It’s commonplace to see staff and physicians hunched over their computer monitors squinting as they work. When you consider the amount of time each day that people are working on their computers, the benefit of alleviating eyestrain with larger monitors is clear. While many off-the-shelf computer bundles (CPU and monitor) purchased a few years ago came with relatively small monitors, perhaps 15 to 17 inches, much larger monitors can be purchased for very little – high quality 27-inch monitors currently run under $300! While we highly recommend at least 24-inch models wherever space allows, there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind. First and foremost, while nearly all monitors are plug-and-play making basic set-up a snap, it is still crucial to fine tune your graphics settings to optimize both the resolution and the type size – even though the maximum resolution (number of pixels, sharpness) of new monitors is high and the screens large, you may find that they type size is too small. Do not reduce the screen resolution to increase text size. It’s far preferable within Windows-based systems, to adjust through the control panel/display and adjust text size without sacrificing clarity and resolution. If your routinely use multiple pieces of software concurrently, it may well be worth exploring two-monitor configurations so that they can display more than one system at a time. Setting up a these systems, may require special hardware such as an additional video card, while it isn’t tremendously difficult, it is a task best left to professional. Monitor upgrades are a frequent recommendation in our practice assessments and I've never seen a single person that wasn't delighted to have more screen space. I trust that you’ll see the same gains in productivity that we've seen.
Google seems to change up the marketing and integration of its business listings offering about twice a year; the newest incarnation, "Google My Business," continues the search giant's efforts to better integrate its various directory, map and social tools for local businesses. Given that the change just happened a few days ago, we're still digging in to see if there is any significant impact on medical practices and their physician listings. So far, it all looks reasonably familiar, but the process for setting up listings is perhaps a bit more streamlined. If you've heard us speak about claiming your Google Places or Google+Local listings and haven't yet gotten started, head to www.google.com/mybusiness to get started -- the process hasn't changed much, and it is still pretty intuitive and easy to complete.
All Things Considered (NPR) has a great story that I think any doctor or healthcare professional will find worth a listen (~5min). Emergency physician Ryan McGarry talks about the new documentary film he directed called Code Black, which goes behind the scenes at always-busy LA County Hospital's ER. Click here to listen on the NPR site. McGarry speaks passionately about the changes he's seen in his time in the ER -- including the intrusion of regulations and record-keeping into the patient relationship. For more on the movie itself -- include release dates for various cities around the country -- visit the Code Black movie site.
Since April of this year, Microsoft has ceased to offer security updates for Windows XP which means that practices with even a single network-connected pc running Windows XP are violating HIPAA and ineligible for meaningful use. If any of your computers are using XP, you should move immediately to replace these computers – any hardware that came running XP is almost certainly underpowered to make upgrading software alone a worthwhile endeavor. Before you dismiss the urgency of this matter, consider that hackers often actively target non-supported operating systems because their vulnerabilities are easily revealed simply be looking to see what patches are being offered for supported systems. Once identified, these weaknesses are relatively easy to exploit, which potentially puts your entire network at risk. Costs of any security breach will certainly exceed the costs of buying and configuring a new pc, which is typically under $1,000.
If you weren't one of the 100 lucky winners of my medical billing service ebook, Get the Best From Your Medical Billing Service (Management Rx), you might be able to borrow it for free. If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow the ebook for free for up to a month. (If you're not yet a member but are thinking about it, click here for Amazon Prime Free 30-Day Trial-- once you sign up, you'll be able to borrow my ebook and loads of other interesting stuff (one at a time) as well.)
During our webinar with Kareo (@gokareo, #kareowebinar) today on choosing and managing a third-party medical billing service, one of our attendees commented that it seemed like we were predicting that billing professionals were going to lose their jobs in droves, thanks to the trend toward outsourcing medical billing. Nothing could be further from our view! If you're a medical biller currently working inside a practice, and you're wondering if the outsourcing trend is a negative for your career, our take at C&M is that the trend towards outsourcing medical billing (which itself is driven by two other key trends: increasing billing complexity and improvements in billing and EHR software) should mean more opportunity for you in the future. But you might need to expand your vision for how your career will unfold. As billing services proliferate -- and cloud-based tech companies like Kareo, eClinicalWorks, Athenahealth and others up the ante by creating their own services to take advantage of their integrated practice management and EHR platforms -- demand for experienced and knowledgeable billers will only increase. The key difference is that new jobs for billers are being created more quickly in billing services than in practices. While jobs inside practices may gradually become harder to come by, the growing market for outsourced medical billing services will not only maintain or even expand the total number of billing jobs available, there will be much more variety in the types of jobs, too. Billers will have the chance to work in organizations with other like-minded professionals, perhaps even specializing on a medical specialty or other billing niche if they are so inclined. And cloud-based tech platforms like Kareo's allow motivated and entrepreneurial billers to set up their own services much more quickly and easily than ever before -- and allow billers to offer great technology to their practice clients as well. We foresee a great future for medical billers -- with more options, whether as employees or business owners, and more career growth and flexibility in the future. It's a great time to be a medical billing professional!
Reminder: I'm presenting a free webinar this Wednesday, June 18 (10AM Pacific, 1PM Eastern) with Kareo, offering tips to maximize the benefit of outsourcing your medical billing . Whether you're already using a third party billing service or just considering switching to one, this webinar will provide you with ideas, insights and pitfalls gathered from Capko & Morgan's years of experience working with practices that have chosen the outsourcing route. PLUS, best of all, 100 lucky attendees will get a free copy of my ebook on the subject, Get the Best From Your Medical Billing Service (Management Rx). Woohoo! Hope you will join me next week! Click here for the sign-up page on Kareo.com.
A few months ago, when the idea of raising the federal minimum wage over $10/hour first became a hot topic in the news (with some federal workers even getting a minimum wage bump), we worked with an internal medicine practice in a rural area that had many employees earning around that proposed new figure (or even a little less). Although the news really had no effect whatsoever on the practice's compensation structure or even the local economy (where $10/hour was still well above market rate), it still caught the attention of employees, and had started to eat at their morale. "So now I could be paid just the same if I worked at McDonald's?" said one front desk employee, whose hourly rate was right around $10, during our confidential interview. "I might as well work there. I'd never have to stay late," she lamented. She was not the only employee thinking this way. Many team members were deeply affected by the idea that their compensation level -- which in every case was at least 20% higher than the actual prevailing minimum wage in their area -- was what some people now considered the minimum standard for people with no experience and no credentials. Even though no change to the minimum wage had taken place, these employees already felt like they'd been demoted! This particular practice really prides itself (justifiably) on its attention to employee satisfaction and to paying employees a living wage -- and the minimum wage discussion in the news, and its unexpected impact on employee attitudes, really threw them a curve ball. Employees who had previously felt appreciated and well-compensated versus their alternatives in their little rural town were suddenly wondering if they were underpaid -- or worse, under-valued. Medical practices are (unfortunately) accustomed to the unexpected impact of government actions on their business. But in this case, the impact happened before any action has even happened. Some markets may not be affected at all by new minimum wage rules, which seem to be much more likely (at least for now) to be driven by local market conditions
- Working with — or considering — a medical billing service? Here’s what you need to know. Gallerybilling services, medical practice business, reimbursement, revenue, revenue cycle, revenue, billing and collections
If you're considering working with an outside medical billing service -- or are working with one now -- my free webinar next week with Kareo can help you get the very most from outsourcing. Using a third party medical billing service can be a great way to improve cash flow and collections, and minimize hassles for your practice -- provided you know how to choose wisely and manage the relationship. Perhaps the biggest mistake practices can make when deciding to outsource to a medical billing service is to lose focus and interest in the billing process -- making sure your practice gets paid is still ultimately your responsibility, even when you've got an outsourced team helping you make it happen. The key is knowing what questions to ask and to establish a relationship of communication and teamwork with your billing service partner. To explore these ideas -- and many more ways to maximize the benefit of outsourcing your medical billing -- please join us next Wednesday, June 18, for a free, lively and informative webinar that will help your practice work with an external medical billing service to improve profitability -- and your peace of mind! PLUS, best of all, 100 lucky attendees will get a free copy of my ebook on the subject, Get the Best From Your Medical Billing Service (Management Rx). Woohoo! Hope you will join me next week! Click here for the sign-up page on Kareo.com.