September 11, 2012 in Blog by support Team | Comments Off on Some Potential Effects on Pediatric Care due to September 11th, 2001
My 9th grade daughter asked me, as an assignment for school, where I was and what was my first reaction when I learned of the news related to the tragic events of 9-11-01. Most of us whom were adults at the time could describe the exact location and what we were doing when we learned this shocking news. The tragic events of this day changed many things in our country. What are some of the potential additional treatments in Pediatrics due to 9-11-01? The answer to this question is that it depends.
If you were a Pediatrician in New York, NY, you might have children that had early development of asthma. The Pediatrician would need to do a detailed history to see if there is any link to the events of 9-11-01. Where was this patient on 9-11-01? Where their parents exposed to the debris and air associated with 9-11-01? Asthma is not the only disease that the Pediatrician needs to complete a detailed history. Other potential diseases such as acid reflux, depression, anxiety, or sinus congestion might also might have a link.
Today is a day to remember the tragic events of that day as well as to remember our brave fire fighters, police officers, and other public servants that risked their lives to help others in a difficult situation. Although 9-11-01 was 11 years ago, the negative impact is still felt today.
All practices have accounts receivables. There is a wide distribution of how efficiently Pediatric practices manage the revenue cycle to minimize the amount of revenue in accounts receivable. A common measure in the industry for benchmarking how well a practice manages the revenue cycle is Accounts Receivable Days or more commonly known as AR Days. What are AR days? Let’s look at an example. If a practice has an average of $100,000 in gross charges a month and currently has $200,000 in accounts receivable (waiting to be paid by insurance companies and patients), the practice has approximately 60 AR Days. All practices should continue to optimize their processes and systems until the practice consistently operates at less than 30 AR days.
There are many inefficiencies that slow down the revenue cycle for practices. For instance, some practices leave a copy of all their charges each week for a biller to ‘pick up’ then send to the insurance company. The biller/billing company then needs to enter these charges in their system, review and send to the clearing house. In some cases, at least two weeks pass prior to the claim being uploaded to the insurance company. I am aware of some hospital systems that wait to the end of the month to send all claims – what a wasteful practice! A strong Pediatric Billing company measures, monitors and benchmarks these processes and looks for ways to improve the AR days for the practice. This usually requires best practice sharing and routine evaluation of pain points in the revenue cycle. This is difficult for an average biller of a practice to do successfully due to their time and focus need to focus on the daily management of claims. Pediatric practices are dependent on the practices systems, processes and back-end billing team to minimize the AR days for the practice.
June 1, 2012 in Billing and Collections by support Team | Comments Off on Using Lean Six Sigma to Optimize the Revenue Cycle in Pediatric Practices
I enjoyed meeting with clients and potential clients in their Pediatric office. Pediatricians have such a challenging and rewarding career to treat the children of our future. Children should not be treated medically as “small adults” and have special needs and treatments based on a variety of factors including family history, their environment, social economic status, etc. Similar to the special needs of treating children, Pediatric Practices have specific needs to optimize the operation from a revenue cycle perspective. Unfortunately, I have seen too many Pediatric Practices where the practice is operating at a level that reduces the effectiveness of the practice as well as reduces the revenue cycle for the practice. When I walk in these practices I see money flowing out the door without the partners/owners knowing (usually because they do not have time as well as the training to see these gaps as well as the complexity of the revenue cycle). In many of these practices the missing revenue is thousands of dollars a month! There are many tools to help practices optimize there effectiveness including LEAN Six Sigma.
Lean Six Sigma is a quality tool that gained much fame via manufacturing processes (e.g. Toyota – quality focus) before being leveraged in other areas such as business processes and systems. One of the principles of lean six Sigma is continuous improvement in the operation and processes. So how can Lean Six Sigma be leveraged related to Pediatric Practice Management? Some examples include:
• Using LEAN principles to improve the Pediatric Revenue Cycle each month by identifying billing processes on the front end and back end of the revenue cycle that slow down the payment stream to the practice. One objective measure is Accounts Receivable (AR) Days. The AR days are simply the amount of Revenue Outstanding to be collected for the practice divided by the average revenue collected per day. An optimal practice should be below 30 (which means about a month of Accounts Receivable is pending at any one time). We are able to move some practices into the low 20s.
• Holding a Kaizen event to evaluate the front end and back-end of the revenue cycle for your practice. By involving the appropriate individuals to this event, practices can identify ‘pain points’ of the revenue cycle and some potential solutions/ideas on how to improve this pain point.
• Request the physicians and providers in the practice to evaluate and determine the amount of time spent documenting in the EMR system as well as the quality of the clinical documentation. Usually, one physician leader from the practice should be the point for this effort. The time invested should be to identify the most common as well as least common clinical conditions in the office, the time for needed for the visit and charting the visit as well as the consistency of the clinical documentation.
These are a few examples of how a Pediatric Practice can apply LEAN six Sigma principles to improve the practice. For the practice to appropriately apply a recommended improvement, it is critical that the practice leverages a Pediatric Electronic Health Record and Practice Management system that can be customized for the practice (Make sure and speak with your E.M.R./practice management system vendor to discuss if/how the system can be modified/customized based on practice process flow changes). Using LEAN Six Sigma can help improve the operation, the revenue as well as improve patient and provider satisfaction.
April 13, 2012 in Blog by support Team | Comments Off on Continuity of Care in Pediatric Practices & the Link to Cloud-Based E.H.R. Systems
While at the pharmacy waiting for prescription Medication, I experienced the gap in knowledge by the average patient. One patient requested a medication to treat his wife’s pink eye from the pharmacist. When she explained that his wife will need an antibiotic he asked if he could use the antibiotic he was using to treat his ears. She explained to him that his wife needed a health care provider to exam her then based on the diagnosis, prescribe the appropriate medication for her red eyes. The husband was not coordinating care with his wife’s primary care physician.
Many in the health care system are missing the big picture when they do not call their primary care physician. In pediatrics, the outcome of the patient can be improved via strong continuity of care. If a patient is atopic and calls the office about a reaction to a medication, the pediatrician can use this information to appropriately manage the patient as well as record the incidence in the patient’s history. From the patient’s point of view, strong coordination with their pediatric office could reduce their burden and costs associated with using the Emergency Room. The pediatrician receives calls after office hours. The information available to the pediatrician should be able to be accessed easily at any time. Cloud-based Pediatric E.H.R. systems provide the best option for easy access to patient information on multiple devices in multiple locations…smart phones, IPads, lap tops, home computers. Who wants the burden of ‘dial in’ to the office server as well as maintaining constant security of the server?
As coordination of care continues to evolve as well as the option in wireless devices, Pediatricians can continue to reduce admin burden, costs and improve continuity of care with cloud-based E.H.R. Systems.