According to the Medical Billing Advocates of America, 8 out of 10 bills contain errors – a staggering number to be sure and an overwhelming hurdle to overcome. With the emerging option of availing of medical billing services in order to address concerns of budget, it only highlights further the need to have a good billing process in place to ensure that quality does not suffer and you do not have hundreds of complaints at your door.
How to be error free, however, is the question. With strains on budget and the clamor for better healthcare a consistent cry, an error free billing process may seem like the proverbial fruit and water for Tantalus in Greek myth – which is why we are sharing this guide which will allow providers to build a hardy billing process centered on keeping customers happy:
Establish Clear Guidelines
Foremost in providing accurate billings are to have clear guidelines to follow. A proper process must be established to ensure that there will not be any confusion especially for unique cases. Having guidelines allows one maximum control over the process, by being able to track the progress of the numerous cases that a single provider may encounter each day. It also allows one to backtrack later on and identify areas of improvement for time consuming tasks.
Set Reasonable Targets
While it may be wonderful to be able to boast that you are able to process billing twice or even thrice as fast as others, it is useless when errors are high, and customers are complaining left and right. Likewise, slowing down the process may encourage fewer errors, but you may end up with lots of delays down the line. Either way, you will end up with complaints, which is why targets should not be done without careful analysis and planning. The key here is in setting reasonable targets that will strike a balance between quantity and quality.
Have a Support System in Place
To be able to maximize time, effort and energy, an efficient support system should be made available to billers to provide them an avenue to query peers or to review guidelines and procedures. This is especially helpful for unique or complicated cases where the risk of errors is high. Support systems can be as simple as having designated people to answer queries, or providing a go-to guide as a complete reference billers can check at any time.
Have Quality Control Measures in Place
Even veteran billers can make mistakes. By having quality control measures in place, one can avoid costly and embarrassing mistakes later on. From mismatched and double charges, to inflated charges, these kinds of mistakes will only result in irate customers. Having people checking and even rechecking every single data will ensure that errors like the ones above are avoided and everyone gets charged with the right amount.
Have an Internal Feedback Mechanism
With regard to efficiency, having an internal feedback mechanism encourages the people involved in the process to assess and evaluate it and to provide suggestions that would improve the process. A process that may look good on paper may not actually work as well once it is underway. Likewise, having an internal feedback mechanism helps you determine areas for improvement, whether it’s on targets – too high or too low – or to pointing out confusing steps in the procedure, these kinds of feedback are invaluable, allowing you to improve your medical billing process as well as showing your billers that you value their feedback.
Have an External Feedback Mechanism
Your billing process may run like a well oiled machine but mistakes can still happen. When complaints are being made, it is important to have people on the front lines, answering these complaints and rectifying the situation. But what makes this step invaluable is that it applies not only for errors but also for listening and explaining your customers. By having people whom your customers can turn to, you are essentially helping your customers relate to you and your employees, making you look less like an enemy and more like an ally.
It is always important to remember that while healthcare may be a business as well, empathy towards customers should also be a consideration whether your billing is outsourced or in-house. Helping customers by avoiding errors can help alleviate worries later on, on top of health concerns. Thus by striving to be error-free, you are showing your customers that you care about their health as much as they care about it.
A provider of healthcare outsourcing solutions, Infinit-O’s medical billing services and core team of analysts can deliver efficiently and effectively, billing solutions tailored according to your company’s needs.
Infinit-O has established successful partnerships with clients who have realized decreased processing times and higher quality output through the implementation of our unique knowledge management solutions across the billings process.