Do strategic partnerships have anything to do with revenue cycle management? Absolutely. But picking the right partner to assist with various aspects of your medical practice can be a daunting decision. Pick the right partner and you save a time and money. Pick the wrong partner and your practice's cash flow can take a serious hit.
Strategic partnerships can free up your clinical and office staff so they can focus more closely on providing patient services and their daily tasks. Specific benefits from strategic partnerships include:
• Lower operating costs because of less need for additional staff or technology
• Better ability to raise practice income with time to focus on risk reduction
• Better ability to scale up as your practice grows
• Loyal patients who appreciate the customized services you provide
The following are examples of some promising areas for developing strategic partnerships.
Revenue Cycle Management
Revenue cycle management certainly isn't getting any easier, and a strategic partnership that addresses some or all of your revenue cycle management functions can make a tremendous difference in not only your practice's profitability, but in regulation compliance and in the ability of your office staff to focus on the patients.
In-house revenue cycle management can be expensive when you consider salaries and benefits. Plus, if you have a small practice with two revenue cycle management specialists, what happens if both of them get sick at the same time? What if one of them takes another job? It could throw a wrench into your billing and collection processes that can take some serious time to recover from.
The popularity of outsourcing various revenue cycle management processes has increased as requirements for meaningful use, ICD-10, PQRS, and other factors affecting revenue cycle management have grown more complex.
Like revenue cycle management, marketing is also becoming more complex. It's no longer enough to have a website. Now you need to be able to manage your practice and provider reputations online while also having a website, social media accounts, and a means to communicating with patients.
A successful social media presence is much different than just using social media personally. Some providers struggle with how to brand their practice and communicate that on social media. Social media strategy requires treading a fine line between friendliness and lack of professionalism. As a result, practices may wish to consider working with marketing services firms that specialize in social media management for medical facilities. It can free tremendous amounts of staff time and ensure that your practice has a constant, positive, strategically valuable social media presence.
Cloud IT services can offer enormous benefits to medical practices by reducing or eliminating the need for on-site servers. Security for cloud IT services has improved considerably in recent years, and there are services that are specifically trained in HIPAA compliance, so you can be confident you're interacting with IT professionals who understand the specific regulations and requirements that apply to healthcare providers.
From EHRs to practice administration tasks, a strategic IT partnership can provide your team with the latest software tools, under service agreements that spell out things like up time expectations and consequences should your provider fall short.
As revenue cycle management becomes more complex, healthcare as an industry is becoming more competitive. Patients are becoming more informed healthcare consumers, and they like knowing that their medical providers are interested in keeping them informed and educated so they can make better decisions about their health.
Waiting room educational video programs are a good way to keep patients informed and boost compliance and health outcomes. You can advertise new services your practice is offering or the option that patient can pay their bill online (assuming you offer this to patients).
Mobile apps like eClinicalWorks healow can also help patients while giving your practice a competitive advantage. When it comes to smart phones we all have them and we have them all the time. Taking the patient's health to the palm of their hand is one more way to help your patients achieve their health goals and stay in touch with you. Of course there are other health apps you can suggest to your patients to help them exercise more and eat better but having one specific to your EMR vendor make it a lot easier.
There's no single "break even" point at which all practices should outsource aspects of their practice management, so it's important to ask plenty of questions before committing. The size and type of your practice, as well as the technological maturity of your infrastructure are factors affecting when it's best to keep things in-house versus when it's best to outsource.
Choose wisely, and outsourcing, say, revenue cycle management or IT services can be cost-effective and allow your personnel to focus on patients while someone else focuses on making your practice compliant and profitable.