Automating Processes at Your Medical Practice

September 6, 2012

When implementing an automating feature, it is vital to invest the time and money to it set up correctly. Here's some guidance.

Many systems today have functionalities that will automate or eliminate manual processes in a medical practice. Whether it is auto-posting payments to your system, sending claims to the clearinghouse, or compiling and printing reports in the middle of the night that would normally slow down your entire system if processed during the normal workday, automation has come a long way to improving overall practice efficiency.

Unfortunately, many of these functionalities are not set up or utilized, especially in smaller practices. Though smaller and mid-size practices would benefit vastly by utilizing the functionalities, it is hard for them to find the time or resources to set up and implement these functionalities. When implementing an automating feature, it is vital to invest the time and money to it set up correctly.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

• Visualize the process you are automating. Think the whole process through and document how you would like it to work.

• Consider all of the steps involved. List the current steps and compare them to the steps in the new process. If there are fewer steps, determine if the missing steps matter to the end result. If they don’t, eliminate them.

• When implementing the new automated process, will there be a lag time in the process and, if so, how will that affect your practice? For instance, if you are implementing an automated process that will upload your claims to your clearinghouse and there is a lag during the set up process how much of an impact will that lag have on your claims production and cash flow?

• Create a timeline. Create a spreadsheet with list of tasks, responsible parties, and expected completion dates.

• Speak with others who have similar practices and have implemented the process. Learn from their mistakes and listen to their advice.

• Outsource if necessary. Remember it does not matter if you are knowledgeable enough to implement the process if you do not have the time to do it and do it right.

Automation is a wonderful tool if utilized properly. Remember when setting up any new process, the investment is in the beginning and the rewards follow. Many times the set up consists of trial and error and can be frustrating. The result may not be perfect the first time. The process may require some tweaks. Patience is key!

Find out more about Chastity Werner and our other Practice Notes bloggers.