Medical Billing Companies, Don’t Miss Free Webinar on 3 Top Trends in Healthcare

Lea Chatham July 30th, 2015

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3 Growing Healthcare Trends Billing Companies Can’t Ignore
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
10:00 AM PT, 1:00 PM ET

Understanding Growing Trends in Healthcare Helps You And Your Customers! Tweet this Kareo story

Healthcare is changing and providers are working hard to adapt to these changes. This can be an opportunity for medical billing companies who step up to the plate.

In this free webinar, learn about coming trends that are affecting your customers and prospects and how you can help them meet these challenges and succeed.

You’ll learn: 

  • Changing patient expectations and how practices can meet them
  • The growing role of practice marketing in recruiting and retaining patients
  • The shift to value-based reimbursement and the role patient engagement plays

Register now to learn how you can take advantage of these trends to grow your company.

Register Now

About the Speaker

John Sung Kim is Kareo’s technology evangelist and the founder and founding CEO of Five9 (NASDAQ: FIVN) widely recognized as the leading company in the contact center industry. He’s acted as a consultant to numerous startups including LGC Wireless (acquired by ADC), Qualys (NASDAQ: QLYS), RingCentral (NYSE: RNG), Odesk (merger w/ Elance), 6connect (funded by Hummer Winblad) and M5 Networks (acquired by ShoreTel).

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ICD-10 Changes for Diabetes Just the Beginning for Endocrinologists

Lea Chatham July 29th, 2015

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ICD-10 Resource CenterBy Lisa A. Eramo

As with many specialties, endocrinology will see several diagnosis code expansions and changes in ICD-10. Tweet this Kareo story

 

Although EHRs will certainly help guide physicians, it’s important for physicians to understand the logic behind the changes and how they may eventually improve clinical care protocols. Betty Hovey, CPC, COC, CPB, CPMA, CPC-I, CPCD, director of ICD-10 development and training at the AAPC provides an overview of some of ICD-10 changes for several conditions relevant in this specialty.

1. Diabetes. ICD-10 now includes a whole host of combination codes that denote the specific type of diabetes as well as any complications or manifestations. The biggest change for physicians is the elimination of designations such as “controlled” and “uncontrolled.” Instead, the ICD-10 index directs coders/physicians to record diabetes by type. Consider these tips for compliant documentation:

  • Document the cause of type of diabetes (i.e., secondary due to underlying condition, drug- or chemical-induced, type 1, type 2, or other).
  • Document the presence of any organ system affected (e.g., kidney, neurological, or circulatory).
  • Document any specific complications (e.g., polyneuropathy, hyperglycemia with coma, or cataract).
  • Identify whether the patient is insulin-dependent (for patients with non-type 1 diabetes).

Consider these tips when selecting a code in the EHR or circling a code on an encounter form:

  • Note that gestational diabetes is in a separate code category: O24.-.
  • Although diabetes is a combination code in ICD-10, there may be instances in which coders/physicians need to assign an additional code. Assign an additional code for the following, when applicable:
    • Underlying conditions (e.g., congenital rubella, Cushing’s syndrome, cystic fibrosis, malignant neoplasms, malnutrition, or pancreatitis)
    • Insulin use (for patients with non-type 1 diabetes)
    • Specific stage of chronic kidney disease
    • Specific site of the diabetic ulcer, including specific anatomical location, laterality, and severity
    • Poisoning due to drug or toxin
    • Specific drug or toxin that causes the adverse effect
  • Note that coders/physicians may need to report multiple diabetes codes if patients have more than one complication or manifestation. For example, a patient presents with type 2 diabetes with diabetic neuropathic arthropathy as well as diabetic dermatitis. Report E11.610 as well as E11.620.
  • Endocrinology practices may want to consider creating a separate cheat sheet specifically for diabetes that includes codes for diabetic pressure ulcers. Non-pressure ulcer codes are incredibly detailed in ICD-10, requiring physicians to capture severity as follows:
    • Limited to breakdown of skin
    • With fat layer exposed
    • With necrosis of muscle
    • With necrosis of bone

2. Menopause. ICD-10 separates premature menopause into asymptomatic vs. symptomatic. Be sure to document any symptoms such as flushing, sleeplessness, headache, or lack of concentration associated with the premature menopause.

3. Goiter. ICD-10 includes codes for iodine-deficiency related goiter. Be sure to document whether this type of goiter is diffuse (endemic) or multinodular (endemic).

4. Cushing’s syndrome. ICD-10 codes for Cushing’s syndrome now denote the following types/causes, each of which must be reflected in physician documentation:

  • Pituitary-dependent
  • Nelson’s syndrome
  • Drug-induced
  • Ectopic ACTH syndrome
  • Alcohol-induced pseudo

5. Gout. As with many diagnosis codes in ICD-10, gout now includes specific anatomic location and laterality. Be sure to document the following elements:

  • Cause (i.e., idiopathic, drug-induced, secondary to renal impairment, or other causes)
  • Episode (i.e., chronic, acute, flare, attack, or podagra)
  • Location (e.g., right foot, left hand, right elbow)
  • With or without tophi (for chronic gout)

6. Endocrine and metabolic disorders. In general, endocrinologists should specify the disorder, disease, defect, deficiency or syndrome as well as any underlying conditions and the significance of any abnormal lab findings. For vitamin/mineral/other nutritional deficiencies, specify the specific vitamin and/or mineral. For metabolic disorders, specify the amino acid, carbohydrate, or lipid enzyme deficiency responsible for the metabolic disorder. General ICD-10 tips The sheer number of codes has increased significantly in ICD-10. Many of the diagnoses that endocrinologists report frequently are among these expansions. It’s important to understand coding and documentation changes to ensure accurate revenue and data integrity. Consider these tips:

  • Work with your EMR vendor to ensure that all ICD-10 diagnoses are captured correctly and with as much detail as possible.
  • Don’t select the first diagnosis code that appears in the EMR. Dig deeper to ensure that the code you select is an accurate depiction of the patient’s presentation.
  • If the practice uses a superbill or encounter form, ensure that this document has been updated for ICD-10. Double check all codes for accuracy. Also consider deleting diagnoses that the practice doesn’t report frequently to make space for diagnoses that have been expanded in ICD-10.
  • Avoid unspecified codes, when possible. For example, documentation such as “diabetic ulcer” maps to type 2 diabetes with an additional code for an unspecified ulcer with unspecified location and severity. Payers and auditors will likely penalize practices for these types of codes.

For more ICD-10 tools and resources, visit the ICD-10 Resource Center.

About the Author

LisaEramofreelanceLisa A. Eramo is a freelance writer/editor specializing in health information management, medical coding, and healthcare regulatory topics. She also works as a healthcare content specialist for Agency Ten22. She began her healthcare career as a referral specialist for a well-known cancer center. Lisa went on to work for several years at a healthcare publishing company. She regularly contributes to healthcare publications, websites, and blogs, including the AHIMA Journal and AHIMA Advantage. Her focus areas are medical coding, and ICD-10 in particular, clinical documentation improvement, and healthcare quality/efficiency.

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3 Easy Things You Can Do to Ensure Positive Online Physician Reviews

Lea Chatham July 28th, 2015

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By Molly Maloof, MD

There isn’t a formula for making sure you have a phenomenal online presence and plenty of positive physician reviews, but in my experience it comes down to three main practices.

I think these are the three easiest ways to ensure you are getting positive online reviews. Tweet this Kareo story

 

 

 

Claim All of Your Pages!
If you do a Google search on your own name you might either be missing listings (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+), or you may be unknowingly listed on a wide range of physician rating sites like Yelp, ZocDocHealthGradesVitalsRateMDs, and UCompareHealthCare.

Go to each listing and register your practice’s professional page so you can make updates and add information, such as your email, phone number, address, or website address.

If you don’t do this you risk not being seen by people going online to review you. Especially important is claiming your Yelp business listing for free because this will enable you to correspond with people who review your business, privately or publicly.

Automate Monitoring Of Your Web Presence:
To ensure your online reputation is solid, keep a close eye on it and monitor social media channels for your mentions. You can this by:

  • Doing an occasional Google search of your name to see what first pops up (e.g. see Healthgrades, Vitals, etc…).
  • Using Google alerts to monitor for your name published online.
  • Using Google alerts to monitor your personal business page’s Yelp URL.

By monitoring your web presence you can keep track of all of the positive things people are saying about you. You can post these remarks on your website, because people love to read what others are saying about their experience working with you.

Use a Practice Marketing Solution to Optimize Your Online Presence
Practice marketing platforms like DoctorBase and ZocDoc enable your practice to follow up with patients after a visit and encourage them to post reviews. This process helps ensure that these are verified patients from your panel leaving the reviews. These reviews can be posted to your website and can be seen by potential patients when they search for a provider in your area. You can also filter for the most positive reviews and syndicate these to Google and Yelp!

For more tips on how to manage your online reputation, download this helpful guide.

About the Author

Dr. Molly Maloof is passionate about using technology to improve the lives of patients and health care providers. She graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine and was a pediatric resident in the Kaiser Permanente Oakland/Berkeley MPH program before making a career shift into digital health. She advises and directs early stage health technology startups with her carefully honed skills in communication, strategy, research, and product development. She is a licensed California physician and runs a boutique medical practice in San Francisco specializing in health optimization. 

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6 Common Pitfalls in New Practice Start-Up

Lea Chatham July 24th, 2015

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New Practice Start Up Guide

By Adria Schmedthorst

Starting a new medical practice is an exciting time but it also comes with many new challenges. Doing it right from the beginning will help you to avoid unnecessary stress and expense.  Avoid these six common pitfalls and get your new medical practice started on the right foot. Tweet this Kareo story

 

Pitfall #1 – “I don’t need any help.”

This type of thinking is very common in physicians starting a new practice. After all, it takes an independent mind-set to decide to open your own business. So, while understandable, choosing to go it on your own is a big mistake. At minimum, you need a tax advisor, legal advisor, and a practice start-up expert to guide you through the process of starting your own practice. Refusing help now will cost you later.

Pitfall #2 – Credentialing Woes

Waiting too long to start your payer credentialing process will result in lost revenue. There are many steps in the credentialing process that are out of your control. Paperwork backlogs and unexpected waits could result in you opening your doors without credentialing in place and providing services for which you may not be reimbursed.

Pitfall #3 – Change Orders

When you begin the process of finish out of your office space, make sure your construction plans are right the first time. Whether you are only making minor changes or starting with new construction, it is important to get out the tape measure and masking tape, lay out rooms, and decide if it works for you. Alterations to construction plans after the work begins are known as change orders and you will pay for the change plus a 15-25% fee.

Pitfall #4 – “This is the way we have always done it.”

Being set in your ways is a sure way to limit the success of your practice. Be open to new ideas from your staff members, and ask your staff to be open to them as well. New ideas feed practice growth.

Pitfall #5 – Over/Under Staffing

When starting your practice, it is critical to get your staffing needs right. Under staffing will cause your patient flow, customer service, and revenue to suffer. At the same time, hiring too many staff members will leave you paying higher employee costs at time when you should be careful with every expense. Instead, run a lean, cross-trained team for practice success. As a rule of thumb, a single physician practice seeing 20-30 patients per day should run smoothly with 3-4 team members.

Pitfall #6 – Failing to Market

Failing to market is planning to fail. From your website and social media to press announcements and community events, do not neglect your marketing. Be present in your community and make a genuine grass-roots effort to encourage patients to see you as a resource.

As you make the journey to independent physician and practice owner, you will encounter many pitfalls along the way. By preparing for them in advance, you will ensure the success of your practice and make opening your new practice a much more enjoyable experience.

If you are thinking about starting your own practice, download this helpful guide.

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3 Ways to Improve Medication Adherence with Digital Health

Lea Chatham July 23rd, 2015

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By Teresa Iafolla

How do we get patients to take their medication?

That’s the question on the minds of many in the healthcare space. Only 50% of patients take their medications like they should. Medication adherence continues to be a huge challenge to patient outcomes, especially for patients with multiple or chronic conditions. On top of that, medication noncompliance costs our healthcare system a whopping $289 billion every year.

Luckily, the rise of digital health is bringing a variety of tools to improve medication adherence among your patients. The even better news is that most are easy-to-use, and many are free. Using a few of these digital health tools in your practice could make the difference in helping patients stick to a treatment plan and avoiding an unnecessary hospital visit.

Here are the top ways you can use digital health to boost medication adherence. Tweet this Kareo story

Patient Education
While plenty of patients know they should take their meds, some may not fully understand the importance of sticking to a medication plan and following their doctor’s orders exactly. A common example is finishing a full course of antibiotics – once patients start to feel better, they might think, why bother taking the rest?

Of course, it’s always good to talk to patients directly about this. But why not also prescribe them a game to show them? Try recommending a creative, gamification app like PatientPartner — a smartphone app that turns patient education into a “choose your own adventure game.” Patients can pick a character and then watch how the story unfolds as they make decisions that affect the character’s health. This show vs. tell approach could allow you to connect with patients who might not otherwise understand the full consequences of medication noncompliance.

Medication Management
Managing medication plans can be incredibly tricky and time-consuming. Luckily, it’s never been easier than during the age of smartphones. For patients who are managing multiple medications, tracking treatment for the whole family, or just have a lot going on and need some automated reminders, recommend an app for medication management.

While there are many great apps to choose from, start with MediSafe. It’s free, available on iOS and Android, has a clean, easy-to-use interface, and can even alert a friend or family member if the patient forgets their medication.

Better Patient Engagement and Communication
Another top reason patients don’t follow their medication plans – they’re not sure how. Maybe they’re confused about instructions or worried about side effects. Or maybe they’re not convinced they need to take all of the medications they were prescribed.

The best way to combat treatment nonadherence in this case is to encourage open communication with your patients. Make it easy for patients to check-in with questions and concerns. In a world where the average wait time for an appointment can be weeks and office phones are often busy, some patients will simply let their questions go unanswered.

Digital health options like a telemedicine app that lets you video chat patients, or secure email messaging within a patient portal can make you more accessible to patients. The more convenient it is to talk with you, the more likely your patients will reach out to resolve any questions or concerns and continue their treatment on schedule.

As the digital health market continues to grow, we’re likely to see huge improvements in patient treatment adherence. Start implementing a few of these digital health solutions in your practice today and watch the positive effects on your patient care outcomes.

About the Author 

Teresa Iafolla is Director of Content Marketing at eVisit, a physician-first telemedicine solution connecting providers to their patients via secure, video chat. Teresa manages and writes for the eVisit Blog, a resource for physicians and practice managers trying to improve their practices and boost revenue. To contact Teresa with questions or comments, email tiafolla@evisit.com.

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Infographic: The State of Patient Collections

Lea Chatham July 22nd, 2015

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It’s hard to see much beyond ICD-10 right now, but we all know there is more to getting paid than coding. And patient collections is a growing concern for many practices as patient out of pocket increases. The days of writing off patient balances are over. This infographic provides an overview of the current state of patient collections and how you can do a better job of collecting what you are owed. Tweet this Kareo story

Kareo Patient Collections Infographic

Interested in learning more? Join expert Audrey McLaughlin at her webinar on July 23,  4 Strategies to Improve Patient Collections.

Register now!

 

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Top 20 Medical Practice Websites

Lea Chatham July 21st, 2015

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Kareo combed through hundreds of medical practice websites looking for great examples of practices that are really doing it right. Of course the design was a factor, but even more important was that the site had at least some of the tools that improve the patient experience like online scheduling, patient reviews, maps, patient forms, patient portal, and more.

Here is the list of Kareo’s top 20 medical practice websites for 2015. Tweet this Kareo story

The top three picks combined design, easy navigation, and lots of patient-friendly features.

Dixon Center for Integrative Medicine: This site not only looks great but offers online scheduling, patient forms, the ability to follow on social media, and an informative blog, but it is also simple to navigate and practice information is easy to find.

Marque Urgent Care: This site offers lots of great features, including online check in and location wait times, which are great tools for an urgent care.

Central Virginia Family Physicians: This site offers many nice patient-centric features along with a visually pleasing design. The ability to get an appointment now and quickly see locations, insurance plans, and access the patient portal are all great for busy families.

Congratulations to these top three and the other 17 sites that also provided some great examples of engaging features and design. Check out these other terrific examples of practices doing websites right.Tweet this Kareo story

Advanced Spine and Rehab of Utah

AFC Physical Medicine & Chiropractic Centers

Anna Family Healthcare

Arta Dermatology

Arthritis Clinic of Central Texas

Core Strategies Physical Therapy

Doctors Walk-In Urgent Care

Florida Retina Specialists 

Hope Therapy Center

Hummel Women’s Health

Lander Chiropractic

Meek Chiropractic

Paseo Family Physicians

Pinnacle Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine

Specialized Physical Therapy

Weber Facial Plastic Surgery

Westgate Skin & Cancer

Kareo’s guide, 5 Simple Steps to Build a Website Your Patients Will Love, lays out the requirements of a great website that can help you get found by new patients and help keep your existing patients engaged. Here’s what you need to know to get started:

  1. Select a website vendor that does medical practice websites. It’s more affordable than you think, and you’ll get more for your money.
  2. Keep it fresh. You’ll need a content management system (CMS) so you can make updates and add new content once the site is done. A dynamic website improves search engine optimization (SEO) and is more engaging for patients.
  3. Stay flexible. Technology is always changing. Choose a responsive website that is optimized for mobile, tablet, and desktop viewing. Consider mobile services, such as text reminders through a solution like DoctorBase from Kareo.
  4. Make it actionable. Employ tools that enable patients to take action, such as using DoctorBase to enable patient acceptance of appointment reminders via text and email. A patient portal can provide many actionable features and help you stay more connected to patients while also improving their compliance and wellness.
  5. Keep it simple. Avoid fancy, complicated designs. What patients really want are helpful resources, tools, and information. Make them easy to find with clear navigation.

For more details and additional tips, download the guide today.

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Infographic: Do People Trust Telemedicine?

Lea Chatham July 20th, 2015

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Free Webinar: 4 Strategies to Improve Patient Collections

Lea Chatham July 16th, 2015

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4 Strategies to Improve Patient Collections
Thursday, July 23, 2015
10:00 AM PT, 1:00 PM ET

Reduce patient A/R and get paid what you’re owed with the tips provided in this free webinar!Tweet this Kareo story

 

Patient due amounts now make up over 30% of your practice’s A/R. As soon as a patient leaves the practice your chances of collecting the full patient amount due starts to go down. You just can’t afford not to get paid if you want to stay independent and competitive in today’s healthcare market. 

In this free webinar, practice management expert Audrey McLaughlin walks through 4 things you need to do now to improve patient collection. 

You’ll learn:

  1. What you need to include in you patient payment policy
  2. How to get staff to collect all copays at the time of check in
  3. Setting up a credit card on file program
  4. Best practices for getting the most from patient statements

Make sure you get paid what you are owed. Register today to learn how!

Register Now

About the Speaker

Audrey MAudrey “Christie” McLaughlin empowers physicians to grow their practices and better the lives of the patients they serve. Audrey is the CEO of McLaughlin Sales Group LLC, creator of the series Customer Service from the HEART, and creator of physicianspracticeexpert.com, a sales and consulting firm that specializes in the business of medicine. Audrey has more than 12 years of experience in helping physicians and hospitals provide the best medical care while growing revenue and keeping costs down. She is an expert, entrepreneur, author, speaker, and is active volunteer in her community.

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Get Tips to Improve Patient Collections and Grow Your Practice in July Newsletter

Lea Chatham July 14th, 2015

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The July edition of the Kareo Getting Paid Newsletter offers tips on improving patient collections, preparing for ICD-10, and growing your practice. The newsletter also provides a chance to discover upcoming events, news, and resources from Kareo. Plus, learn about how to register for upcoming webinarsRead all this and more now! Tweet this Kareo story

 

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Welcome to Getting Paid, a weblog by Kareo offering ideas, news and opinions about medical billing and practice management with the goal of making medical billing easier and yes, getting you paid. Visit the Product Blog for more information on our products.

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