Caution: Process Trap Ahead!
If you outsource your billing, or are considering outsourcing your billing, be careful that you are not dragged into a “process trap”! It’s expensive and wastes valuable time. Let me explain…
Outsourcing the billing process is often an excellent strategy for most medical practices. “Specialization of labor” often leads to higher collections and lower costs. But as a consultant who is very sensitive to process time and costs, my coffee run this morning made me think about some needleless and costly steps that medical offices sometimes go through when outsourcing their billing.
Most friends know that I am a Dunkin Donut person and not a Starbucks fan. I go there every morning without fail. Recently I've been noticing some challenges with the coffee-making process at my local Dunkin Donuts, which really came to a head this morning.
First, for a long time, I have voiced my displeasure that Dunkin' Donuts has expanded their menu so broadly that there are people in line ordering elaborate breakfasts and fancy drinks with whip cream... in the same line that has simpletons like me just looking for a hot cup of coffee. Having 2 separate lines would greatly improve their efficiency and customer cycle time.
But now add a most foolish process. The cashier who takes my order each morning now has to write on the cup that my order includes cream and 2 Sweet'N Low. She took my money and waited for the next customer to walk through the door. The cup was handed off to another specialist who knows exactly how to pour cream and open packages of Sweet'N Low. When that person was finished, the cup was again handed off to apparently the only person who is qualified to pour coffee out of a pot. Meanwhile, the cashier remained in complete downtime until the next customer walked through the door. 8 minutes later, I received my cup of coffee. A process that should have taken the cashier literally 30 seconds to execute, took 16X longer as a result of multiple processes that simulated passing a baton in a relay race.
So how does this story relate to some medical practices that outsource their billing? I have seen practices endure many added processes in order to get the billing information from the office to their biller. Faxes, snail mail, etc. are all frequently employed, which requires time and human resources that all add up.
database in the cloud, all of the time and costs associated with transportation of data to and from your office is eliminated.
And as for me, I'm efficient. During that 8 minute wait for my coffee, I went outside and lit up a cigar. I made them deliver my coffee!
Could your practice benefit from another set of eyes to examine its processes, services, and profitability? Please feel free to email me at John@nemohealth.com for a complimentary Billing Profit Analysis