I'll be presenting a free webinar on Thursday, July 16, with tips and strategies for managing your medical billing service. If you're thinking of outsourcing your billing, or if you already outsource it and aren't sure you're getting everything you hoped for from the relationship, this webinar is for you. This is part two of a serious of shorter, more digestible webinars on choosing and managing a billing service, sponsored by Quest Care360. I'm excited about this shorter, 30 minute format, because it's easier to attend during a lunch or coffee break (while still having time to grab a sandwich!). No fluff, just the information you need. As you may know, I wrote an ebook on this subject called "Get the Best From Your Medical Billing Service," and this webinar draws from it, as well as from recent experiences with real clients using outsourced medical billing to run their practices. I hope you'll join us!
Another day, another news story spotlighting the problems with physician database information -- and the impact those inaccuracies can have on patients. This time, it's the federal NPI number database that has been revealed as less-than-perfect, as described in this story published last week by the Cincinnati Enquirer/cincinnati.com. The Enquirer's investigation found that "tens of thousands" (!) of records contain errors. If you've heard me speak on this subject or follow this blog, you won't be surprised to hear that, surprise surprise, I'm not surprised. Databases are challenging to maintain accurately -- it's much harder than you might think. Errors are easily introduced and, often, hard to detect. Even when the people managing directories work hard to keep them current, it's still likely that errors will occur. And then when directories depend on other databases and directories for their listing information ... well, that's going to magnify the problem, and make it much easier for an error to be introduced in multiple directories downstream before it's caught. Once that happens, the errors become the responsibility of people who are unlikely to catch them. While the Enquirer article points out many reasons the problems it uncovered with the NPI database are bad for patients -- all valid and worrisome -- these errors are, of course, bad for practices, too. Anything that can lead to a misunderstanding or misinformation that is relied upon by a patient, fellow practitioner, or payer is a potential problem for a practice. And the article also points out that a physician's NPI number can even be hijacked for fraudulent purposes. As with so many other issues related to directory data, the accuracy of NPI numbers and their associated information seems like it surely ought to be the responsibility of the people running the database. But many of the problems that can occur in a directory are too difficult for operators to catch with 100% accuracy (or even close) -- and the stakes are too high for your practice for you to leave the accuracy of your own information to chance. (According to The Enquirer, in this case,