In this article, we discuss important steps in modern medical practice management and how your practice can start implementing them.
Running a medical practice gets tougher every year. New technologies, regulations, reimbursement models— it never stops! Just keeping up day-to-day can seem impossible, let alone getting ahead of the curve. But modern medical practice management doesn't have to be a dream. In fact, with some practical steps, you can transition to a more streamlined, tech-enabled practice without losing your mind.
In this article, you'll learn some straightforward ways to evaluate where your practice currently stands, how to transition to new systems, how to engage patients better, how to automate workflows, as well as how to better prepare for the future.
Step 1: Evaluate Current Practices
The first step towards modern medical practice management is to carefully and thoroughly evaluate your existing systems and processes. Assessing your systems and processes will reveal where you have the biggest opportunities for improvement.
We suggest that you start by taking a close look at all of your practice management functions. Identify any workflows that involve manual processes that could benefit from automation. Next, examine your current practice management software. Determine whether your current solutions are outdated or could be reduced into a more integrated system. Determine whether your software has room for mobility, interoperability, and data sharing— just a few of the key features of modern solutions.
Another important part of the evaluation is getting insights from your medical staff. Include team members from front and back-office roles in the process. This will reveal any pain points they experience that your practice's leaders may not be aware of. Staff can also provide ideas for improvements based on feedback from your patients. Running a detailed current state assessment highlights problem areas and possibilities for improvement. This sets the stage for adopting more optimal systems and workflows.
Step 2: Embrace Digital Solutions
Once you have evaluated your practice's opportunities, it is time to consider adding digital practice management solutions. Adding digital solutions streamlines operations, reduces human errors, improves data accuracy, and sets your practice up for long-term success.
The Benefits of Digital Practice Management
One of the most pressing digital investments is electronic health records (EHR). Transitioning from paper to EHR integrates patient data across your practice to facilitate more coordinated care. While it may seem too difficult, going digital with patient records enhances care coordination while setting your practice up for growth and success.
While the transition will require an investment of time and resources, the long-term payoff makes it one of the most critical digital investments your practice can make.
Some key EHR benefits include:
- Speedy access to comprehensive patient medical history
- Improved clinical decision-making and care quality
- Increased patient participation in their health data
- Improved care coordination with other providers
- Complete reporting, analytics, as well as regulatory compliance
When looking for an EHR system, we recommend choosing an industry-leading EHR platform that allows you to customize your workflow needs. Prioritize cloud-based systems for accessibility across locations and devices.
The Critical Role of EHRs and Practice Management Software
Two foundational digital technologies are electronic health records (EHRs) and practice management software.
- EHRs are used to seamlessly organize patient information and enable smooth collaboration between healthcare providers. A few key features are charting, e-prescribing, lab integrations, etc.
- Modern medical practice management software handles scheduling, registration, billing, claims, reporting, patient communication, and more. Top solutions manage the entire revenue cycle.
When paired, EHR and modern medical practice management platforms provide the data hub that's needed to conduct efficient operations and make informed decisions. They should work seamlessly together through strong integration. By aligning your practice management software with today's best practices, you will have the tools needed to optimize clinical and financial outcomes. Your medical practice will also be leaner, more productive, and better positioned for the future.
Choose Solutions Aligned to Your Needs
With a long list of technology vendors in healthcare, you must choose solutions tailored to your practice's workflow needs, specialty, patient population, as well as long-term objectives. Given how quickly the healthcare industry undergoes changes, we recommend that you prioritize scalable and interoperable systems. Research options thoroughly before investing in a solution. In fact, going digital requires an upfront investment of time and money. However, the right platforms will rapidly deliver a positive ROI through improved productivity and better care at lower costs.
Step 3: Enhance Patient Engagement
In today's consumer-focused healthcare environment, actively engaging patients leads to better outcomes, improved retention, as well as higher satisfaction. Enhancing engagement is a top priority in modern medical practice management.
The Benefits of Improved Patient Engagement
When patients are more involved and invested in their health and care, your practice benefits tremendously. Higher engagement is also linked to:
- Better health outcomes and lower costs: Engaged patients are more likely to follow treatment plans, take preventative health measures, and properly manage chronic conditions. This supports wellness as well as reduces unnecessary utilization.
- Increased patient retention: Satisfied, engaged patients are also much less likely to switch to another provider. They feel connected to your practice and care team.
- Higher patient satisfaction: Patients want to feel empowered and heard. When they are active participants, they rate their overall care experience more positively.
- Improved reputation: Engaged patients are also more inclined to recommend your practice to friends and provide online reviews reflecting their satisfaction.
Leverage Portals and Telehealth to Improve Communication
- Patient portals allow self-scheduling, accessing records, messaging providers, paying bills, and more. This 24/7 connection also empowers patients to manage their care. Offer virtual portal training to improve usage.
- Telehealth options like video visits facilitate convenient consultations between in-person appointments. This strengthens the patient-provider connection.
Tips for Implementing Engagement Initiatives
Here are some best practices for activating successful patient engagement initiatives:
- Set engagement goals (i.e. targets for portal registration, telehealth utilization, and patient satisfaction scores)
- Design workflows with the patient experience in mind
- Discuss engagement opportunities with patients at all visits
- Collect patient feedback through the use of surveys and online reviews
- Share patient success stories on your website as well as social platforms (with their permission, of course)
Step 4: Automate Administrative Processes
Modern medical practice management relies heavily on automation to streamline administrative workflows. Automating manual tasks reduces errors, frees up staff time, speeds up processes, as well as enhances data accuracy.
Why Automate Administrative Workflows?
Automation provides practices with much-needed advantages, including:
- Reduced administrative labor costs and burdens
- Elimination of clerical errors that delay care and payment
- Quicker processing and turnaround times for bills, authorizations, and referrals
- Better data accuracy and insights through analytics
- Enhanced focus on patient care
Administrative automation also improves the workplace experience for staff by allowing them to focus on more rewarding responsibilities and less repetitive work.
Prioritize Automating Billing and Revenue Cycles
Two prime automation targets are billing processes and revenue cycle management (RCM). In fact, manual claim generation, submission, and follow-up are no longer efficient. Automated RCM provides real-time insight into rejections, denials, aging claims, and revenue. RCM automation can also be implemented in stages. Start with claim scrubbing and submission, then move on to payment posting, A/R follow-up, denial management, analytics, etc.
What Is Automation's Wide-Ranging Impact?
Practices can automate many workflows, including:
- Patient self-scheduling and registration
- Insurance verification and authorization
- Patient payment plans and collection follow-up
- Coding and clinical documentation
- Referral and care gap notifications
- Inventory management and supply reorders
Step 5: Stay Informed and Adapt
Modern medical practice management is an ongoing journey, not a one-time initiative. In fact, remaining flexible, educated, and responsive to industry evolution is critical for future success.
Monitor Trends and Regulations
Healthcare is constantly changing. Make it a priority to stay updated on trends, technologies, regulations, as well as best practices impacting practice management, including:
- Policy changes that impact telehealth
- Interoperability and Health Information Exchange mandates
- Patient engagement preferences and technologies
- Cybersecurity threats and solutions
- Revenue cycle management innovations
- Value-based reimbursement models like MIPS/MACRA
- Attend and be an active participant in conferences and industry groups
Commit to Continuous Training
It is also important to keep your staff trained on the latest systems and compliance protocols through proper training. Partner with vendors who can regularly provide software refreshers and customized guidance. In addition, encourage staff at all levels to pursue continuing education. Cross-train healthcare staff to build backup expertise across operational areas. It is also important to keep leaders educated on issues like new reimbursement models. It won't take long to see that an educated healthcare team is a strategic asset.
Knowing how quickly change can (and will) happen, a culture accepting of change is needed now, and will continue to be needed in the future. Encourage staff input on potential improvements. Offer expansive communication around new systems and processes before you begin an implementation. Furthermore, recognize those who welcome change and support others through it. The healthcare landscape will continue evolving quickly. So if your medical practice is made up of an informed, trained, and adaptable staff, you will be in a prime position to help your practice flourish in your community.
Embrace Modernization with BillFlash
Modern medical practice management involves evaluating current practices, embracing digital solutions, enhancing patient engagement, automating administrative processes, as well as staying informed about industry trends. By adopting these strategies, you're not just improving efficiency or enhancing patient care, you're reshaping the future of your medical practice. You're setting the stage for a healthcare system that's more responsive, more efficient, and more patient-centric.
Take the first step toward this exciting future today. Schedule a demo with BillFlash and explore modern solutions designed specifically for medical practices like yours.