Reading Time: 5 minutesWith the government soon making it mandatory to file claims electronically, what will you do without a computer? You’re already being penalized if you send Medicare claims on paper and this will continue on all forms of insurance.
Believe it or not, you are the CEO of a company. As the owner and CEO, you have the ultimate responsibility in how successful your company (practice) is going to be. Does this mean you have to be aware of every detail that happens on a daily basis? NO! But it is your responsibility to establish the proper people and equipment to ensure a smooth daily operation.
One of the most important elements of success is your staff. If you hire minimum wage employees, you will mostly get untrained minimum wage productivity from them. Staff can have a maximum effect on your patientsgood or bad. Your staff also has the same effect on insurance companies, attorneys and your colleagues based on the professionalism of their behavior and all the dreaded paperwork that flows from your office. Remember, all that dreaded paperwork has your name on it.
In the corporate world, we live by the formula Efficiency + Productivity = Cash Flow. This is the same formula you must live by when running your practice. Can you still run an efficient office without a computer? That’s borderline questionable. Can you be productive without a computer? Absolutely not. Sure you can still hand write or type HCFA forms. You can use handwritten walkout receipts. You can have a calculator on the desk to figure out patient/insurance responsibility. And, you can use the appointment book to track who is scheduled to come in and who has cancelled.
Realistically, have you considered the exorbitant amount of time it will take your staff to do this? And, folks, this is just the beginning of the duties you’re going to have your staff do. Oh, by the way, you are probably paying them an hourly wage. You could say, “I run a cash practice, I don’t have to worry about all of that.” What a wonderful dream. Even in a cash practice you have to track patients, services, payments, statistics, collections, inventory and payroll. If you believe you can do this as fast on a one-write system, you have never compared the speed and accuracy of a computer.
Now, with the government making it mandatory that all claims will be sent electronically in the very near future, what do you do without a computer? If you currently send Medicare forms on paper, you’re being penalized. This will continue on all forms of insurance.
In all cases, a computerized word processor is many times faster than using WitelOut® on a typewriter. Most word processors have spell-checkers and a thesaurus built in. Few typewriters do. Word processors give you the ability to set up form letters for fast, easy printing of numerous patient letters, birthday greetings and much more. With a typewriter you have to hand type each one separately. Just picture, if you wanted to send a letter to all of your female patients insured with XYZ insurance company, with a subluxation of the L-3-4, who live in the 34606 zip code, with a balance over $100 but less than $400; how long would it take your staff to look up the information and then type a letter to each one of them? With a computer and the right software, you are looking at less than two minutes to print the same information.
Now let’s paint another picture. Imagine going through each travel card or ledger card by trying to gather information for different types of reports. What reports, you ask? Let’s just pick a few. You need to know which patients came in, what services were performed, how much each patient paid for their service, how much you receivedin the form of insurance payments and what percentage of collections you received today.
The second report we need today is a deposit slip that balances with the first report that we will call a daysheet. Now give me a report on the statistics for the week and month, plus… an aged account statement, detailing the past 60 and 90 days only, with all insurance providers except your managed care insurance companies or your cash patients. Let’s try an easy one. Give me a list of all your patients who have Cigna as their insurance company. How long will it take your staff to give you a list of of these patients on a manual pull-a-file system? Here’s another easy one. Which of your patients have not been in your office in the past 60 days? Are you beginning to see the point? Since we touched on the ever-dreaded subject of managed care, let’s look at what it will take on a manual system to produce the reports needed, in addition to posting payments to every patient in that managed care organization. One area of managed care involves capitation. When you look at reports that must be generated and the payment received for your service, you’ll find out that the name should have two meanings. Capitation is different with each provider (insurance company) you deal with. Some plans will pay you a set dollar for every patient on their plan if they come in for a visit or not. Others will pay a predetermined amount for all patients on their plan only if they received treatment, and there are variations of these two. Can you imagine posting payments to those plans on a manual system? With a computer and a good software program, you can separate your patients into groups so the computer can find every patient assigned to a specific provider instantly and post payments according to their specifications immediately.
Then there are the reports capitation providers require. Some of them have 5 to 15 additional reports that must be filled out for every patient on every visit. How long will it take you to type out each one on a typewriter? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a computer that already has some, if not all of these reports built in, or allows you the capability to put these reports in, so all you have to do is tell the computer to print?
This is just a small portion of the workload a computer can handle while helping you run a successful practice. With health care changing daily, you must be able to stay current with it. A computer and the proper programs can keep you on a successful climb.
As the president of the company (your practice), you must keep an eye on the improvement or decline of your practice. Those doctors who want nothing to do with the normal daily flow of their practice are taking a major gamble on their livelihood. Leaders in the business world are constantly looking at reports and having meetings with department heads to ensure efficiency and productivity are staying ahead of the bottom line profit margin. It is the responsibility of those leaders to ensure that bottom line profitability is there. Don’t you agree, as the leader of your company, you should also keep track of your practice and profitability?s
As Vice President of HNA Computer Systems, Gary L. Grow, of Clearwater, Florida, has dealt with various products and has assisted and installed applications and hardware in hundreds of offices across the nation. A noted author and lecturer for individual offices and chiropractic colleges, Gary works in association with some of the largest management companies in the chiropractic profession. Gary has spent years enhancing and supporting the chiropractic profession and may be contacted at 1-800-966-1462.