Healthcare Business Intelligence; What Should Small Practices Do?

A smart doctor feels the pulse of his patient with one hand and that of his business with the other. It is equally important for a medical practice to sustain a green health indicator as it is for a patient to be healthy. It’s also quite likely that the practice’s financial health may dwindle as does the patient’s wellness. In both cases, diagnosing the problem is the most obvious and foreseeable panacea.

Having fancy tools for your financial key performance indicators might help as well, but it is important to raise a solution from within the software that you use on a day to day basis for routine business transactions. Business Intelligence Giants might help you to identify those weak areas but again the price of the tools is mostly skyrocketing, at least from a single doctor’s perspective.  More or less everything breaks down into a cost-to-benefit ratio. Hospitals and large practices have numerous options to help address this pressing issue but when it comes to a small business, a 1-5 doc practice or for that matter a home visit doctor, it is plainly unaffordable for them to implement these high cost solutions.

Business Intelligence for a doctor is to know about procedures that are bringing in the least revenue and insurances that are the quickest in paying their bills. It does not merely end there; granular details about the breakdown of receivables and cash inflow by practice, patients, gender, insurance, procedure, location, provider and an endless list of factors is far from important. A young recent graduate might as well do the entire math, probably by using his custom built excel sheet, but that alone is not effective through labor and time-intensive data extraction techniques.

The problem seems apparently petty but is actually far-reaching and impactful in a not so very good way. The most obvious solutions available in the market generally have more demerits than advantages; high costs, integration barriers, standard modules with lack of customizability and non-availability of relevant information.  The debate does not end with a “possible solution” scenario but a comprehensive and viable cure for a small physician practice. A vendor that must meet all industry requirements and take a step further to provide his clients with a viable, smart and easy-to-use Business Intelligence Module is an obvious remedy. Does your vendor help you with that? In case the answer is no, you might want to set out looking for one.

For Dr. Jeff Holm of North Carolina; his revenue cycle management and EHR vendor MTBC provides him the luxury of one click insight into his practice through a free-for-clients business intelligence module. In an article by Marrisa Torieri published in Physician’s Practice, Jeff says about his experience, “With business intelligence, it shows you ‘is our bell curve matching the industry standard?’ ‘Are we under-coding? Are we over-coding?’ ‘Are physicians seeing the appropriate mix of patients? It’s very helpful to get it, to have a picture of ‘geez, our collections are down this month.’ Those kinds of snapshots we’ve never had before.”

Marissa goes on explaining, “His new system, on the contrary (to the old one), allows him to “drill down,” and request specific data points for comparison purposes. Holm is also able to easily compare payers on several metrics, such as denials, days in A/R, and coverage policies.”

Again, MTBC is not the only choice out there. A little research here and there might help identify appropriate resources for small physicians practice. It’s all about understanding how important it is for you to know how well your practice is performing financially and what you can possibly do to help improve your bottom-line.