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Three Major Obstacles to Clinic Efficiency, and How to Overcome Them

Complicated clinic processes and documentation requirements can impede care delivery and prevent your organization from maximizing profitability. To help teams overcome these obstacles, we’ve compiled a list of solutions for the most common roadblocks to running an efficient practice.

Obstacle: Disjointed work

Each position, from billing to front desk to therapist should work together like a well-oiled machine to see each patient through their care cycle. But unfortunately, busy schedules and communication challenges can get in the way. Luckily, there are solutions to mitigating disjointed workflows.

Solution: Automate administrative tasks

One way to ensure there are no missed steps is to automate them. For example, if a therapist forgets to sign off on a claim, the billing department has to wait before they can proceed. Depending on the software you’ve chosen for your clinic, your system may have automated alerts and reminders which can be integrated into your workflow. Helpful automations for each team include:

  • Front Desk
    • Appointment reminders for patients
    • Online scheduling for patients with automated schedule syncing
    • Patient feedback requests
    • Electronic verification of benefits (eVOB) at check-in
  • Therapist
    • Requests for patient-reported outcomes
    • Home exercise program (HEP) notifications and tracking
    • Corrections queue for incomplete tasks with notifications for therapists
  • Billing
    • Requests for online patient payment
    • Review and submission of claims
    • Tracking of Therapy Threshold for Medicare patients
  • Clinic Operations
    • Updates for any Medicare or CCI changes

Solution: Encourage inter-staff communication

While your clinic likely has an email system, some team members may not be frequent email checkers. A simple solution is to try a staff-to-staff chat tool for quick and easy messaging. A chat function can simplify communications between team members, helping to streamline the transition between patients and make for speedier check-ins and check-outs.

Free chat solutions are available, but a HIPAA-compliant option is required if you plan to share patient information. Your EMR may have a chat solution with built-in security features.

Obstacle: Too much documentation but not enough time

Payer requirements and healthcare law complicate documentation, and therapists may need to spend hours after the clinic closes trying to catch up. Additionally, therapists can easily miss a sign-off which ends up creating roadblocks for other departments.

Here are two solutions to consider.

Solution: Document at the point of care

Annotation tools, such as built-in voice-to-text features, help therapists quickly and efficiently document while they’re in the room with their patient, reducing after-hours catch-up time. But voice-to-text isn’t the only tool that can help. Investigate if your EMR system also offers any of the following:

  • Mobile-friendly documentation capabilities: Document patient notes wherever, whenever, even on the exercise floor, using any device that is synced with your EMR.
  • Documentation templates: To avoid the endless click and scroll, utilize templates that account for payer requirements, like Medicare-specific documentation needs or specific documentation needed per injury type or cause, like work-related injuries.

Solution: Delegate tasks

Therapists can delegate tasks to focus on patient care. For example, the front desk or therapist aides can help collect, record, and track patient-reported outcomes. They can also assist in preparing equipment, following up with patients, and providing resources like HEPs to patients.

Obstacle: Inefficient billing practices

If documentation isn’t accurate, claims can be rejected. And while they can be re-submitted, it requires additional time that impacts your bottom line. Mistakes happen, but clinics with a high rate of rejections should evaluate their billing workflows. Here are two solutions for creating more efficient billing practices.

Solution: Customize templates & billing rules

Tracking the differences between payer requirements can be a headache. Fortunately, with the right billing software, there are automated workarounds.

  • Documentation templates: Create templates for each payer, plan of care, or injury so the right information is always captured. A common example is Medicare, which requires notation of medical necessity with a KX Modifier anytime a patient exceeds the Therapy Threshold. With a Medicare template, therapists will be notified to include the KX Modifier, ensuring an accurate claim.
  • Custom billing rules: Payer guidelines and state laws impact claim requirements, so customized billing rules help. Each time the billing team prepares a claim, the system automatically alerts users to information needed for that payer, patient, or claim.

Solution: Harness alerts and reports

There is often a lack of visibility into billing processes. So, when problems do arise, the billing team must be proactive in reaching out across departments for help.

However, with the right EMR, issues can be addressed before they get to the billing department. With automated alerts, missing or out-of-date information can easily be corrected if anyone views a patient’s chart. And with reports, non-billing staff can have a better understanding of what holds up claims and impacts clinic revenue. Some common reports include:

  • Rejected or Resubmitted claims rate
  • Claims created, on hold, or at payer
  • Unreleased copays
  • Patient statement history or collections needed
  • Accounts receivable reports

Don’t let the inefficiencies keep you down

Even the best teams can get caught up in inefficient workflows. But luckily, with the right software and practices in place, inefficiencies don’t have to be the norm. Clinicient’s Insight platform offers a suite of solutions that streamlines the full rehab business cycle, including EMR, billing, scheduling, and business analytics. With Insight, clinic teams can work smarter, not harder, and feel supported in providing quality patient care.

Want to see what Clinicient can do for your practice? Request a free, no-obligation online demo or call 877.252.4774 to learn more.

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