Happy Patients, Maximum Revenue? No Longer Mutually Exclusive: Part 2 of 3

September 26, 2014

 

A three-part discussion covering the leading trends in revenue cycle management for radiologists.

Many revenue cycle management companies tout “leveraging” industry-leading technology. In our opinion, technology is very important but ultimately only as good as the people applying it.

In this installment of our revenue cycle management (RCM) discussion, we’d like to address the balance of utilizing progressive technology and well-trained personnel to provide a superior patient experience which directly translates into higher patient satisfaction.

Many studies have shown that patients’ determination of “quality of care” is driven not only by the physician’s compassion and completeness of care, but rather a summation of the entire consumer experience from point of care to the paying of the bill for service.

The following outlines the people part of the equation. How to select the right people and provide the right training to build a team that consistently delivers a positive patient experience.

Start with industry experts. Our elderly population is growing rapidly, putting increasing pressure on radiologists for the diagnosis and treatment of the aging population. This is exacerbated by the need for radiologists to change how they document their work to meet changing regulations.

As we look to 2015, ICD-10 will be one of the biggest changes.. ICD-10 will impact reimbursement and patient satisfaction if physicians don’t start changing their dictations. Physicians need expert coders who have deep knowledge of the changes ICD-10 brings. Radiologists will be hard-pressed to find quality certified coders in 2015 given the increased need for coding support throughout the entire healthcare market.

It is imperative for radiology practices and imaging centers to invest in coding staff not only with radiology expertise, but also the capability to educate and train fellow staff. Radiology is a unique field of medicine; it is a high-volume business that requires great skill. The reading results of coders drive the quality of care for most patients. Specialists must deliver greater accuracy in order to ensure limited claim denials, therefore leading to a high quality patient experience.

Invest in training. In fiscally challenged times, training is usually one of the first items on the list to be cut. We would argue that this will cost the practice more money in the long run. For example, if staff isn’t kept up to date on the latest Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) changes, radiologists face governmental compliance risks impacting revenue and potentially jeopardizing the ability to practice medicine.

Similar training of your certified coders on ICD-10 needs to begin today, if it hasn’t already. The changes in coding are significant and will impact all phases of your operation, from physician documentation to appealing denied claims.

In the next and final series installment, we will address how to pick the right technology to increase the efficiency and overall performance of a well-designed staff to deliver that positive patient experience while optimizing collections.