Healthcare providers who spend any time at all in the hospital know how hard it is to juggle clinical care with clerical responsibilities. Long days of running around the hospital necessitates prioritization, and clerical work typically drifts to the bottom of the pile.
The result is that billing, or charge capture, or whatever modern term you wish to use for letting your billing staff know what you did that day – becomes an end-of-the-day activity.
I have seen physicians procrastinate turning in charges for weeks, only to receive harassing messages from the billing department and administrative staff. This is the last thing you need when you are trying to keep up with the endless conveyor belt of patient care, which never seems to take a break.
There are clear advantages to entering charges at the point of care:
The details are fresh in your head
Trying to remember what diagnoses were most relevant for a large census of patients is a daunting task. Deciphering what level of care was given can be even more challenging and more detrimental. Inaccuracy will lead to billing errors and under coding. You have worked hard and deserve to be paid for your time and expertise. Make sure you get the details correct when they are fresh in your head. No one likes those emails from billing staff regarding clinical encounters that happened three weeks ago. Typically, I cannot remember what I ate for breakfast two days ago, so remembering patient details that have now been diluted amongst hundreds of subsequent visits is near-impossible.
Your revenue will go up
Most medical professionals are quite confident in their billing accuracy and will reassure you that they are not missing charges. Turns out that this preconception couldn’t be farther from reality. Even the most diligent will miss charges, which is basically like working for free. The work is done, but you will not get paid. And do not expect your billers to catch gaps in charges – they are not aware of what you are doing all day. If you are (still) using a paper system, then you are at risk of losing the charge slips – or worse yet – forgetting to hand in a stack of them. From a revenue cycle perspective, this is a night terror. Using a point-of-care software solution for charge capture will ensure that your billing accuracy improves and that charges will not be missed.
Workflows become smoother
While it is easy enough to put a checkmark next to patients who are being seen, this approach does not work if you are collaborating with other providers. Many practices divide and conquer a hospital census, with work being shared amongst doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. Point-of-care billing using cloud-based software will alert the other team members which patients have been seen, so that getting through rounds has less wasted time spent coordinating the workforce. If your software can assign different patients to different providers, which is visible to all: bonus points.
Adopting cloud-based software for charge capture will save your practice time and money. If this software is intuitive and friendly to medical professionals, you will be able to easily capture charges immediately after seeing each patient. Numerous problems inherent to paper-based systems and end-of-day billing habits will instantly vanish. The result will be more accurate and timely billing along with streamlined workflows.
Are you concerned that you may be missing charges?
If yes, you will probably leave money on the table and will not receive the well-deserved economic benefit for all your hard work. HybridChart’s low-cost real-time work flow and charge capture solution can add time to your day by increasing your efficiency and adding more cash to your bottom line. HybridChart’s cloud-based software will improve your profitability and patient outcomes based on your unique workflow, including census management, charge capture, secure messaging and discharge management. All of this can be directly managed from your smart phone or tablet.
Not happy with your current software, or interested in automating your charge capture and census management system? See HybridChart in action now by watching our recorded demo.
Dr. Gregory Sanders is a Harvard-trained, practicing cardiologist and founder and CEO of HybridChart. He has been coding since the 1980s and has spent his medical career focusing on improving processes. His patient care skills earned him recognition as one of Phoenix Magazine’s TOP DOCs. He lives in Scottsdale with his family.