After some much needed rest and relaxation with family and friends, these first weeks of 2018 offer a great opportunity to get your practice off on the right foot! Much as you would make personal New Year’s resolutions, there are a few practice resolutions that can help start your office off on the right track and keep it running smoothly into the rest of the year.

Resolution #1: Close out your 2017

The term “outsourcing” is one that carries some fear for many small practices. It implies a loss of control or autonomy which, for an independent physician group, does not pair well with the desire to go into private practice in the first place.

However, today’s healthcare environment presents many unique challenges that can get in the way of independent practices’ ability to remain profitable without making sacrifices to care quality or work/life balance. As such, revenue cycle services provided by trusted billing companies like eMDs have increased dramatically in popularity.

Prescribing controlled substances is as easy or difficult as YOU want to make it.

Three years ago, when my group of nine family doctors considered starting electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS), a healthy debate ensued on the pros and cons of the new workflow. On one side, we had the advancing technology, which streamlined processes, resulted in less paper, and provided easy access for patients. On the other side, we had concerns that an easier process for patients and doctors might enhance abuse and overuse, and reduce oversight.

Citing resources from Stanford, Michigan Medical School, and a recently published study by the American Hospital Association, Healthcare IT News posits that the next big trend in healthcare may just be the growth of “bring your own data” by patients as they visit their healthcare providers.

Most eMDs practices encounter the Training and Implementation Department when they first purchase eMDs software, but our commitment to clients extends well past their go-live date. The department is made up of three distinct teams:

The end of the month serves as a great time to take stock of your practice’s overall performance, identify problems, and track improvement in key areas since the end of the previous month. While it is of course important to utilize the right tools and processes in managing your office on a daily basis, you cannot hope to improve without actually tracking changes and trends over longer periods of time.

Specifically, at the end of every month, you should be reviewing three main areas: financial performance, clinical outcomes, and office productivity.

One of the fastest growing payers in the physician community right now is patients themselves. The rise of consumer-driven health plans, the Affordable Care Act, and the like have led to a move away from comprehensive, low or no-deductible health coverage to plans that offer more freedom and less monthly cost, but ultimately more financial burden on patients when it comes time to actually use them. This arrangement makes financial sense for many patients but can be difficult for their providers.

We have talked about the reasons for claims denials before. Let’s now talk about their impact.

Medical credentialing is a simple process, at least on paper. You send information about a provider’s qualifications – work history, education, certifications, licensure, and so on – to a payer for review and verification. After they go through a thorough vetting process, the payer confirms the provider and begins reimbursing him or her for services rendered.

The joy and pain of change and growth.

Think back to your early career mentors and how you learned pearls of wisdom, work ethic, and life lessons from them. Now, think about what you learned of their career’s foibles, successes, and frustrations. I have marveled at the study of how to manage a fulfilling professional life. How can I minimize health and emotional pitfalls while "keeping it fresh".