By Lorie Lippiatt, OD
By implementing electronic health record software in your practice, you can make the billing and coding process more efficient, and thereby improve your insurance reimbursements.
Coding & Billing via EHR
and error reduction
Improved 70 percent over paper-filed coding and billing.
Speed of Reimbursement
Claims paid 50 percent faster using electronic billing
EHR software enables you to begin the coding and billing process before the patient has even left your exam chair. Because our EHR system, ExamWriter, is fully integrated with our OfficeMate practice management system, the billing and coding process starts in the exam room. When I have completed the exam, I use the Autocode feature to populate the Diagnosis codes from the exam IMPRESSIONS, autocode any special testing procedures performed, then link the codes directly to the appropriate insurance carrier with the correct diagnosis. This makes the check-out process for my office staff more efficient, as the completed coding appears in OfficeMate to be added to the fee slip.
Coding & Billing Using EHR
2. Hands-on. Take live classes in which staff get hands-on practice using the software.
3. Practice. Practice with a “fake” patient to give staff a sense of how the system will play out in your office.
4. Daily reports. Run daily reports on factors like no-show patients to get a greater sense of your profitability.
5. Reconcile. Reconcile accounts to ensure day tickets equal deposit tickets.
EHR Enables Seamless Work Flow
The above mentioned work flow makes it seamless for staff. They don’t have to guess which procedures were performed on patients. For optical goods, the items are scanned into the system using a bar code scanner. This has increased the billing and coding efficiencies in the practice as there were often procedures performed that fell through the cracks such as retinal photography.
Train Staff Comprehensively
The training process for our software includes: live webinar classes, taught by skilled trainers; 24/7 web-based prerecorded trainings; and on-site live training. We take part in the live classes, so staffers can easily get their questions answered and also make use of the prerecorded trainings. I have found that even for experienced software users, the prerecorded trainings are great refresher courses. They are short and can be completed during slower days in the office or at lunch.
The biggest mistake I see is lack of training. The staff must realize that the training tools are available and take an active role in completing the classes. Software support is not meant to be used as training courses on software! There is also a “knowledge base” available online in written form where you can find similar questions to those your staff has. You can print the answers and distribute them to your staff. Having regular staff meetings to address coding and billing issues also is important so that everyone is on the same page.
Invest in Staff Training
We have 12 staffers, all of whom have been trained to use the system. I have one billing staffer dedicated to processing for all insurance claims. Some staffers caught on faster than others. The prerecorded training sessions are important, as staffers who are weak in some areas can go back and watch additional training sessions.
Emphasize Precise Input
Software acts as a function of input and output. You can’t get out what you don’t put in. If the doctor takes a proactive role and codes the exam and procedures, links the diagnosis codes and insurance carriers from the exam room, it makes it much easier for staff to complete their roles.
We run daily reports on production, bank deposit tickets, patient no-shows and a Day Sheet summary. Daily reconciliation of the accounting protects against embezzlement and allows for proper accounting.
Taking the time to accurately input coding and billing data into your EHR system plus training staff to make use of that information will enable your practice to streamline work processes and increase the speed of reimbursements.
Related ROB Articles and Multimedia
Lorie Lippiatt, OD, is the founder of The Salem Eyecare Center, Inc., in Salem, Ohio. To contact her: LLLEYEDOC@aol.com.