Can my practice benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009? If you are searching for an answer to this question and don’t know where to find it, visit a medical practice consultant. Dedicated to help physicians and practices deliver quality patient care, these consultants are a group of experts that advise physicians on how to improve operational efficiency, profitability, comply with the latest reimbursement laws and also suggest ways to reduce and eliminate billing issues. These experts are also focused on helping physicians improve coding efficiency and evaluate their practice for continued growth.

New and established physicians can approach a medical practice consultant for advice in the many areas such as:

  • Practice Operations
  • Billing
  • Financial Management
  • Coding
  • Practice Start Ups
  • Compliance
  • Marketing
  • Procedure/Policy Development

Practice OperationsPhysicians approach medical practice consultants to improve the workflow of the practice. The consultants typically break your practice into workflow units allowing you to better understand how an individual enters the health facility, how the patient is attended by a physician and how satisfied the patient is with the encounter. By the end of this analysis, physicians are able to determine flaws in patient scheduling, the manner in which he is greeted by the receptionist, and the way the patient is briefed for the medical appointment.

A review of practice operations by medical practice consultants will also provide physicians with useful insight about how patient care instructions are carried out by their employees. Moreover, they will understand how referrals are generated for testing and for other specialists and how the staff handles payment during patient checkout. Patient check-out is the last interaction between the health facility and the patient, and it is important to note how your staff is requesting payment for services rendered.

Medical practice consultants will also review the paper flow in your practice and will carefully examine how forms are used in the health center. They will collect and analyze data related to the usage of forms and the consistency of their use. Once they have the analysis they can suggest which forms should be eliminated, included or updated. The consultants will then examine the medical record flow and the telephone flow in your practice. The medical record flow process will provide information about how health charts are retrieved for the physicians and updated with the latest information. This process will determine the time lost in searching for charts and information that was not available upon request.

An examination of the telephone flow process reveals the way calls are answered in your health care facility. This review will also offer insight into how the call is transferred to the person answering the query. Failing to answer calls professionally often leads to patient dissatisfaction and thus this process is very important to improve in practices. Medical practice consultants usually work with the management to develop a system that establishes rules regarding to the type of calls that will be transferred to staff or the physician. If this doesn’t work they may suggest practices to implement a modern telephony system that can streamline the communications in practices.

Billing- The medical practice consultant will identify problems in your billing department and will help your practice eliminate problems with the government, medical beneficiaries and other payers. The comprehensive review of your billing area aims to address coding accuracy and can therefore help practices determine both under-coding as well as over coding issues.

Practices that have used billing, audit and review services report new efficiencies in the billing department. Medical billing/compliance audit services from medical practice consultants include a comprehensive analysis of a medical practice’s billing, coding, and documentation procedures. This is a useful service that will help physicians determine if their medical practice is following the billing guidelines set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. This US federal agency is responsible for administering Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Physicians can request verbal and/or written reports that usually come with a confidentiality guarantee. Medical practice consultants can suggest a good electronic medical record (EMR) system for practices that can reduce billing errors and improve staff efficiency. Practices can also ask them to help complete the application forms for the stimulus package and increase their chances of obtaining EMR stimulus funds.

Physician Practice Evaluations These evaluations include the operational and financial study of a medical practice to improve its growth and productivity. This entire evaluation process is comprised of a detailed comparison with other established practices in the same state or region to help fill the performance gaps. Some important points evaluated in this process include efficiency of the employees and practice reimbursements. A practice evaluation is done by a professional medical practice consultant to help physicians take charge of their practices by implementing a better fee schedule. This report will help physicians determine if they are charging enough, over-charging or if they are not able to obtain payments according to contracts. A fee schedule analysis by medical practice consultants helps physicians compare their charges with the market rates and make their practice more profitable.

Practice Start Ups Some medical practice consultants also offer medical practice establishment services to their clients to help them start a new practice. Physicians often seek advice from experienced consultants that offer valuable guidance to set up a medical practice. You may have previously worked in a group practice, but starting on your own is a different experience altogether and the chances of success will increase if you can have an expert by your side to help do things correctly the first time. Medical practice consultants help physicians reach their goals by advising on all aspects of the practice including obtaining provider numbers, selecting the right location for setting up a healthcare facility, and purchasing equipment.

These experts will also help you recruit staff, establish managed care contracting policies and develop a marketing plan for your practice. Many medical practice consultants emphasize the importance of a business plan and note that physicians frequently don’t have a plan ready as they are too involved in managing day to day affairs of the practice. Physicians should have a business plan with well established business objectives so that they can sustain and survive in a competitive business environment.

Marketing of Healthcare Services- Practices need a solid business plan and a tailored marketing initiative to reach their financial objectives. Physicians are mostly focused on delivering care to individuals and don’t have the time to market their services. Marketing expertise from medical practice consultants can help practices effectively reach their target market. A practice can reach their dream ROI if it is able to create a good brand in the market. People associate brands with value and if patients begin to associate a practice with quality care, they will then show loyalty and give positive reviews to their friends and family. Medical practice consultants can help practices develop a brand strategy according to their budget and also establish programs to measure their effectiveness.

Procedure/Policy DevelopmentRules and regulations change with time and it’s important for practices to know the changes in government policies. Physicians should also develop rules for their own practices and medical practice consultants can help them. Consultants work with the physicians to design a source document for all of the employees. A detailed policy document also means happier employees who know what is expected from them and are not confused about job responsibilities.

Summary In these difficult financial times it is easy to try to cut corners in order to save money. However, physicians are not known to be gifted business men and women, and a professional medical practice consultant can save you much more than they cost in time, money and efficiency.