How Technology is Helping Doctors Stave Off Bankruptcy

These are uncertain times for doctor’s offices. Many are finding that the drop in Medicare reimbursements, coupled with the rise in the cost of doing business, spells trouble for their practices’ bottom line. Dan Rodrigues, CEO of medical billing software company Kareo, sees a need for these medical offices to evolve in order to survive.

“To survive in today’s business environment, doctors need to leverage all available tools,” Rodrigues says. “Doctors routinely use diagnostic tools and differential diagnosis logic to determine treatment plans and assess how well their patients are doing.  To thrive in the business, doctors need to take the same approach to how they run their offices.  Technology now gives tools to track the health of their business – giving diagnostics, if you will, about how successful they are getting paid the money they are owed.”

Cloud-based technology tools also give ways doctors can get paid faster and with less effort than ever before.  And, automated patient outreach mechanisms allow them to provide better communication before, during, and after visits than has ever been possible.  According to Rodrigues, these tools are the secret weapons for doctors to sustain and even grow their businesses during tough times.  ”

By utilizing technology, medical practices can begin to arm themselves to compete in the modern-day marketplace. Rodrigues notes these three things doctors offices are doing to stay competitive:

  1. Eliminating paperwork. This includes electronic medical records, which are a great way to empty out offices of space-consuming file cabinets while saving money on printer toner and paper. Electronic medical records allow for convenient storage and easy retrieval. A study published in Health Econ Policy Law in 2006 revealed that adoption of EMRs increases an office’s productivity by six percent each year. Another process that can be automated is billing, which can save money on postage, printing, delayed payments, and more. Kareo’s Cloud-based medical billing software has integrated electronic claims processing, streamlined collections processing, and patient scheduling.
  2. Shared office space. Another benefit to eliminating paper files is more available office space. Because of this, some doctors are able to team up with other medical practices to share office space. This allows all doctors to share the same front office staff, pooling resources to pay for these workers. The ability to have one central check-in desk also saves on office space.
  3. Using social media to get referrals. Today’s marketing efforts have gone online, with many medical professionals turning to social media to network. Traditional social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are important, as always, but a social media site targeted specifically to healthcare professionals, Doximity, may be more useful. Doximity allows medical professionals to interact with each other, getting in touch with former classmates and colleagues. The site says that more than 80% of American physicians have a message waiting for them at registration. Doximity provides a great way for doctors to get referrals from colleagues, as well as provide referrals.

Automating your business’s processes not only eases the strain on your practice’s budget, but it also establishes your practice as a professional, successful operation. Patients are increasingly seeing traditional appointment books and large shelves of files as outdated and unprofessional. By keeping electronic calendars, using modern technology in billing practices, and creating an active online presence, you’ll continue to draw in new customers and retain existing customers, ensuring your practice’s long-term success.

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About Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who worked in information systems for more than a decade. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.