Published - March 2014

By Dave Jakielo

Best Practices from Around the Country

What I like most about my vocation of helping billing companies improve their operations and grow their businesses is that I get to meet so many great people who work in this industry from all around the country.

I have never visited a billing company that did not implement at least one unique system that I had not seen handled by any other company. I would share with you some of the best practices that I have witnessed over the past few years.

Here is my top nine list in no particular order:

  • Almost paperless. Companies that receive scanned images from their clients or that scan all paper in their mail rooms and have their employees work from electronic images are more productive. This enables management to track workflows and backlogs throughout the office.
  • Multiple monitors at all workstations. When employees do not have to toggle or continually open and close windows on one screen, they are more efficient and less frustrated. Given that monitors are under $200, I do not understand workstations with only one monitor.
  • Redesigned workspaces. Have some workstations where employees can stand up to work – this provides a nice break from them sitting on their butts all day. By the way, cubicle farms are out. To see new concepts in workspace design, go to Google and type in "open workstation design." You will be amazed at how progressive companies are working.
  • Patient portals. If you want to increase self-pay payments and reduce the number of incoming phone calls, a patient portal should be available for your clients' patients who can then inquire on their accounts and pay their bills.
  • Ban cell phones from the workplace. Provide lockers in the break room where employees can use them on their breaks and during lunch, but do not permit cell phones in workspaces. Allowing cell phones can result in employees taking pictures and passing on PHI.
  • Establish and share goals with every employee. Some examples are to let them know your targets for days in receivable and percentage of accounts over 60 days. Do not keep your goals a secret. Let them create posters by client and track results on the wall for all to see. It is almost impossible to hit a target that you do not know about, so share and discuss how to attain the desired results.
  • Transform your managers into leaders. To achieve this goal, you need to teach your managers how to effectively delegate, encourage them to innovate, and require them to continually teach, train, and mentor their team members. It is important that they understand that you are not paying them for how much they accomplish individually, you are paying them for what they can achieve through others.
  • Abandon conventional employee reviews. Outdated employee evaluation forms that utilize a rating scale from 1 to 5 where everyone is always ranked a 4 or a 5 do not have much value. Instead, you should adopt a less burdensome approach that can be reviewed with each employee quarterly instead of the traditional annual review. A review only needs to include four sections: what the employee should keep doing, stop doing, and start doing, and what they would like to learn.
  • Cost saving and sharing programs. Why not take advantage of the brains that you are surrounded with every day? Let employees know that they can earn rewards for coming up with cost saving ideas. The rewards could vary; you could offer a percentage of the actual cost savings, paid time off, gas cards, etc. The idea is to get everyone thinking, "How can we do things better, faster, and cheaper?"

The above list does not comprise not all the great ideas that have been adopted by the best companies, but I wanted to share some of the most popular with you. Remember that our industry is changing at a very rapid pace – if you do not change with it, you may be left behind.

Dave Jakielo, CHBME, is an international speaker, consultant, executive coach, and author, and is president of Seminars & Consulting. Dave has been helping companies grow and improve their profitability for over four decades. Sign up for his FREE weekly Success Tips at Dave can be reached via email; phone 412-921-0976.

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