6 Ways to Improve Your Medical Office

medical professionals at a team briefing

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Every medical office could become a better place for the providers, staff, and patients. Even the best offices can strive to make continuous improvements, so they don't see a decline in satisfaction, outcomes, or revenue. Here are six ways every medical office can improve.

Improve Patient Flow

Only your patients know whether your entire process flows smoothly or not. They experience the flow from scheduling an appointment, arriving at the medical office, checking in for their visit, sitting in the waiting area, waiting in the exam room, being treated by a physician, checking out and paying, and finally leaving, not to mention receiving the bill. If the patients of your medical office are not happy with the entire process, they may not come back.

Providing high-quality care and excellent customer service will prevent loss of revenue for the medical office due to a high level of patient satisfaction. Patients will very likely continue to come back as long as they are satisfied with the entire process. Learn how to do a patient flow assessment.

Improve Communication

Effective communication isn't just talking and listening. It means having mutual respect and understanding between staff and management. It is for the benefit of the office manager to set the tone for effective communication.

  • Establish clear expectations for each employee. Managers need to make sure they are specific in what they expect from their employees.
  • Provide feedback. Employees need to be given feedback on a regular basis whether it is telling them they're doing a great job or it is constructive criticism.
  • Listen. Employees can be an excellent resource for office operations. They have first-hand knowledge of office processes or policies and can offer great ideas to assist in making office tasks operate more efficiently.

Improve Workflow and Productivity

Workflow and productivity are essential to the success of the medical office. A streamlined workflow will naturally improve employee productivity. A medical office without efficient ways to perform necessary job duties cannot perform them effectively. Having a detailed and well-developed policy and procedure manual in place that readily accessible to the medical office staff can greatly strengthen the entire team.

Be sure your policy includes a continuing education program to make sure all employees are kept up-to-date on office policies, compliance, and job-specific requirements.

Improve Insurance Reimbursements

It is vital for the financial stability of the hospital or physician office to have a process in place for each phase of the revenue cycle. Not only will you receive payments promptly but will also reduce the burden on the billing staff, keep down administrative costs, and most importantly maintain a positive rapport with your patients. Areas of focus should include:

  • Eligibility and insurance verification
  • Diagnosis and procedure coding
  • Billing
  • Claim follow-up
  • Cash posting and reconciliation

Improve Upfront Collections

The fastest way to increase cash flow and improve collection rates is to collect patient responsibility upfront. Patients are less inclined to pay or are difficult to reach once the services have been performed. Rather than waiting until the collections stage of the revenue cycle, providers should take advantage of discussing financial issues and collecting patient payments early in the process. Notify patients before their arrival of what their estimated responsibility will be and make them aware that payment is required before services being performed.

Improve Your Approach to Budgeting

Decreasing physician payments, fewer patients, and high technology costs can be financially crippling. The best way to handle rising operating costs is to monitor them and then develop a plan to cut costs. Three areas that can add up to thousands of dollars in savings per year include:

  • Office supplies: Remember these words: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Learning to use office supplies wisely can cut costs substantially such as cutting used paper into squares instead of buying sticky notes. Going paperless and bargain shopping for the best price are other ways to lower office supply costs.
  • Medical supplies: Buy medical supplies as needed. Buying in bulk can save money but if you don't need it, don't buy it. Some supplies have a limited shelf life and could cost you more in the long run if you have to throw them away. You can also try to identify opportunities to get free trials from vendors promoting new products.
  • Office equipment: Try to find used office equipment for sale when making large purchases. There are a number of online resources that you can find great prices for office equipment from going out of business sales. Online auctions are also an excellent way to find older equipment for low prices.
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