Medical practices are being forced to implement many different technologies. From economic pressures to become more efficient and reduce costs to legislative efforts to encourage providers to use electronic solutions, one thing is for sure; Big or small, practices are using more technology than ever before!
Although electronic billing systems (Practice Management Software) has been around for a long time, the typical practice now wants to add Electronic Medical Records (EMR), E-Prescribing, Paperless Offices (Imaging Solutions), On-Line Eligibility Verification, Live Scheduling, On-Line Patient Portals (where providers and patients can communicate securely on-line), and various other electronic solutions to make work more efficient. And, of course, we want all those pieces to seamlessly talk to each other, be reliable, feature rich, robust, and affordable!
Ashron Billing has been providing comprehensive business solutions to medical practices for many years. This includes billing services, management services, computers, I.T. services, implementation, training and compliance – all of which require technology. Ashron Billing gives you the added advantage of dedicated technical expertise and support that will help you maintain and manage your technology infrastructure.
Following you will find brief information on some of the key technologies now available to our clients.
Will all the different technologies work together?
Some of the key concerns practices face is getting all these technologies to work seamlessly with one another and to have them properly integrated. Easier said than done! We have the knowledge, experience and expertise to assist you with implementing these various technologies.
Practice Management Software
Ashron Billing uses one of the leading practice management solutions in the healthcare industry. This system is used by many physicians and billing services nationwide. This system is robust, adaptable, scalable and will fully integrate with other technologies such as EMR, E-Prescribing, etc.
Robust – Feature rich, billing, scheduling, eligibility verification, robust and sophisticated reporting.
Adaptable – It can be used in small practices, large groups, multi-location groups, office or hospital based specialties, etc.
Scalable – It can handle anything from a solo provider to large multi specialty, multi location groups
Appointment Scheduling – A sophisticated scheduling system for making appointments
Eligibility Verification – Verify eligibility in seconds using the built-in eligibility verification function that’s built right into the appointment scheduler
Alerts – Alerts can be activated in various parts of the program including in the appointment scheduler thus improving front office operations.
Insurance Cards and Drivers Licenses – Optional – Insurance Cards, Drivers Licenses, Patient I.D.s etc may be scanned and attached to the patient registration. This improves billing accuracy, billing efficiency and reduces fraud.
Credit Cards Plus – Sophisticated credit card services allowing credit cards to be accepted by the doctor’s staff at the office, by the billing company’s staff over the phone and through an on-line payment portal to pay their balances when they receive a statement. In addition, automatic payment plans can be setup to allow the patients to pay off their balances over time. (Once setup, the system automatically charges the patient’s credit card per the agreed upon payment plan)
Charge and Demographic Capture
Paper Super-Bills – Providers fill out the paper super-bills and then send them to us for processing electronically or via mail or courier.
Super-Bill Scan – Paper super-bills can be coded and scanned so charge information can be captured electronically, thus saving time and reducing errors.
Electronic Super-Bills – Super-bills are filled out electronically directly into the billing program.
Electronic Demographic Data Transfer – Send us your demographic data in electronic format (typically from another system, such as a hospital system) and we can import it into the billing program.
Custom Interfaces – Many practices have a need for capturing/sending demographic and charge information generally not readily available with ‘out of the box’ software. Our technical staff can develop custom interfaces that integrate with your existing technology infrastructure to extract this data as needed.
Claims Scrubbing – Payers are scrutinizing claims more than ever. Ashron Billing deploys several layers of verifications to increase the accuracy of claims, reduce denials and improve compliance with various payer regulations and requirements. These verifications, among others, include using a claim scrubbing program and a manager’s review of the claims batches before they are sent.
Electronic Claims Filing – Whenever possible, claims will be sent electronically. We use one of the leading clearing houses in the country. This results in improved billing, less denials and further allows us to take advantage of the full range of products and services offered by our clearing house.
Un-paid claims are followed up on a regular basis. The billing program has a sophisticated follow-up module with many tools and features to help make this process more effective and more efficient thus reducing the amount of time it takes to get claims paid. Follow-up notes are logged into the system and can be tracked and reviewed as needed.
One of the keys to a successful relationship between a billing service and its clients is excellent communications between the two. As part of the normal course of business, there will be items the billing service will need to request from the client’s offices to facilitate the billing. As claim volume grows, so does the punch list of items needed. The goal is to keep the list short and reduce the turnaround time as much as possible all while keeping full control of the items being requested and their status.
Ashron Billing developed its own “Smart Punch-List Tracking System” known as “TRACKER”. The Tracker is a database program that allows us to quickly, efficiently and accurately enter items needed from our clients and quickly generate a punch-list report. It further allows us to track each requested item, when it was entered, how long it’s been on the punch list, and when we received the requested item. We can further review trends, such as how many items we requested and received in a given period, or, how many items are now open and their estimated values. We can further see how long on average a requested item takes to get to us. We can also see which items are being requested more frequently and address any issues quickly.
Appointment Reminders – Automated telephone appointment reminders and other telephone based reminder services such as past due balances, etc.
Patient Portals – A system allowing physicians and patients to securely communicate on-line.
Monthly Statements – Patients are sent statements monthly (only if they have a patient balance). If the practice accepts credit cards, a special credit card payment option is added to the statement.
Bad Addresses – During the pre-production of the monthly statements, the patient’s addresses are verified against the post office’s address database and fixed or rejected as needed. This information is then relayed to us electronically for updating our system. Address changes are also sent to us by the post office and the system is updated accordingly.
Patient Calls To Our Call Center – When patients call our call center they are routed by our sophisticated phone system to billing professionals who can immediately help them with their billing questions. Calls may be monitored by managers or recorded as needed. Our sophisticated call center phone system will indicate heavy call times thus allowing us to add personnel to the call center as needed for better service.
Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
More and more practices are implementing Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems. These systems offer numerous benefits and efficiencies and improve patient care. Transitioning to an EMR system is the most difficult part of all. Physicians have to adapt to a whole new way of working using sophisticated EMR technology, in an area once dominated by paper charts.
There are numerous considerations when evaluating and selecting an EMR system. Some of the key issues are:
- Is the EMR system easy to use?
- Will the EMR system integrate with the billing system? With the E-Prescribing System?
- How good is the training?
- Will we have adequate support during and after implementation?
- How strong financially is the software vendor? Will they remain in business?
- Is it proven technology? Are there many physicians already using the EMR successfully?
The EMR is CCHIT certified and is one of the leading EMR systems on the market today. It fully integrates with the practice management software, the E-Prescribing component, etc. Contact Us for more information about the EMR
A paperless operation provides many benefits. Documents don’t get lost. They are secure. They are easily retrievable. They can easily be printed, faxed, emailed, annotated, etc, while keeping full audit trails of who did what with a document and when. Automated work flows can be created for certain types of documents thus further increasing efficiencies. A paperless operation also saves space by storing millions of documents electronically.
The heart of a good paperless operation is the scanning solution being used. Ashron Billing has been using “Laser Fiche” for many years. Laser Fiche is a leading scanning and indexing solution used by many billing services, Fortune 500 companies, and many governments, local and municipal operations. Laser Fiche converts paper documents into electronic images that are indexed, OCR’d and securely stored. Once in the system, documents can easily and quickly be retrieved (in seconds) thus helping to make our billing operation a highly efficient one.
Record Keeping – Billing and financial records must be kept for a minimum of 7 years. Once a year, we will provide you with a DVD containing copies of all the images we have scanned for you for the year, including a built-in search engine installed on the DVD. If, for any reason, you need to retrieve any of your documents, you will have them in your possession readily available for search and retrieval. (Since the DVD contains PHI, remember to keep it in a safe and secure place).
Data Protection / Backups / Disaster Recovery
Secure Servers – Our servers are physically secure by several layers of security preventing un-authorized people physical access to them.
Secure Data – The data on the servers is protected by several layers of sophisticated security, thus reducing the chance of un-authorized personnel accessing the data.
Data Protection Daily backups – The data is backed up daily, verified, and then the backup tapes are securely stored off site.
Disaster Recovery – There are several levels of disasters; from minor technical issues such as disk crashes, to a total loss, such as the building burning down along with all its contents including the servers. A good disaster recovery plan should address different types of potential disasters and provide appropriate solutions for each. Whether a total loss or a minor system malfunction, Ashron Billing has you covered. For starters, our servers have hot swappable disks and power supplies, so if a failure should occur, the system remains operational and the repairs can be done without the need to bring down the server. This is just one example of the many technologies we employ. We also have a full time I.T. Staff plus an outside I.T. firm as a backup to handle any emergencies that might arise. Both have 24/7 access to the system and, in most cases, can solve technical problems very quickly. In the event of a total loss, we have additional insurance coverage that specifically covers I.T. Equipment and recovery work, for fire, floods, earth-quakes, etc. This allows us to recover from any such catastrophic event in the shortest time possible.