Determining if outsourcing is right for you and choosing the best vendor partner will not only buy you more time but will improve your results as well.
As an eyecare provider, your professional life likely has become a series of acronyms. HIPAA protects patient privacy. MIPS helps to ensure quality care and encourages consistency. OSHA assists in keeping everyone safe. Documentation takes longer, staffing costs more, insurance companies pay less and the expectations of your role as a provider continue to rise.
As the hours you spend on non-patient care continue to increase, the reason you went to optometry school – to take care of patients – might be starting to take a backseat to all these other expectations. If this describes your practice, it might be time to start looking for industry partners for assistance.
Outsourcing tasks that require specific skill sets is a long-term strategy for success in many industries, including healthcare. Outsourcing allows a practice to focus on its core mission of taking care of patients while hiring specialized vendor partners to assist with the routine tasks required of a successful and compliant practice. It can be a cost-effective way to save time, control costs and improve operational performance.
To determine if outsourcing is right for your practice, here are three key areas to consider.
IS YOUR STAFF’S TIME BEING UTILIZED EFFECTIVELY?
Is your current staff able to confirm appointments to decrease “no show” appointments and keep your schedule full? Are they verifying eligibility prior to the patient being seen? Are they collecting copayments and deductibles at the time of the appointment? Would the bottom line of your practice improve if your staff’s focus shifted to these patient-oriented tasks while someone else did their other work?
DOES YOUR TEAM HAVE THE NECESSARY SKILL SETS TO ACCOMPLISH TASKS?
Is your billing team experienced or are they learning as they go? Does your staff need specialized training before you can ensure your HIPAA and compliance manuals are up to date and accurate? Is your risk assessment completed on an annual basis with all required audits and reporting functionality in place? Do you know how to test your contingency plan? Does your team have a resource they can call with questions? Would your team’s time be better utilized in consulting with an outside vendor for billing and compliance tasks, allowing them more time for enhanced patient interactions in the office?
ARE YOUR STAFFING DOLLARS BEING SPENT ON YOUR CORE MISSION?
Is the increasing cost of salary and benefits prohibiting you from hiring the most skilled team members? Is your high personnel cost prohibiting you from meeting financial goals for your practice? Could outsourcing services be more cost effective for your practice?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, outsourcing may be a beneficial solution. Your next step is to find vendor partners to work with that are specialized in the tasks you will be assigning to them. For example, if you need help with billing and compliance issues, insurance audits and risk assessments, you should find an industry expert in that field. However, if you are looking for business accounting or marketing assistance, you should target vendors with those skill sets. Many practices work with more than one outside vendor.
Once you have identified one or more vendors that you think may be able to help you, talk with their management team and make sure you are comfortable with their mission, vision and values. Outline your work expectations so pricing can be accurate and complete. Understand how your account will be staffed and who you can contact regarding questions or concerns. Finally, evaluate the final contract to make sure it outlines your expectations, contains no surprises and will be a true value added to your practice.
During the onboarding phase, plan on allocating some time for in-office staff to assist any new vendor partners with questions or information needed to get started. You should also develop a plan to shift your staff’s time to work that enhances the patient experience while still allowing for some time each week for vendor interactions as needed. Successful outsourcing includes strong communication between the vendor and the practice.
Finding the right partners will assist you in getting back to what you love – taking care of patients. The most important acronym in your practice soon may be, “OMG, I should have done this a long time ago!”
Terri Gossard, OD, executive director of ABB Optical Group, serves as a consultant for its practice management division, Primary Eyecare Network. Contact her at TGossard@ABBOptical.com or visit PrimaryEye.net. Jon Weeding is president of CS EYE, a leading compliance and billing partner for eyecare practices. Contact him at 763.551.0232 or Jon@CSEye.biz or visit CSEye.biz.