Healthcare IT Is Only Important if You Want to Get Paid

June 18, 2018

Where practices lose time and resources, and how technology can help

Managing a private behavioral health practice involves making several important decisions that will determine its margins. Depending on the size of the practice, owners and managers must take certain things into account, such as facility costs, human resources, and technology solutions. For those operating on a tight budget, the utilization of manual effort in lieu of an automated healthcare IT solution to handle clinical and administrative tasks might seem like a tempting way to save money, but in doing so, practices end up subjecting themselves to inefficiency, waste, and lost time.

It is within these areas of indirect cost that the most significant erosion of the practice’s margins exist. The following are three examples of where practices unknowingly lose money.

Revenue cycle mishaps

According to an article written by Modern Healthcare, hospitals lose about $262 billion each year due to problems encountered during the claims process. When speaking strictly in terms of behavioral health, the figure is undoubtedly less, but denials are nonetheless a significant problem that affect the financial health of any practice, be it large or small.

Claims get denied for a variety of reasons, including clerical error and non-authorization of procedure, and in general, even the most disciplined practices will still encounter the occasional denial from time to time. Practices wanting to improve their margins will need to ensure their revenue cycles are supported by software. Not only does software reduce human error and automate several aspects of the billing process, it also provides powerful tools for checking patient eligibility, tracking pending transactions, and creating fee schedules.

To learn more about why claims get denied, click here to visit our blog post “Why Your Claims Get Rejected”.

Lost time

Time is the most valuable commodity within the private behavioral health practice. Practices that are using paper or an underperforming EHR solution can expect their providers to get tied up in administrative and clinical processes that could easily be handled through software automation.

The extra ten or fifteen minutes per patient that a good EHR frees up might seem like a trifle, but those minutes translate to close to an hour each day—time that could be otherwise spent bringing value to the practice. These lost opportunities are often regarded as the cost of doing business, but when considering how many hours could be saved over the course of an entire year, it becomes obvious how deeply workplace inefficiency cuts into the practice’s margins.

Audit woes

How accessible are the practice’s records, should auditors come knocking? Does the practice manage patient records using multiple, disparate systems, such as some combination of handwritten or printed notes and Word documents? How much of a disruption would an audit generate with respect to the overall productivity of the practice?

Audits are never fun, but they can be comfortably managed with the right solution in place. When supported by robust EHR technology, the laborious process of collecting and reconciling patient records becomes a matter of clicking and printing, as evidenced by this case study. Practices can get accomplished in a few days what used to take several weeks, and get back to focusing on care sooner.

In order to determine the best possible finance metrics, it is important for practices to base their decisions on a firm understanding of total cost of ownership. Opting out of a robust software solution might seem like a reasonable way to navigate tight budget constraints, but practices end up paying for it in different ways.

Interested in streamlining your workflows, improving your claim submission rates, and getting more of your time back? Valant can help! Click the button below to learn more!

Last Updated: June 14, 2018