So You’re on the Cloud: Tips to Maximize Cloud-Based Practice Management – Part 1

Congratulations — you’re on the Cloud. You took the initiative and moved to modern technology. You’re ready to make the most of your new electronic health records and practice management and revenue cycle management (RCM) systems. But silently you may ask yourself, “Where do I start?”

Maximizing use of a cloud-based practice management system for your practice’s health IT can initially seem a bit complicated. But don’t worry. We here at PYP assembled a list of tips to help guide you. This week we share strategies on training, customization and speeding patient insurance eligibility checks.

In Part 2, we’ll explain how the Cloud can give providers access to their practice from any device, help engage patients and simplify claims tracking.

Training
First and foremost, we cannot stress enough the importance of properly training your staff on the features, processes and uses of your new practice management system. Use available resources — including online videos, articles and help guides to support your training.

Get commitment from everyone in your medical group. It’s not just up to staff to run the system. Involved and informed physicians make for the most efficient practices.

“The more engaged the physician is, the better the practice will run,” said Jessica Cousins, Sales Representative at CareCloud, one of the health IT industry’s fastest growing medical practice management software providers. “In an ideal world, the physician hires a staff that is fully competent and completely trustworthy.

“However, it doesn’t always end up that way,” she continued. “If the doctor takes the time to learn the system and office processes, he or she will have more control of the workflow and be able to jump in if necessary.”

Similarly, this level of involvement applies to upper level administration in large medical groups or enterprise health systems because they oversee the people performing administrative tasks.

Improve commitment to the new system by showing staff specific benefits important to them, such as how the cloud eases communication within the office and with other practices. Cloud-based messaging is secure, efficient and allows employees to maximize their time.

Customization
A comprehensive, cloud-based practice management system should allow you to manage your practice, patient records and medical billing seamlessly with a customized dashboard that connects every aspect of your business.

Customize your dashboard to fit your needs. Identify and easily access your most used icons. Also set up tabs that will guide your staff through the entire workflow process — starting at patient appointments and ending with payments.

Also use customizable reporting capabilities to the fullest extent. Real-time customizable reports give you valuable insight that measures performance in a practical and simple way that allows you to make informed management decisions.

Customized medical practice management software allows you to spend less time compiling reports and more time caring for patients. “We’re collecting faster, more accurately,” said Dr. Lawrence Berger, a Miami-based cardiologist that switched to a fully integrated, cloud-based PM, medical billing and EHR system.

Insurance Eligibility
Cloud-based systems also save staff time and avoid confusion with insurance verification. Let the system check patient insurance eligibility before each visit.

“Providers seeing Medicare patients certainly need to check with the carrier before seeing the patient, as coverage with a Medicare Managed Care Plan confuses most patients.  Many Medicare patients will tell you that they have Medicare and show you their Medicare ID cards, not realizing they are enrolled in Medicare Managed Care Plans,” said medical billing expert Alice Scott. She co-owns Solutions Medical Billing Inc. in Rome, N Y., and coauthored 15 books on medical billing and medical credentialing.

Set batch eligibility to run four days before an appointment. Use this interval to follow-up on any inactive patient policies before the day of their office visit. Verifying insurance coverage and patient payment expectations in advance can avoid a lot of work chasing reimbursement and payment in the weeks and months after a patient visits your practice.

Xavier E. Martinez contributed to this post.

What’s your favorite feature of cloud-based medical practice software? Leave a comment below.