Today, medical professionals are tasked with running a leaner and more efficient practice while experiencing lower reimbursements and higher costs. Revenue reporting and analysis are more critical than ever to maintain a successful medical practice. A benchmark analysis is an important step to protecting and securing a practice’s overall performance.
A thorough review will include both data analysis and observations and recommendations. Data analysis allows for meaningful measurement against industry indices and trends. Observations and recommendations provide the interpretation of the data analysis to equip the practice for better performance in the future.
Once the numbers have been crunched, what is next?
1. Listen and learn
The benchmark analysis is the collective review and recommendations comparing your practice to industry norms based on a given discipline and geographic area. It is a baseline snapshot that provides a roadmap for improvement. An analysis should confirm what is working well, as well as identify revenue opportunities that might otherwise go unidentified.
Many undetected opportunities exist in patient scheduling, patient collections, billing, payment postings, payment delays and denials and contribute to the overall financial performance. Effective accounts receivable will increase revenue performance. Unfortunately, payment delays, rejections and denials impact the revenue cycle. Lagging payments contribute to aging issues and a practices ability to make timely collections. Patient balances can accumulate to significant outstanding amounts if things go unchecked. Improvement comes only with the understanding of your current position.
2. Identify priorities and set goals
As in any practice, there are many moving parts to consider when establishing goals. Identifying priorities and strategies is the first step. What short term actions can you implement to remediate problems? Are there best practice solutions to improve processes such as electronic eligibility or claims scrubbing? Is one particular payer contributing to a disproportionate part of A/R aging or denials? Have you considered accepting credit cards for patient payments? Understanding the individual components of the revenue cycle provides the ground work for improving the process.
Setting goals is also important to any practicing physician. Have you considered outsourcing the billing and collections process? Is your practice management application automated and powerful enough to meet the constant change of billing requirements? Does the expense of an EHR application prevent you moving ahead with implementation? Are you interested in incentives and bonus payments? Do you know how to avoid penalties? Have you considered selling your practice? The answers to many of these questions play a role in setting priorities and developing a strategy to improve your revenue performance.
Regular and ongoing reporting is paramount to maximizing your revenue performance. A benchmark analysis sets the groundwork. Consistent review of your practice performance helps to make informed and intelligent decisions that affect the success of your efforts and planning. Monthly reporting and monitoring provides the tracking of progress and growth. Consider outside professional support if you lack the discipline or time to run weekly and monthly reports on your own. Ask yourself, are you running your practice or is your practice running you?
The conclusion of any review should be dedicated time to respond to questions related to the report findings or a list of prepared questions. What questions do you have? How equipped are you to understand the bigger picture? What requests do you hear from your staff? Do you feel there is a better way? Don’t be afraid to explore the unknown. The solutions might be easier than you think.