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Doing More with Less: Tips for Gaining Workflow Benefits

Last week I had the pleasure of attending an industry event in Atlanta, where practice administrators and physicians gathered to discuss best practices and success stories for using clearinghouse services as well as other practice management technology. On Thursday afternoon I was able to sit in on a panel discussion where four speakers from four different practices talked specifically about their experiences with clearinghouses. During the session, each panelist focused on how their clearinghouse helped their practice enhance workflow and increase profitability.

During the hour long event, I noticed that all four of the panelists mentioned that they had leveraged elements of their clearinghouse to support growth without the need to hire additional staff. One person even mentioned that her practice now includes 28 physicians after merging with another group—but she works with the same six billers she worked with prior to the merger.

Throughout this event, I kept noticing some common best practice tips from each of the panelists. And I believe that every practice can implement these strategies in their organization too. Some of the best tips include:

  • Using eligibility verification, whether real-time or batch. While real-time eligibility provides maximum flexibility for verification as patients present, most of the panelists say they prefer the time savings of using batch eligibility. In their experience, staff find it more time-efficient to scrape the scheduler and run eligibility once, rather than check eligibility in real-time for each patient.
  • Taking advantage of compliance edits. One panelist noted that she works for an oncology practice where diagnosis codes are especially critical for billing chemotherapy drugs and other high-dollar cancer treatments. Her practice consistently uses a compliance edit feature from their clearinghouse to help ensure that any potential problems are identified on the front end, which prevents costly denials.
  • Comparing data. In addition to using compliance edits to prevent denials, the practices explained that they often analyze the reason why a claim was rejected by their clearinghouse. This helps the organizations prevent the issue from recurring.
  • Using Electronic Remittance Advice (ERA). Every one of the panelists uses ERA to help reduce the manual workload associated with remittance – one panelist even stated that the tool has allowed their organization to grow while reducing billing staff. Another person noted that direct ERA has halved the time it takes her staff to work remittance.
  • Benefiting from auto posting. Panelists all report a reduction in errors through automatic payment posting. Saving and tracking the data automatically, rather than manually, provides additional time-saving benefits for the organizations.
  • Communicating effectively. All of the panelists have a clearinghouse that provides intuitive and customizable graphs, charts, and other visual data representations which make it easier to communicate trends with providers and other stakeholders.

In the end, all agree that a few simple, best practice tricks help their practices track, trend, and manage revenue cycle data more effectively.