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Posts from 2018-06

How Technology is Revolutionizing the Patient Care Model

The Evolution of Patient Care

Over the next few decades, the patient care model will change in astonishing ways.

Every aspect of this space is changing at historic speeds and forcing health professionals to adapt to a myriad of innovations.

Every day, more and more healthcare professionals are realizing the benefits of looking past the traditional care model to new options. These patient care innovations continue to grow and push the industry to become more integrated, interprofessional and patient-centric.

In this blog post, we will examine ways in which the care model is changing, and the dynamic role technology is playing to move the needle forward in healthcare innovation.

Changes in Patient Care

The patient care model is changing for the better. As healthcare providers embrace collaboration and new ways of operating, the quality of care patients receive will continue to rise higher and higher.

In our opinion, it is especially vital to improve the status quo of care coordination. Patients feel defenseless and weak when dealing with an illness, and proper coordination can help ease these feelings.

 
Innovations in Cardiology

Thankfully, healthcare providers are understanding the benefits of outsourcing specialized services as part of their systematic operations.

For example, in the last decade there has been a clear transition in the care pathway of patients with implantable cardiac devices.

Companies like Geneva Healthcare are partnering with cardiology clinics across the country to revolutionize the process of monitoring implanted cardiac devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators, loop records.

Traditionally, patients had to come into the office for in-person care and checkups of their devices.

Thanks to Geneva Healthcare’s innovative remote monitoring technology, patients can now send cardiac device updates directly from their home.

The remote monitoring care strategy has quickly become the standard of care for all implantable devices in the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), and was even designated as Class I recommendation, with Evidence Level A.

The published benefits of this care strategy include:

  • Early detection of device issues and arrhythmias
  • Reduction in hospitalization and readmissions
  • Reduction in mortality
  • Overall reduction in the cost of patient care

Thanks to innovative organizations like Geneva Healthcare, cardiology providers can utilize remote monitoring through a combination of technology, services and consulting.

Geneva Healthcare aims to assist these providers through this important transition, with the goal of improving the quality of care for patients with implantable devices.

Turn Key Billing Solutions

As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, we are seeing more and more organizations create symbiotic relationships that lead to improved patient care.

Savi Group for example has partnered with Geneva Healthcare to make their services even more valuable to cardiology providers. Partnering up enables Geneva to extend their platform and include a turn key medical billing solution.

Doing so streamlines so many essential services for these providers and enables them to be reimbursed fully and completely for services rendered to their patients.

By partnering with Savi, cardiology clinics across the country can capture and bill the remote monitoring billable events both professional and technical.

Savi Group also provides the additional benefit of cash forecasting and provides follow up on all unpaid claims until they are paid completely. Furthermore, clinics receive full transparency and visibility to each of their clients regarding data about their practice.

They also obtain an overview of all technical monitoring events billed and collected by Geneva should they require it.

In conclusion, there are many ways the modern patient care model is evolving. As technology continues to bring about innovations, the quality of care will rise and patients will benefit.

Partnerships such as the one between Geneva Healthcare and Savi Group are setting the standard for innovative implementations that are moving the needle within the patient care model.

To learn more about how Savi Group can help improve your organization's patient care model, please contact us for a free consultation. We can work with your practice to ensure that your system functions as optimally as possible.  

Contact us to set up a free consultation, or Click here to get more information!  

 

How Technology is Helping Doctors Improve Their Practices

 Demand for health care rises faster and faster every single year. Baby boomers continue to grow older, causing a heightened need for doctors, nurses, and various health care professionals to step into the picture and provide much-needed services to our aging population.

How do we meet these needs?

 Today’s medical professionals need to be able to combine their expertise with new technology and use these tools to improve efficiencies and the patient experience.

However, doctors are finding it increasingly difficult to juggle not only the medical work they do but also the additional responsibilities that come with running their practice. These tasks can include things like:

  • Eligibility verification
  • Financial reporting
  • Payment posting
  • Patient follow-up

 In fact, many doctors get overwhelmed and see their practices start to fail due to their inability to manage them properly. 

 Thankfully, there are a number of technological advances that are helping doctors find ways to increase efficiencies and reduce pain points across their practice.

This, in turn, is helping them connect with their patients and consistently provide higher quality care.

Here are some new ways in which technological advances are making a difference:

Electronic Bill Pay for Patients

doctors papaya appAs we move into the future, it continues to become easier for patients to pay their medical bills.

New apps, such as Papaya, are making it possible for patients to simply take a picture of their health related bills to submit payment.

 People can use any payment method, including debit and credit cards, or directly link your bank accounts. HSA and FSA cards are also accepted for health related payments.

The app leverages computer vision, self-learning algorithms and payment automation techniques to make sure that every payment is finalized.

 

Electronic Medical & Health Records (EMR/EHR)

Electronic Health Records and Electronic Medical Records are helping the health care system improve in dramatic ways. Doctors offices across the country are quickly replacing paper records with electronic ones, a shift which is bringing benefits to both patients and physicians in many ways.

Embracing all of these changes can be confusing. To learn more about what to consider before digitizing records, check out our blog post Five Questions to Ask Before Digitizing Patient Records

There are many benefits to making this switch, such as:

doctors emr technology

Less storage requirements

Paper records require storage. This can of course be quite costly, and also makes it necessary to have someone managing these papers on a regular basis. Additionally, there's also a risk that somebody could come into the office and stela these records. Electronic records on the other hand do not need any physical space, which can be expensive for most offices. 

Less Mistakes

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) have been shown to reduce the amount of mistakes and errors that are made with paper records.

This is a significant benefit to physicians as it builds trust among their practice. Additionally, less mistakes can lead to lower costs associated with insurance premiums and potential lawsuits. 

more focused staff

Reducing the amount of work required to manage records helps staff become more focused on other issues that need their attention.

Many doctors offices become strained and overwhelmed from having to manage too many tasks, which can lead to errors and mismanagement of important materials. 

doctors staff emr ehr

more accessibility

One of the best parts of switching to electronic records is the incredible boost in accessibility it provides. Patients are able to make any appointment changes they may need to and easily view their own medical record online.

Doctors can also communicate with these patients better and let them know of any changes to their subscriptions or other medical situations.

They can see all of their patient's information in one convenient place which reduces the risk of missing information. With paper records, the physical reality makes it possible for papers to go missing or become illegible over time. 

Getting Started We can work with your practice to ensure that your EMR/EHR system functions with your office workflow as well as work with you through the preliminary stages of your implementation.   

Contact us to set up a free consultation, or Click here to get more information!

Is it Possible to Get Your Denial Rates Under 5%?

What are normal denial rates in San Diego and the Los Angeles area? Claim denial rates from health insurance companies vary from practice to practice, but some experience upwards of 30% denials of total claims! That’s a pretty penny. We know, however, that top-performing practices experience rates below 5%. Let’s talk about how to ensure that more of your claims get reimbursed so that you can get your rates down.

 On one end of the spectrum some medical practices are experiencing denial rates of 30% of their total claims, yet the percentage of other practices experiencing denials of 10% or 20% are also stunning. The industry average at this point is something between a 5% and 10% denial rate, but getting that rate below 5% should be your practice goal.

 With so many responsibilities and priorities to juggle, practice managers often feel overwhelmed as their profits get smaller and smaller and that red line gets bigger and bigger.

Automated processes can help ensure your practice has lower denial rates and healthy cash flow.

With evolving health care initiatives and government requirements like Meaningful Use and the transition ICD-10 codes, small medical practices like yours need expert knowledge as well as tools and they need time to get both of these pieces in line—however, time for many groups, not to mention lack of resources to vet, hire, and train staff to do this work is extremely limited.

 These are just a few reasons why more and more small and mid-sized medical practices are turning to groups like SAVI for denial management systems to help them understand more about claims reimbursement and then automate them to ensure lower denial rates and a healthy cash flow.

 Making a Denial Rate Calculation

 If you’re not sure what your practice’s denial rate is, there is a simple way to calculate it. The AAFP provides this sample calculation and short video to show you exactly how to figure out where your practice stands:

(Total of Claims Denied/Total of Claims Submitted)

  • Total claims denied: $10,000
  • Total claims submitted: $100,000
  • Time period: 3 months
  • $10,000/$100,000
  • 0.10
  • Denial rate for the quarter: 10%

 While this is just at the top end of the industry average, again, your practice goal is to get your number below 5%. We are ready to help you do that!

SAVI’s mission is to help your practice, not matter how small, collect more money faster and increase your practice revenue on a monthly basis. Our strong workflow process includes getting the right information to the insurer the first time, correcting denials within five days, keeping close track of all claims and documenting successes and failures.

The SAVI Group works closely with all types of healthcare practices – from solo practices to large, multispecialty practices – located throughout Southern California, in Los Angeles, Anaheim, Orange, Irvine, San Diego and other communities.

For medical billing services you can count on, call SAVI Group at 714.648.0977 or use our Request a Free Assessment link to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Five Questions to Ask Before Digitizing Patient Records

A good number of small and medium-sized practices have not attested to Meaningful Use yet, mostly because of the cost barrier of implementing an EMR/EHR system. That being said, the penalties have jumped from 1 to 2% and will continue to rise year after year.

If your practice is ready to digitize patient records, you are making the right decision. However, before you press go, consider the following five questions outlined by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Which types of information need to be converted?
  • How far back in a patient's history does the electronic version need to go?
  • If not all information in the paper record is to be digitized, will the practice need to store the original records?
  • Will the files be scanned into portable document format (PDF) documents, which may be faster, or will data be entered into the EMR itself, which will allow it to be searchable and potentially improve continuity of care?
  • How long will the conversion process take?

Small and medium-sized practices have to get costs right at the planning stage. This means knowing what exactly needs to be converted, how much of it and the timeline for conversion. It also means getting a good estimate of cost into your project budget.

Not only will getting an accurate picture of your costs upfront prevent unnecessary delays during the conversion process, but it can also help you mitigate running over costs down the road.

Your Vendor Can Digitize Records for You

Did you know that we can take care of digitizing your patient records? We can work with your practice to ensure that your EMR/EHR system functions with your office workflow as well as work with you through the preliminary stages of your implementation. Contact us to set up a free consultation today. Click here to get more information today!

5 Things To Watch During EHR Migration

Nervous about the migration to Electronic Health Records? You’re likely already making some smart moves to prevent issues, like training employees on the upcoming changes. Another way to prevent problems is to carefully vet your system ahead of time. Look for any inefficiencies in your current workflow. If people are compensating for timing issues by walking down the hall, that’s going to become a problem with an automated system, so fix those now.

 But once the system rolls out, how do you know everything’s under control? Here are five indicators to watch if you want to feel secure things are progressing smoothly.

 1. Recognize that the process begins, not ends, with implementation.

So much planning and assessment goes into the decision to use an EHR system in the first place that it’s easy to think of the changeover as the finish line. This isn’t the case at all. While your provider will work with you to make the process as smooth as possible, your team members are the experts when it comes to your patients and workflows. You’ll need to be vigilant troubleshooters during the migration process, so foster a culture of watchfulness now.

 2. Keep your revenue cycle team in the loop at all times.

You might be surprised how many organizations forget to include members of their revenue cycle management team in the planning and implementation processes. And yet they’re crucial to the process, both because their systems are involved, and because they’re the first people who will notice issues that could lead to revenue backups.

 3. Monitor key metrics throughout the transition process.

The top analytic you’ll want to watch is your DNFB numbers. No billing means no payment, so most practices are very conscious of how long it takes them to bill, but during the migration process this metric may also mean that information is getting lost somewhere between your EHRs and RCM. Climbing denial rates are another “canary in the coal mine”. So monitor those metrics! (This is another reason to include your RCM team on any sort of supervisory committee.)

 4. Assess use of the system.

Obviously, training on the front end can help to ensure that all your employees are using the system. That said, sometimes low usage is an indicator that some part of the system isn’t functioning as it should. Busy employees may look for workarounds in the short term instead of reporting the problem, so it’s important to track usage, but equally important to investigate the reasons behind low participation.

 5. Reward use.

Once any initial wrinkles have been ironed out, maintaining a high level of usage will keep your new system rolling smoothly forward. Incentivizing usage and rewarding employees who are using the new EHR and RCM systems effectively can help!

 Employing these tactics will help your organization make the EHR and RMC migration process as painless as possible.

Make Your EHR Adoption Successful with these Tips

Small medical practices face barriers to EMR/EHR adoption which larger practices do not. For example, many vendors push products on small practices which don’t take into account office workflow patterns. Practices which do not anticipate the change that implementing an EMR/EHR system experience more challenges as they adjust to the system, not to mention lost revenue from time waste, time spent on resolving issues and more.

Successful adoption, on the other hand, is not out of reach. This report from the US National Library Medicine outlines ways for practices to achieve this goal. We share two important tips from the report for you as a practice aiming for successful adoption.

  • Successful adoption requires close attention to office workflow. Many practices are unaware that EHR software can be configured, tailored and expanded to match the specific exam types and workflow needs required by your practice. This is especially important for specialty practices, which require this kind of customization to optimize workflow.
  • Successful adoption requires close attention to the way tasks are organized. When an EMR/EHR system is adopted, one of the very first things that must be assessed is how the front desk works, specifically the tasks that must be managed an organized. These include scheduling, registering new and repeat patients, verifying insurance, dealing with referrals, organizing and collecting reports and information, performing prescription-related activities, organizing the charts, mailing letters, copying, faxing, attending to telephone calls, and issuing certificates. That’s not all. Nurses also are required to perform specific tasks, as do physicians—and while many small practices still use paper to document, moving to digitized records and an EMR/EHR system offers tremendous savings, chief among them time savings.

Learn more about just how interconnected workflow and EMR/EHR implementation are with each other and how moving toward adoption can be a streamlined process, one that will help you maximize revenue and even develop new revenue streams.

Let’s Connect

Electronic health records are vital to your future. As more medical practices of all sizes switch from paper to electronic health records or EHR and meaningful use, SAVI Group is there to help maximize your investment in your chosen EMR/EHR solution or help you find the right EMR solution for your specific needs. Contact us today to set up a consultation or browse our site by clicking here.

How EMRs Can Change Patient Care for the Better

When considering the use of EMRs, we’re quick to think about how they’d affect the workflow in our organization or practice. However, it’s also important to consider the many ways in which EMRs can improve patient care. Today, let’s talk about some of those.

Information Sharing

This is one of the greatest advantages of EMR systems. Information sharing saves physicians time they’d otherwise spend communicating information to other offices. But it also ensures that, as patients travel from one appointment to another, their medical information travels with them. What saves you time saves the patient time, as well. Patients appreciate how information sharing enables them to efficiently share their medical records when they move, change providers, or see a specialist.

Coordinated Scheduling

Long wait times are a top complaint among patients. EMRs can drastically improve this issue within your practice. This is in part because they simplify processes and increase efficiency, but timestamping is another important factor. When we use paper-based systems, we often think we’re keeping more accurate track of wait times than we actually are. Time stamping provides well-documented metrics on every patient, so you’ll be able to see how often you’re missing your target wait time, and you can identify problematic patterns and address them, as well.

 Fewer Errors

Using an EMR is like having the Physician’s Desk Reference in your hand at all times. You’ll be able to quickly and easily check for interactions when prescribing medication. Equally valuable, because of the information sharing we discussed earlier, Emergency Room staff will know about important details of a patient’s record (like life-threatening allergies). This is invaluable when a patient is confused or can’t communicate.

 Improved Diagnoses

All of this connectivity provides robust support for physicians. When you have a patient’s medical history, insurance eligibility, and test results at your fingertips, you have all the puzzle pieces you need to make the most accurate diagnosis. What’s more, by using EMRs, you may save your patient’s life when you’re not the one providing care. Your detailed records could lead to a specialist making the correct diagnosis when they might otherwise have missed something crucial.

 Improved Follow-up

Healthcare organizations that use EMRs are up to 30 times faster than paper-based practices when it comes to identifying a need for follow-up care. EMRs makes it easy to review patient records faster, and that’s a win for everyone. Further, EMRs are great for keeping up-to-date and easy-to-access patient contacts, so when you realize you need to reach out to a patient, it’s easy to do.

ICD-10 Codes: Are You Underusing Them?

 In another blog, we mentioned that one billing practice that raises red flags for insurers is using the same code over and over for multiple patients. The truth is, ICD-10 codes are a departure from older diagnostic coding systems. And limiting yourself to a single code presents problems for both the insurer and the patient. Here are some reasons why:

 You might be accustomed to relying on what are known as “pain codes.” These are ICD-9 codes that refer to the patient’s actual complaints during consultation. But the problem with handling diagnoses in this fashion is that you’re only describing symptoms. Treating symptoms does not necessarily result in increased wellness. ICD-10 codes are meant to encourage and enable best practice when it comes to diagnosis and billing. As a result, ICD-10 works best when you’re choosing codes that address the root cause of a problem.

 The new ICD-10 codes are specific enough that they need to be used together to paint clear “portraits” of individual patients. The use of a single code can come across as inaccurate simply because it’s monochromatic. If it were a painting, a single code would be Snow White in a snowstorm. When that’s all you submit, insurers worry that you’re not investigating deeply enough when you diagnose a patient, or that you’re not understanding the importance of clearly communicating with insurers. Use multiple codes to provide a detailed rendition of your patient’s needs.

There’s an even bigger issue to think about: non-specific codes can cause confusion because they don’t seem to justify the services the patient receives. Whether you recommend additional procedures, referrals, or prescriptions, if the code you’re using doesn’t seem to reflect your reasoning, you’re cruising for a denial of reimbursement. Underusing ICD-10 codes denies patients services.

 Another important factor to keep in mind that individual physicians aren’t islands unto themselves. You are one link in the chain of providers that serve any given patient. The codes you choose will help other healthcare professionals glean insights and draw conclusions about the next steps they should take. There are even “cause codes” that explain how and where an injury occurred. An inaccurate or non-specific code can lead to misdiagnosis and even the implementation of inaccurate therapies. The right code opens a dialogue between the initial physician and specialists.

The goal, obviously, is not to simply pile on additional codes, but rather to thoroughly document a patient’s condition and serve as a valuable participant in the dialogue between providers. By understanding how to apply ICD-10 codes in combination with each other, and implementing them as they were designed to be used, you streamline patient care, billing, and reimbursement.

Coding Changes Are Coming! An EMR System Can Help

The ICD-10 codes have been out for less than a year. ICD-10 sports five times as many codes as ICD-9, and already major code additions and revisions are on the way. 1900 code changes were proposed at the March meeting of the Coordination and Maintenance Committee, covering everything from ectopic pregnancy to the Zika virus. That’s on top of nearly 4,000 new codes already set to roll out in Fall of 2016.

 The increased specificity ICD-10 provides is meant to improve diagnostic coding and even streamline payout rates. But it’s a lot to keep track of, and plenty of practices are intimidated by the prospect, even with this year’s specificity grace period. EMR software can be the partner you need to help you navigate the complexity of the ICD-10 system, and make sure your practice is implementing the changes smoothly. How can it help?

1. EMRs conduct automatic updates. If seventh-character code extensions are intimidating your office staff, imagine how nervous they are about new and revised codes. New codes are longer, too, up to seven digits compared to the three to five digit ICD-9 codes. But EMRs can help make the process of adopting new codes relatively painless. As changes roll out, cloud-based EMR software can roll with them, providing you with constant code updates so that you can be sure you’ve got the correct codes.

 2. EMRs provide easy access to prior patient visits. Because you’ve got centralized, digital records, you won’t have to go hunting for codes. You’ll be able to build a complete portrait of a patient’s needs using multiple codes. You can feel secure that none of that information is being lost or forgotten from visit to visit. And you’ll be able to pass it along to specialists, therapists, and lab technicians, too.

 3. EMRs make finding the right code easier. As we mentioned earlier, physicians are still operating in what the CMS is calling a “specificity grace period”, which means that as long as the codes you choose are in the right family, you’re unlikely to be penalized if they’re not as specific as they ought to be. That said, the grace period will draw to a close right as the 4,000 codes we mentioned earlier are added. So, how do you ensure that you’re choosing the specific codes you should be? Well-thought-out EMR software is designed to help you search for and narrow down codes, saving you time and effort.

 EMRs are not a substitute for medical and billing expertise. It’s important to train employees on ICD-10 using the many free resources available, and make sure they understand how to use the many tools your medical record and billing software provides. But EMRs are a flexible resource that can help a savvy practice improve implementation of ICD-10 codes and stay abreast of updates.