Computers will fix that, they will fix everything. I think there was a time when some of us even believed that. But, the real lesson of the computer age was that computers are only as smart as the people programming them. When they actually have to use them, the human error increases quickly. None of this is to say that computers don’t make life better and drastically improve things like efficiency. Studies have shown that medical practices can experience a revenue loss between 25 and 30 percent due to coding errors, improper follow-up, underpricing, and missed or unsubmitted charges. These are exactly the reasons why people turn to electronic health records (EHRs) to help reign in waste. But, remember since the computers are working with people behind them, they can’t solve all of your medical billing problems. Let’s identify a few tricky ways you might not notice your EHR costing you savings.
Failure To Predict New Staffing Requirements
One of the first and sneakiest places to hemorrhage revenue occurs after having first implemented your EHR system. You might be an expert on exactly the amount of staff you need in every part of your practice until the day you implement any type of automation like an EHR. The truth is you don’t know exactly how the man hours are going to shift around staff-wise when the efficiency sweeps through your fully EHR-trained staff. Every position will be affected by the move from paper to electronic records and paying attention to where the time savings occur will allow you to make the appropriate personnel cuts. What good is efficiency if you can’t add it to the bottom line?
Another insidious way your revenue can be ferreted away by your EHR is if it includes or works in tandem with a scheduling application. Proper planning and implementation of how customers are contacted for appointment reminders can mean all the difference in whether a cancellation happens or a no-show. Your EHR should make its automated text and email alerts at a time and interval that facilitates reaching the customer and giving them appropriate lead time to verify, rearrange or cancel if necessary. In other words, the system shouldn’t be calling after the office is closed the day before their appointment.
Patient Loss Due To EHR Features
A final way in which your EHR can cost you money is through lost customers. As a medical professional you must be very aware of how your EHR system is affecting your customer experience. While it’s well and good that your efficiency is improved, is your customer now seeing red flags in how their data is being treated? Some of the data-mining features can seem prying and unwelcome to customers. They might get product review emails that seem like the doctor is sending them but are instead auto-generated. Privacy is on everyone’s minds these days and being unaware of this feature and unable to alert a concerned customer ahead of time can result in a lost customer.