RevenueXL EHR - Enhancing the Value of Belonging to Professional Organizations

Posted by: Shreya Iyer

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This post has been contributed by Alan Edwards who holds an MBA in Health Care and is a former hospital CEO and group practice administrator. He continues to be active in the field and often writes on health insurance and health policy.

Practice with ProfessionalEven before the Affordable Care Act became law, health care delivery, and back office operations changed with seemingly break neck speed (2013 ICD-9 – 805.00 /2014 ICD10 - S12.9XXA {coding humor}). Unrelated regulations about electronic medical records (EMR) sometimes called electronic health records are in play as is switching diagnostic and procedure coding. These changes alone are tsunami force changes in most small and medium-sized practices and medical clinics.

Sometimes, providers rely on vendor supplied information upon to give solutions to major issues, though it is likely that wealthier practices hire consultants. But, consultants eventually leave, and when their engagement ends, returns of your phone calls take longer and may stop altogether.

Providers Should Turn to Professional Organizations and Associations for Help

An often-overlooked asset for free help is professional associations and organizations. Clinical and administrative staffs often need continuing education credits to stay licensed or certified; and many jobs need certified staff. In the clinical areas, besides physicians, nurses, medical technicians, and even certified medical assistants have licenses and/or certification. In administrative areas coders and billers, practice managers and other titles have certification and licensure requirements for CME. So, most of these employees belong to a professional organization that can offer their course work.

As a former practice administrator of a small (three doctor) surgical ophthalmology practice my practice belonged to what was then called the Medical Group Practice Management Association (MGMA). My clinical practice also paid for my personal membership.

Although membership supported advocating for medical practices in Washington, they also provided many workshops and how to meetings. But, I soon learned that our practice’s membership in the American Academy of Ophthalmology was far more valuable.

When searching for the best value in malpractice insurance in our state the AAO had done most of the legwork, much like Consumer Reports, but the information was disseminated free. Coding questions? – they have resources online for the use of member practices.

More important are the networking opportunities. Being part of the largest group of eye care professionals in the United States meant plenty of opportunities to network over the 20 years I spent in ophthalmology practice administration. I used my network too – calling a colleague who was active in coding at the organizational level often got my question answered quicker than the AAO online resource would.

When our practice was considering new equipment, a few calls and I would find out from some peers whether their experience with the equipment was good or bad.

As Much as Possible, But Not Too Much

While my membership helped the practice, the memberships of clinical and administrative staff in their own associations also helped us. Each was able to build small networks, usually within the state. But billers and coders had peers and associations from which they got information. Clinical staff learned about new ways to do things that were better and more economical. In addition, everyone felt valued because the practice paid for memberships, some staff, such as receptionists did not belong to organizations but went to job-related local classes or meetings to learn about issues ranging from greeting patients to the essential importance of entering correct data at registration.

Professional organizations are a reliable unbiased source of information that at times is essential to the operations of the provider. But, to prevent information overload and never-ending dues payments practices should have a written policy allowing only one membership for each staff member who needs continuing education credits, the organization must give such education, and the policy should stipulate how often an employee may go to an annual meeting – once every other year – or whatever the practice is comfortable with allowing. Other meetings out-of-town are subject to review and approval.

Other Free Sources of Practice Operations Help

While I am a major fan of professional organization membership, one other source for getting questions answered was my vendors. Today, not only are vendors available by phone, most have websites and their sites have blogs that are topical and often answer questions that are difficult to wrestle with successfully.

One example of a vendor that supports their practice base is RevenueXL. They offer medical billing services and electronic medical records software to medical practices. The connection is obvious as the medical record drives billing. Their blog and news ticker is available to the public. Information from either is concise, relevant, and feasible. Check their site out; and for information on billing help and EMR implementation call them at 888-461-9998.

Questions? Contact us Today

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