Almost every healthcare system faces problems when it comes to the medical billing process, and billing errors account for approximately 7% of global health spending.
Incorrect patient information, late payments, and problems with incompatible coding systems can make medical billing tough to navigate.
To improve your cash flow, you’ll need to look at new ways to streamline your medical billing. The good news is making small changes can make a significant impact. You just need to know where to begin.
Keep reading this guide to learn five ways you can start streamlining your medical billing process today!
1. Use Medical Billing Software
Remember, times have changed, and you can’t expect to have a smooth billing process if you don’t have the right software in place.
Otherwise, you’ll end up with inefficient billing practices that take up too much of your time. You also won’t be able to track issues with rejected claims as easily.
A medical software platform will allow you to streamline all your billing tasks. You’ll be able to expedite your patient intake and even connect with electronic medical record systems to auto-populate claims.
You can find many medical billing, coding, and practice management solutions to meet your needs. Whether you need emergency medical specialists billing services or software like DrChrono for your physician’s office, you’ll find it completely changes your medical billing process for the better.
2. Outsource Your Medical Billing
If you have a smaller medical practice or cannot keep enough trained employees on staff, outsourcing your billing is a smart way to save money and time. You’ll be able to save money on salaries, training, software, and computer equipment.
Outsourcing your medical billing also gives you access to trained billing and coding specialists. These specialists keep up to date on the latest versions of ICD and are aware of coding changes. You won’t have to worry about the ever-changing coding regulations mucking up your billing process.
It also reduces the number of billing errors, claims denials, and allows you to focus more on patient care.
You’ll find medical billing companies provide a variety of services, such as:
- Verification of benefits
- Billing and claim submission
- Collecting patient payments
- Physician credentialing
- Accounts receivable management
- Insurance authorizations
- Charge entry
You’ll also get transparent monthly reporting which will give you a solid idea of your overall cash flow.
3. Always Verify Patient Information
This may seem obvious, but it’s all too easy to overlook the small details when your staff is rushing to check patients in for the day.
Remember, the medical billing process begins when a patient comes for an appointment. Incorrect basic information leads to putting the wrong information on a UB-04 form and is the most common reason for claim denials.
It’s essential to train your staff to take specific steps at each patient visit to verify this information. For example, don’t just ask a patient if their demographic information has changed. Instead, read their address and phone number back to them to verify it’s correct.
You’ll also need to verify patient health insurance at every visit. During each intake, ensure your staff asks patients to provide their insurance ID, policy number, and group number if they have one.
Finally, don’t forget to contact the insurer to verify the coverage and copays.
If you put these practices into place and ensure your staff complies, you’ll see your medical billing process run smoothly and without as many errors.
4. Implement a Patient Portal
You should also consider implementing a patient portal. Patient portals not only help your practice, but they also encourage patients to take an active role in their own healthcare.
A patient portal offers each patient access to medical records like:
- Insurance documents
- Post-op care instructions
- Any other documents you feel are important for them to access.
A patient portal allows patients to monitor their account balance and quickly submit online payments. They’ll also be able to view their monthly statements online and easily communicate with you if they encounter any problems.
5. Put a Process in Place for Rejected and Denied Claims
No matter how well you check your claims before filing them, you’ll still have denials and rejections to deal with. When this happens too frequently, it will begin to have a noticeable impact on your billing costs and overall cash flow.
Luckily, most of the time, handling rejected claims is relatively simple. You’ll need to look at the errors, correct them, and resubmit the claim.
However, denied claims are an entirely different ball game. When a claim is denied, insurance payers should provide an explanation of benefits (EOB). However, this doesn’t always happen, and you’re left in the dark.
Even when you do receive EOBs, you’re left with the burden of deciding to spend more money and time on appealing the claim.
Ultimately, if a denied claim is not accepted, the patient will have to foot the bill, leaving both your medical practice and the patient in a sticky situation.
So, you’ll need to figure out a process to put in place. This process could include hiring staff to work through these denied claims. You’ll need to ensure they look for things like coding issues, problems with late claim filing, or a lack of preauthorization.
You could also consider outsourcing this to a billing company. Many billing companies include denial management in their services, and usually, it’s well worth the cost.
Streamline Your Medical Billing Process Today
Now that you know the top five ways to streamline your medical billing process, you can implement them in your practice today.
Remember, medical billing is a complex process, and it may take time to see results. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try new and innovative ideas.
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