In my last post, I wrote about how the weather had finally warmed up enough for my wife and me to get out in the yard for some spring cleaning. Shortly after writing the post, I realized that we both had significant run-ins with poison ivy. If you've ever had it, you know how awful it is. You’ve likely made a vow to never go near three-leafed plants again. I waged a war, and I cleared the entire yard of the nuisance.
You've probably identified some toxic areas in your practice that may have been lingering like my L23.7 (ICD-10 code for allergic contact with poison ivy) that you’re ready to clear away:
1. Charge Lag and Cash Flow: Mobile charge capture is a tool that has been around for over a decade, but has picked up steam over the last five years because it can help in all three of the above areas that still challenge most practices. Unfortunately, an inefficient charge capture system can be a toxic to your practice and its bottom line, while often happening steadily and inconspicuously. Through the use of an efficient and secure charge capture app, providers are able to submit their billing in real-time directly from the hospital. Often, this adds an additional week or more of revenue into that calendar year that was not previously available to the practice. You can read more on this in Adam Kenney's detailed blog post. When an intuitive application is utilized by the providers, billing offices recover charges that were previously lost in a paper system, and receive the providers' billing in seconds rather than weeks or months!
2. ICD-10 Rollout: Some charge capture solutions will help improve your transition to ICD-10 as well. There is a significant amount of anxiety about making this transition, but electronic charge capture solutions can make this transition easier for both providers and staff. Use a tool that will be ready well in advance of the 2015 deadline so you can be implementing and learning more about the transition as soon as possible. Also, choose a solution that the providers enjoy using where they can easily find codes without learning 50,000+ new descriptions. Your providers will be thrilled to get the 800 pound gorilla off their back and start steadily marching towards 2015 in a compliant manner.
3. Security and HIPAA Compliance: Charge capture also solves other problems for groups looking to enhance their security and HIPAA compliance. Consider choosing a charge capture solution that allows for secure communication and secure text messaging via physicians and staff – kill two birds with one stone, right? I’ve talked with several groups over the past couple weeks that are striving to get away from solutions like Google Docs or Dropbox as their patient communication platforms because neither solution is HIPAA compliant or used in real-time. With up to a $50,000 fine for a single HIPAA violation, it is time to get serious about protecting PHI while offering providers and staff the ability to securely text message with one another.
From speaking with physicians, CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and administrators, the three areas numbered above seem to be some of the common issues that are keeping them up at night. As you're looking at your practice to identify new areas of opportunity for growth and revenue, charge capture software can certainly assist in solving many of those chronic annoyances and toxins that affect your hospital and medical practice.