Physicians and practice managers love using online tools to help run their practices. Whether you’re submitting payroll, doing some online banking, reconciling a credit card statement or confirming patient eligibility you’re using a connected network of devices, any of which could pose a serious threat to the well-being of your practice. While I’ve blogged here on the importance of strong and regularly changed passwords, it’s every bit as critical to be disciplined and conservative with respect to connecting to Wi-Fi networks. Every time you venture out to a hotel, conference or café you’re likely seeing a variety of Wi-Fi networks with nothing to identify them other than a short name. Should you connect to “Starbucks-FREE” Wi-Fi? The following link describes just how simple it is for a hacker to set up a simple network with the goal of stealing the passwords and data of people just like me and you. The straightforward best policy is to never connect to an unknown network (and it’s hard to “know” a network if you’re away from home and work!). For this reason, I strongly recommend using the “share internet” feature of many smartphones – typically there is a monthly cost, perhaps $15 for access, and data usage counts against your monthly phone allowance. Click here to learn just how one hacker gains control over computers like yours.
Here's how you can make patient collections better in 2011: Do your homework upfront. Research patient balances before the patient arrives for his or her appointment and know what the patient owes. Then you are prepared to ask for payment at the time of visit. This is when the patient is the most motivated and when you will get the best result! Establish consistent financial policies. Clarify your expectations of staff and patients. This means the stakeholders agree on the policies and establish methods to support and enforce the policies. Provide tools and training. Part of supporting those policies is providing staff with the tools and training essential to do the job right. The billing department can train reception and scheduling staff on how to review and understand a patient's account. Management can have in-services and role play to give staff the right words and confidence to ask for payment. Define responsibilities. If you want a committed staff that gets results it is important to clarify the processes involved in collections. Determine which staff members will perform those tasks. This includes who does what before the visit, at the time of the visit and following the visit. Establish and meet collection goals. Examine past performance when it comes to collecting at the time of service and set the bar higher. If you have typically collected an average of $1,000 a day from patients that owed $2,000 you have been collecting 50%. Why not set the goal 10% higher each month until you reach 80 or 90%? Then when you reach the goal thank your staff and celebrate your success. Capko and Company is one of America's leading health care management and marketing consulting firms. We are here to serve you.
Staff Can Make a Difference!Set up solid financial policies the physicians will endorse and establish methods to improve collection of patient payments. Here's six actions you can take:1. When a patient schedules an appointment verify address, employer and benefits. Also remind him or her the amount due on the account.2. Review patient accounts the day before their scheduled appointments and verify insurance eligibility and benefits.3. Make it easy for patients to pay: Accept credit and debit cards.4. Determine average percentage of daily revenue now being collected from patients against the average amount actually owed and set specific goals for improvement.5. When patients arrive and depart, don't ask if the patient wants to pay - ask how they want to pay; check, cash, credit or debit.6. Identify who the go to person if their is a dispute about the bill while the patient is in the officeBe consistent in applying these actions and watch patient revenue soar.Do you have other collection tips? If so, please share them with the followers of this blog.Announcing the release of Judy Capko's runaway best selling book Secrets of the Best-Run Practices, 2nd edition. To check it out go to www.capko.com and click on the book icon.