MGMA recently released its 2012 report on Performance and Practices of Successful Medical Groups. The report shares data from 2,119 practices, and finds 348 to be “better performers” thanks to their success in patient satisfaction; profitability and cost management; productivity, capacity and staffing; and accounts receivable and collections.
Perhaps most interesting in this report is being able to see how “better performers” compare to other practices across a variety of measures. Below, I’ve called out four measures that are related to patient communication and certainly contribute to WHY these guys are known as the “better performers”.
- Have an emergency preparedness plan – Better Performers – 85.9%; Others – 77.0%
Being able to quickly reach all patients in a time-sensitive situation is a key component of an effective emergency preparedness plan. Do you currently have the ability to contact all patients in a moment’s notice? What steps they need to take to reschedule appointments, which locations have adjusted office hours due to the emergency, etc. The “better performers” have a plan.
- Use a practice website to market the practice – Better Performers – 81.8%; Others – 61.9%
A strong website is essential to any thriving business. And the data tells us that healthcare is no different. A strong web presence has jumped ahead of traditional advertising media as a visible promotional resource for both potential and current patients. Do you have a practice website today? If so, is it being used to its fullest potential?
- Use an automated telephone call reminder system – Better Performers – 54.5%; Others – 36.8%
Why automate reminder calls to patients? Well, we could devote an entire blog to this issue alone, but it really boils down to two things – consistency and cost. Automating the calls guarantees they’ll happen day-in, day-out. Since reminder calls tend to be low priority when other issues arise in the office, automating the task ensures patients get the info they need. From a cost standpoint, automating calls is far less expensive than mailing reminders (often over $1 per communication!) or devoting expensive staff hours to the task. The “better performers” definitely get it.
- Percentage of total A/R aged 0-30 days – Better Performers – 68.2%; Others 54.0%
The greater percentage of A/R you have under the 30-day mark, the better. It means you’re collecting before balances extend further into delinquency. Why are “better performers” able to collect earlier? Many are contacting patients earlier in the cycle. Many are offering patients convenient options to pay over the phone. If you haven’t done it recently, look into areas where third parties can help you increase communication and bring more convenient payment options to your patients.