Do you remember the days when marketing a medical practice was as simple as word of mouth or a coupon mailer? Advancements in technology and the availability of information on the internet shifted the way marketing and advertising work. Today, medical marketing services involve a lot more online aspects than they did a few years ago.
For some medical practice owners, this presents a problem, as they do not know a lot about online marketing. Fortunately, there are professionals you can hire to do the marketing for you, and there are a lot of benefits to taking this step.
Did you know Google processes more than 3 billion searches every day and more than 1 trillion searches every year? Unsurprisingly, many potential patients turn to the internet to find a doctor or medical practice for their needs. For example, someone in need of plastic surgery would perform a search such as “plastic surgeons” or “local plastic surgeons” to find someone in the area. Making sure your medical practice or doctor information comes up when people perform this type of search is part of medical marketing.
Moreover, you also want to make sure nothing negative comes up about your medical practice (or yourself) when someone does a search on you specifically. Patients who are happy with your services may leave a positive review on the internet to encourage other people to seek medical care from you. Unhappy patients, however, are more likely to leave a negative review. If a wealth of negative information comes up when people look into you or your practice, they might seek medical care elsewhere.
Visibility on social media is also crucial when marketing a medical practice. People spend a lot of time on websites such as Twitter and Facebook. Some even use Facebook as a substitute for a phone book when they look for businesses close to home. So, your medical practice must have a presence on major social media platforms, as well. Fortunately, this is also something a marketing professional could set up for you.
Medical marketing is the easiest way to grow your practice. It increases the exposure of your practice and brings in new patients. Basically, you must keep in mind that acquiring new patients requires patients knowing your practice is an option. If you rely on passing traffic or word of mouth, you limit your patient growth to people who know current patients or people who commute past your practice on a regular basis. Hiring a marketing service and taking the marketing of your practice to the internet allows you to expand who knows your practice is an option for their care.
Any truly successful marketing plan takes time. Even if you hire a professional marketing company, you will not get instant results. When toying with the possibility of hiring a professional to market your practice, it helps to consider it as an investment in the growth and well-being of your practice as opposed to a business expense.
For the owner of a small to medium-sized medical practice, deciding whether to hire a medical billing specialist is an important question as you are fighting to do more with less. Truthfully, the medical billing process is confusing. Things go missing because you stretch yourself too thin, and this ends up leaving extra revenue unclaimed. Hiring a medical billing expert ensures insurance claims go out the right way the first time and guarantees you do not leave any more revenue to collect dust on a table. In fact, there are tons of reasons why this is a great move for your medical practice.
If you are handling all the medical billing for your practice yourself, you do not have any extra time to create monthly, weekly or even daily reports of your cash flow. How cool would it be for you to know what your daily cash flow is? With the help of a medical billing professional, tracking payments from both insurance providers and patients is as easy as looking at a report. With this kind of streamlined reporting, you can know what kind of revenue your practice has and if you have the money to work on future projects.
The healthcare industry constantly grows and expands. Sometimes the government makes regulation changes, and other times insurance providers make them. Your medical billing process must shift and transform to meet the constant changes in these regulations. For someone who does not have experience in medical billing, this is frustrating. Medical billing experts train to accept these changes in regulations. You will not have to worry about falling behind because of an overhaul of billing regulations anymore. You can continue to focus on your business and let the experts handle what you hired them to handle.
Dealing with insurance providers is a headache. It is a headache for the patients who pay for the coverage and it is a headache for the providers – in this case, you – who send the bills. It is common to find yourself in a tug-of-war to convince an insurance provider it should cover a treatment, surgery, or medication offered to your patient. By hiring a professional in medical billing, you no longer have to play this game of tug-of-war. You pass the torch off to someone with more experience and knowledge in the area and focus on other aspects of your practice instead.
It is vital for the medical billing process of your practice to run smoothly. For a small to midsize practice, running into cash flow problems is not an option, as it could result in major problems. Imagine running into a cash flow problem that prevents you from buying medication or equipment you need to continue treating your patients. Small and midsize practice owners stretch themselves thin and cannot afford for this to happen. You hire a medical billing expert because it is not an expense but an investment in the continued growth of your practice.
Determining whether to handle medical billing yourself or to outsource it to a medical contracting services company is not a decision to take lightly. After all, this is a matter of whether you want a third party to handle the financial comings and goings of your business. Unless you have experience and training in medical billing, it is something best left to a professional.
This question is not so different from whether you would perform an appendectomy on yourself or let a surgeon do it. It is in your best interest to let the surgeon do the surgery, just as it is in your best interest to let a medical billing specialist handle the medical billing process. In fact, there are several benefits to outsourcing your medical billing process to an expert.
A medical billing contract company distributes expenses across its clients. As such, it saves money and hires only the best billing experts available. As a client, you reap the benefits in the form of lower costs and higher returns. By outsourcing to a third party, you save money in a lot of other areas, including stress, time, and office space.
It is a common misconception that outsourcing your medical billing process results in a loss of control. Individuals in the medical industry who outsource to third parties, however, agree the opposite is true. Dealing with the billing process of any business in the medical industry is time-consuming. Outsourcing to experts frees you – and your staff – to focus on other aspects of your business. This is the easiest way to maximize the time your staff spends working toward business goals.
The medical industry – and the billing process associated with it – is constantly changing. You finally figure out all the codes and get a system in place to get all the insurance claims submitted promptly, and something changes or evolves in the industry. Medical billing experts train to grow and evolve with the industry. They deal with the headache so you do not have to.
The last thing anyone in any type of business wants is an interruption in the flow of finances. With outsourcing, you have an entire medical staff working to keep up with the medical billing of your business. This decreases (and practically eliminates) the risk of a cash flow issue.
Arguably, one of the key benefits is the freedom to work on other aspects of your business. Whether your business is a medical practice, a hospital, a nursing home, or something in between, there are a lot of roles and responsibilities. The billing and financing take priority because cash is necessary to continue operating your business. Finally, you can address other areas of your business you previously did not have time for.
Outsourcing your medical billing process offers you the following: less stress, more cash, faster cash, more time, and more control. You do not have to worry about learning a new billing system or understanding additional billing codes. You can focus on other things, and the money will continue to flow anyway. You would be hard-pressed to find a reason why you shouldn’t outsource your medical billing.
Medical billing is complicated. A smooth medical billing process, however, is necessary to ensure your medical practice runs smoothly, too. As the owner of a medical practice, you need insurance claims to get approved and the funds to funnel back into your bank account as soon as possible. If you follow this guide – and only work with experts in the medical billing field – you have nothing to worry about.
It is vital to the billing process for your patients to check in before every appointment. This is when your practice notes the patient’s personal information and his or her insurance. If this is a returning patient, you will already have this information on file. However, you still need to have the patient check in to confirm none of the information has changed.
Request that your patients bring insurance information to every single appointment. This is the easiest way to confirm their insurance is still active and providing coverage. Insurance information changes at the drop of the hat, so it is best to confirm this information during check-in before every appointment. If your patient did not bring insurance information, reschedule the appointment and tell him or her to bring their insurance details next time.
When it comes to medical billing, using the proper codes is vital to timely insurance claims. The codes tell the insurance provider what the patient has, what the treatment is, and any medical equipment used during the treatment or testing process. Never rush, and make sure all your staff members understanding the coding system.
The reason using the wrong code is a problem is that you submit the claim to the insurance provider. Imagine it takes two weeks for the insurance provider to improve or deny the claim. If you used the wrong code, the provider denies the claim, and you must refile the claim in two weeks. Then, you wait another two weeks for the approval. So, four weeks later, you receive payment from the insurance provider for the treatment you filed a claim for.
Once you finish filling out the insurance claim, you submit it to the insurance provider to receive payment for the treatment rendered. It is important to make sure you properly fill out the insurance claim and include all details the insurance provider requires regarding the appointment, diagnosis, and treatment plan. Not following the insurance provider’s guidelines will result in a denied claim, requiring you to start the process over again.
Once the insurance provider approves the claim, the provider posts the payment to your medical practice. The bill will reflect $0 if the insurance provider covers the entire treatment. Otherwise, the remainder of the bill becomes the responsibility of the patient. Then, it is your responsibility to reach out to the patient about paying the rest of the bill.
It is in your practice’s best interest to have a collection agency in place for situations where the patient refuses to pay the bill – or cannot pay the bill. A collection agency buys the debt from you and pursues the patient to obtain the debt – with interest – on its own terms.
As long as you follow these five steps, the billing process of your medical practice will run smoothly.