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INSIGHT

Five tips to boost efficiency for the front office

By Cheyenne Brinson, MBA, CPA  bio

The front office is the face of the practice, the first impression for the patient, and the beginning of the revenue cycle. They are tasked with multiple assignments, competing priorities, and a sense of urgency from everyone, yet asked to do it all with a smile. Here are five tips to boost efficiency for the front office.


  1. Eligibility verification at the time of the appointment. Eligibility related rejections and denials are commonly number one in terms of volume and rework. These errors are often the center of infamous divide between the front office and the billing office in most practices. Taking a few extra moments at the time the appointment is made to verify eligibility will reduce eligibility related rejections and denials by 95%. Most practice management systems (PMS) have integrated eligibility verification inside the system that allows for instant verification once the insurance information is entered. This process allows for real time correction of any errors and avoids last minute scrambling when a patient checks-in only to discover they now have a different insurance. Verifying eligibility reduces rework and reduces the divide between the front desk and billing office.
  1. Use of a patient portal. Many practices think of a patient portal as a requirement for MIPS but a good patient portal can help streamline front office and clinical operations. Once critical information (name, date of birth, sex, phone number, e-mail, and insurance information) is obtained, the patient could be sent to the patient portal to enter the remaining demographic information, sign practice forms, and enter their clinical history. How the patient portal is presented to the patient is a predictor for usage. Rather than asking the patient “do you have an e-mail“, ask the patient, “What is your e-mail address? I’m sending you a link to our patient portal so that you can complete your information in advance of your appointment. This will save you time at your appointment. Can I count on you to complete this before your appointment?” Obviously not all patients will have e-mail or be inclined to complete the patient portal. But what if 60% of your patients did? The amount of time savings for the front office and clinical team is significant.
  1. Streamline paperwork. Moving paperwork to the patient portal is ideal. But let’s examine what we are asking the patients to sign. If your paperwork is more like a book rather than a pamphlet, it’s time to reexamine the paperwork. Too often, there is much redundancy in the package. What can be streamlined? What can be eliminated? What do you actually use the paperwork for? Patients appreciate condensed paperwork and it saves time for staff.
  1. Ditch the demographic form. Rather than requiring patients to handwrite out an annual demographic form, print a face sheet from the PMS and ask patients to verify the information. If there are changes, make the changes in the PMS. Patients appreciate the streamlined process and the front desk has less paperwork to process (i.e. scan).
  1. Go paperless! Rather than have patients sign multiple forms that staff later have to scan, work with your PMS to accept electronic signature pads. Post privacy policies in the office (framed is a classic touch), and have copies available to those who request a copy. That’s one less form for staff to scan.

Cheyenne Brinson, MBA, CPA, is a consultant and speaker with KarenZupko & Associates, Inc. She delivers pragmatic business solutions that boost revenue, streamline workflow, and increase operational efficiency.


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