Every year, the medical field continues to evolve through new technologies, marketing, and industry changes. Keeping your practice afloat amidst all these transformations takes hard work, particularly as the healthcare market becomes even more demanding. What’s the secret to success in 2019? We’ve put together several key areas that your practice should be preparing for in 2019 to improve your results and boost revenue.
Improving the Patient Experience
If you haven’t been taking steps to focus your practice on a patient-centered culture, it’s time to start doing so for 2019. Today, patients have more choices than ever, and they will leave for another practice if they’re not satisfied with their experience. How do you improve the patient experience for the coming year?
- Improve Access – Patients want more control over their appointments today. Online scheduling tools make it possible for them to schedule and manage appointments and reduce the need for frustration and rescheduling. An automated appointment scheduling service can not only improve the overall management of the practice, but it enhances the level of service you’re able to offer patients.
- Offer Mobile Communication – Most patients prefer a physician that provides some type of mobile communication. Is your practice utilizing a Patient Portal System? If so, is it easy for patients to use? Is two-way texting available? These things can make your practice stand out.
- Provide 5-Star Treatment – Every patient should feel like they’re getting five-star treatment throughout every part of their experience. What can you improve to make their experience better? Is it wait times? Is it your reception practices? Is it better exam rooms? Remember, you want to make the experience memorable, not only so patients will return, but so they’ll also tell friends and family about your practice.
- Focus on Provider Communication – While every part of the patient experience is important, one of the most critical elements is provider communication. According to a “Your Voice Matters” study done in 2014 by the Washington Health Alliance, patient perception of provider communication was a significant driver of patient satisfaction.
Increase Your Focus on Branding
Consumers today make their choices based upon someone’s successful branding strategy. Even if they’re not aware of it, word-of-mouth marketing and subliminal suggestions are contagious. Since your medical practice is also a business, it also needs brand recognition to thrive.
Your practice’s brand is made up of everything patients experience, see, or hear in association with the practice. From the look of your website to in-office décor, it’s all a part of how patients subconsciously see your brand. If you’re not taking time to build a unique brand, it’s time to start doing so in 2019.
How can you get started? Start by figuring out how your practice is currently perceived by potential and current customers. Focus groups or surveys can offer insights. Some strategies you can use to build a buzz-worthy practice brand in the coming year include:
- Identify Your Practice’s Best Traits– Begin by coming up with your “claim to fame.” Whether it’s your cutting-edge technology, offering weekend appointments, or your experience.
- Focus on Patient Experience– Yes, branding actually all comes down to the patient’s experience. What are patients walking away with when they leave your office?
- Get Employees Engaged– Remember, all members of your practice need to reinforce the brand, and all employees who interact with patients have an impact.
- Keep the Brand Consistent– Consistency leads to faster and longer-lasting brand awareness. Everything, from your brochures to your practice website, need to have the same image and message to maximize impact.
Don’t Forget About Patient Reviews and Referrals
According to research published by BrightLocal, a whopping 91% of consumers in the 18- to 34-year-old range trust online reviews just as much as they do personal recommendations, and positive reviews make 68% of all consumers more likely to use a local business. This means you can’t afford to forget about patient reviews and referrals. Once again, this goes back to improving the patient experience, which can help you earn those 5-star reviews. Don’t be afraid to ask patients for reviews as well. A well-trained office team can encourage patients to leave reviews and refer family and friends to your practice.
Prevent the Most Common Medical Billing Denials
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the industry average for medical billing denials ranges between 5-10%, and some practices may see denial rates much higher. Reworking medical claims after a denial is costly, and even when denials are appealed, write-offs can still range between 1-5% of net patient revenue.
The good news – most medical billing denials can actually be avoided and taking measures to reduce denials can have a significant impact on your practice’s bottom line. Some of the most common reasons for denials include:
- Duplicate Service or Claim– Up to 32% of Medicare Part B claim denials are for duplicates.
- Missing Information– Just a single blank field on a claim form may result in a denial. Technical and demographic errors, which might be as simple as the failure to include a Social Security number, can be enough to trigger a rejection.
- Not Covered by Payer– Simply checking a patient’s current benefit plan can help practices prevent billing a payer for services they don’t cover.
- Limit for Filing Expired– Medical claims generally need to be submitted within a specific number of days after service. Implementing workflow practices that alert staff when time limits are approaching for claims may help.
It’s not only essential to prevent denials, but your practice must also learn to manage denials effectively to avoid problems with lost revenue. Unfortunately, many medical practices lack the staff capacity and technology to prevent and manage denials effectively. It’s even more difficult with the continually changing payer rules and regulations. Outsourcing medical billing and coding to experts like M-Scribe offers a sustainable, profitable alternative to taking on these tasks in-house. Contact us today to learn more about how M-Scribe can help your practice prepare for success and increased revenue in 2019.