these matters is revenue cycle management, or RCM. a process that manages and collects a medical practice’s bills.
PM and EHR systems may be affiliated with services that provide RCM, such as answering questions and advice about managing revenue. They may also hire and manage people who could help with billing-related processes.
Allow copayments (copays)
Other EHR-related tasks could help generate and track revenue.
RCM professionals could use information from EHRs and other data to simplify the billing process. They might use such information to verify whether patients have specific insurance plans and determine what the plans cover (and don’t cover).
During the verification processes, professionals could determine whether patients are responsible for any copayments (copays) for the goods or services your office has provided. If they are, offices could bill them for those copays and even collect those payments at that time.
Immediate payment means immediate revenue for your office. It prevents a lengthy claims process involving insurance companies and shortens or eliminates billing cycles that patients might miss, ignore, or forget.
Coordinate with billing software
But not all billing and payment processes happen on the spot, of course.
An effective EHR system allows medical practices to coordinate with systems that handle billing and other financial matters.
It provides detailed information about appointments, conditions, medications, and the chronologies surrounding them. By adding this information to bills and other financial documents, medical offices could create detailed, accurate bills.
Such bills could explain which specific services and goods the medical practice provided, when it provided them, and the conditions these treatment efforts addressed.
Seeing such detail, patients may be less likely to question their bills or delay paying them. The detail will also provide a record of the care they received that they could consult for future reference.
Use portals for billing purposes
Patients might access these bills on their online patient portals.
Using these portals for billing purposes is a natural fit. These portals include information from their electronic health records, so again, the information is accurate and up to date.
Medical offices might want to send these bills–and reminders about these bills through the portals. They also might want to send billing reminders through other forms of communication, such as email or text messages, to draw attention to the bills posted on the portal.
Once patients access their bills, they can also use the portals’ messaging features to ask their medical providers about them. They can also use portals and credit cards to pay what they owe.
Digital portals, then, might use EHR-based information to provide a one-stop shop for billing, or at least eliminate some of the steps of such procedures.
Affiliate with in-person and digital sales
Using EHR-based information to coordinate with other systems and procedures is especially useful if you sell goods related to your medical specialty.
If you’re an eye care provider, for instance, you might sell eyeglasses and contact lenses online through your website or in person at an onsite optical. Why not use your records to make these purchasing processes easy?
Your office’s electronic records will include the results of your patients’ appointments, descriptions of their eye conditions, and prescriptions. You could coordinate this information with your other software systems to help patients select their eyewear products, pay for them, and track their orders.
Employees, too, could use these systems to find and track information related to patients’ orders and health. If patients are purchasing new products, the systems could help ensure they use the correct prescriptions, or they might want to compare old prescriptions to new ones to monitor their eye health.
Coordinated software systems thus take the guesswork out of recordkeeping and purchasing processes.
Incorporate analytics to understand your patient base
That’s not to say all technology-based guessing is a bad thing, however.
Data found in EHRs could help medical practices make estimated guesses and projections that could improve their performance.
Your EHR contains a wealth of information about who your patients are, what they do, and what’s happening with their health and other aspects of your life. Analytic tools could organize this information to look for potentially helpful patterns.
Do patients who bought eyewear from you tend to have certain things in common (aside from vision that needs correcting)? If other patients share such traits, consider telling them about your optical services.
Or, maybe analysis will remind you that your practice serves many patients who are children or teenagers. Armed with this knowledge, you could carry eyewear and literature that targets people of those ages or patients that belong to other demographic groups.
Knowing your customers could help you address their needs. We understand patient and practice needs as well. Contact Eye Care Leaders to find ways to learn about, incorporating, and maximizing digital tools that could help you raise revenue without sacrificing patient care.
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