The increasing costs of running a practice continue to make growth a challenge, with economic uncertainty only amplifying concerns. Today, costs are rising faster than profits for roughly 90% of providers, while top-performing practices are generating $138,522 more revenue per full-time physician per year.
What are those high-earning practices doing right?
The recent increase in average operating costs for practices was 12.5%, with higher wages for staff being one of the top drivers of those higher costs. As a result, 40% of providers say staff shortages and their related challenges have been offset by technological improvements.
Successful practice owners and physicians are leaning towards automated solutions to fuel practice revenue with less overhead spending. These groups are using automated patient-centric platforms to:
Find one automated solution that can help you achieve all of the above, so you can accelerate growth while keeping costs low. Here’s what top-performing practices look for in an automated and centralized solution.
4 Key Patient Revenue Touchpoints That High-Growth Practices Automate
1. Patient scheduling & waitlists
Seeing more patients remains a key reason for financial improvement amongst top-earning physicians. While it may seem obvious, boosting patient acquisition has always been easier said than done. Patient self-scheduling and automated waitlists will help you bring in more patients than ever before, increasing your revenue streams to combat economic uncertainty.
Given that “ease of access” is a major factor for 89% of patients when choosing healthcare providers and 82% of patients prefer a provider who offers online scheduling, providing a 24/7 scheduling option can provide meaningful increases to your acquisition and retention rates.
Top-earning physicians take these patient preferences seriously and see significant improvements to patient acquisition as a result.
High-growth practices implement 24/7 online scheduling solutions to give new and existing patients a simple way to book appointments on their own. With this option, patients won’t have to make time during their busy days to call and book an appointment during business hours. At the same time, with digital appointment booking, new patients can find your practice online, view available appointment times, and book an appointment on the spot, no more searching and no need to call the practice and take your staff away from higher value tasks.
Additionally, a real-time online scheduling solution gives patients line-of-sight into your appointment openings, meaning as gaps open at the last minute due to cancellations or rescheduling, other patients can see and book those appointments. As a physician, this element is crucial to increasing your realized revenue per appointment time slot.
Go a step further and provide your patients with the option to join a digital waitlist. With automated scheduling and a waitlist, as other patients cancel or reschedule their appointments, those times can be re-released back into your schedule and patients who are on your waitlist can be automatically notified that a time has opened up. This automated approach helps you fill more time slots, without staff intervention — it simply runs on autopilot for you, helping you see more patients than ever before!
Automated patient scheduling and a waitlist will help you fill more gaps and provide care to more patients, which is a key component to ensuring growth in a changing economy.
2. Patient registration and collections
Your chance of collecting payment once a patient leaves the office sits at around 30%. At the same time, about 58% of self-pay patients become a write-off for practices, further increasing bad debt. To amplify these collection challenges, 56% of medical groups reported their time in A/R increased in 2022.
In a changing economy, you can’t afford to solely rely on administrative staff to ask and collect payment. Instead, top-earning physicians implement sure-fired solutions to ensure steady collections at the point of service, reducing bad debt on the back end of their revenue cycle. While some write-offs are inevitable, there are actions you can take to minimize the associated revenue loss. Start with patient registration.
As a physician, you don’t own the front-office collection challenge, but you can help your practice take steps to mitigate profit leakage and increase realized revenue. Remember, administrative staff are not trained bill collectors. In a crowded waiting room, staff may not have enough time to collect payment. Inexperience can also cause administrative staff to feel too uncomfortable to ask. Even your tenured staff may forget here and there. High-growth practices don’t leave opportunities for payments to become forgotten or second priority. Top-earning practices implement patient self-registration solutions, like patient self-registration kiosks and mobile options, to accelerate the payment process at check-in, making it simple, quick and private for their patients.
Through these self-registration solutions, you can present co-pays, outstanding balances and even estimations and collect payment all before a patient gets to the exam room. With digital solutions, you can ensure each patient is presented with their payment responsibly upon check-in and prompted to pay. These solutions can also prompt patients to keep their cards on file for seamless future transactions.
This automation at check-in reduces staff’s need to ask for payment, saving time and awkward conversations while ensuring physicians increase earned revenue. Practices see immediate revenue improvements by making the check-in and payment process digital.
3. Patient insurance verification and reimbursement
Claims rejections, data capture challenges and slow insurance verification all create major roadblocks for physician and practice cash flow. High-growth practices don’t tolerate these roadblocks.
Use real-time insurance verification to decrease human errors and get paid faster.
Considering 86% of mistakes made in the healthcare industry, claims rejections can become rampant for practices, simply due to small issues like a misspelled patient name or the wrong birth date. Every time a claim is reworked, physician reimbursement is stalled, and your billing team needs to solve the issues and resubmit the claim, further increasing costs. While this is going on, claims denials are coming in and studies show that out of all the denied claims, 65% are never reworked.
With too many rejected claims, your billing team won’t have enough time to properly process claims or resubmit denied claims, which can significantly hinder your ability as a physician to capture earned revenue. Stop the cycle by implementing real-time insurance verification.
With a smart tool, your staff can verify patient insurance and solve any issues prior to a patient’s arrival at the office. With action taken on the front end of your patient revenue cycle, you can reduce claims rejections and give your billing team more time to focus on properly processing claims.
It’s important to remember that not all insurance verification tools create the automation your practice needs to drive faster verification and reimbursement. To speed up payments, it’s crucial to choose an insurance verification tool that provides real-time and fee-free eligibility checks from 900+ payers. Additionally, your ideal solution should include a dashboard that allows staff to review primary, secondary, and tertiary insurance thoroughly. A smart dashboard will flag errors and issues, providing clear guidance on staff actions needed to ensure copay collection at check-in. Without this clarity and efficiency, staff may realize insurance errors too late or may not have a clear understanding of how to solve them, both scenarios mean you don’t get paid.
Find a real-time insurance verification tool that will take the heavy lifting off your staff, while helping your practice streamline cash flow throughout the revenue cycle, despite external economic challenges.
4. Patient communications
Considering that 52% of missed appointments result from patient forgetfulness and 30% of patients with one or more no-shows don’t return to the same practice – you could be losing more patients than you’re bringing in.
While reminders are crucial to reducing these appointment gaps and lapsed patients, appointment recalls are also an essential communication tactic that practices use to ensure steady patient acquisition and retention. When facing economic change, use smart patient communication tools to bring in more patients. While you may think patient communication is where your practice excels, review your patient attrition rates to be sure. See if it may be time to find new patient reminder and recall tools for your practice.
To keep patients coming in, find a patient reminders solution that lets your administrative team customize the message and how it’s sent, giving your patients the best possibility of seeing their crucial reminder(s). Beyond send frequencies, use reminders to encourage patients to pre-check and pay for their appointments ahead of time, helping streamline in-office throughput and collections.
To best support patient retention, ensure recall messages keep your practice top-of-mind and make it easy for patients to book on the spot. Your patient recall messages should provide a convenient scheduling link, enabling them to book immediately, or even a phone number, for them to call if needed. Additionally, recall messages should automatically be sent at the most optimal times for patients to start thinking about their next appointment. Rather than a standard time cadence, a smart recall solution will enable your administrative team to configure a messaging cadence based on each of your specific appointment types.
The patient communications you practice leverages are imperative to driving steady cash flow in an uncertain economy, with fewer last-minute appointment gaps and lapsed patients. As a physician, effective patient reminders and recalls help you keep patients on top of their healthcare plan and back in your office at the right times. Ensure your practice achieves these benefits from your current solutions or start looking for an improved solution!
Implement One Automated Solution to Boost Practice Revenue
Face economic uncertainty and come out stronger.
Do more without overexpanding your workstreams, technology stack or budget. Specialty practices of all sizes are accelerating cash flow by implementing one centralized solution to support their intertwined scheduling, registration, eligibility and communication needs — all to achieve core growth goals. See how you can do the same. Read this guide for more tips on stopping profit leakage and boosting earnings!