In this webinar, you’ll learn to:
is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 13 years of experience, specializing in uncovering and developing hidden potential for individuals and organizations. She has a deep understanding of the medical, banking, and retail industries and has a proven track record of facilitating breakthroughs in business.
Aileda has a proven track record of coaching executives at Fortune 500 companies, consulting on trade agreements for The White House, and working with medical practices in NYC during the pandemic.
is an IT veteran with over 20 years of experience in business operations and a deep understanding of the healthcare industry’s unique challenges.
As the CEO of Troinet, a privately held Technology Consulting Firm based in New York City, Wayne leads a team of experts who specialize in helping healthcare practices improve their operations and optimize their workflows.
Welcome to this informative guide, a comprehensive resource geared towards enhancing your understanding of the necessity of an IT assessment in streamlining healthcare administrative processes. For healthcare office managers or healthcare owners, it’s more important than ever to optimize your practices’ operations to meet the evolving demands of the industry.
Healthcare practices today are navigating a sea of challenges, often compounded by limited resources. Struggles range from crafting a viable business strategy to staff training, development, and effective office management. Many practices grapple with financial management, patient workflow, and appointment scheduling, impacting the revenue required to keep the practice running efficiently.
One pervasive issue across not only healthcare but across every industry is cybersecurity. Protecting your patient and staff data, financial information, and your practice’s interactions with vendors is paramount. However, the issue extends beyond just safeguarding information – it also significantly influences the reputation of your healthcare practice.
A strong reputation in the healthcare field often translates to trust and comfort in patients, which, in turn, influences their decision to choose your practice. Enhancing cybersecurity measures is a surefire way to bolster your healthcare practice’s reputation and ensure a seamless operational experience.
Another crucial factor impacting healthcare practices is the communication and coordination among staff, doctors, and vendors. Ensuring that everyone is on the same page is vital in providing the best patient care possible.
As the industry continues to change and evolve with new regulations, it’s becoming increasingly challenging for medical practices to stay financially fit. This evolution makes improving operations imperative for both office managers and owners.
To stay relevant in the market amid all these changes and regulations, reaching out for professional help becomes a necessity. Here are reasons why an IT assessment:
A thorough IT assessment helps identify weaknesses and areas of improvement, offering insights on how to strategically implement and utilize technology for operational efficiency.
For instance, at Troinet, an IT consulting firm specializing in the healthcare arena, we assist healthcare practices in managing technology on the operational side. Our focus is not just on providing IT support, but rather on strategy.
We help practices develop a comprehensive plan to make optimal use of their existing technology resources to achieve operational success.
Effective cash flow management often makes or breaks a healthcare practice. A thorough IT assessment can aid in understanding your billing cycles and unearthing any inefficiencies in your current system.
For instance, many practices are unaware of how many denied claims they’ve had, which could potentially lead to massive revenue losses.
An IT assessment helps identify these gaps in your billing cycle, offering solutions to prevent any negative impacts on your cash flow.
By keeping a close eye on your billing practices and implementing efficient systems, you can prevent cash flow disruptions and boost your practice’s financial health.
In order to maintain this healthy cash flow and ensure a sustainable business model, focusing on another vital aspect is essential – your staff.
The impact of staff retention is undeniably linked to the quality and quantity of their training. As hiring becomes increasingly challenging across industries, healthcare is experiencing a similar crunch. Yet, the correlation between well-trained, competent staff and their retention rate becomes clear when we look at the internal dynamics of a healthcare facility.
When a team is well-trained, they work in sync. Their efficiency skyrockets, not just facilitating better patient care but also creating an enjoyable working atmosphere. Working in a streamlined, coordinated team breeds a sense of fulfillment, creating moments of triumph that come with tackling complex challenges together. These moments reinforce a sense of unity and collective achievement, instilling an environment that people do not want to leave.
Moreover, proficient training cultivates a working culture that can handle the pressures of the job without compromising on patient satisfaction.
Not only does this robust training ensure a resilient workforce, but it also indirectly impacts another crucial aspect of healthcare delivery – the waiting period for patients.
Wait times, often a sticking point in patient satisfaction, are reduced when a well-trained team operates.
This efficient team dynamic often leads to a higher level of job satisfaction, even if the compensation may not be top-tier, as the positive work environment becomes a compelling reason to stay.
Effective training isn’t only about employee satisfaction; it’s about ensuring smooth operational flow, particularly in billing cycles. Gaps in training can lead to missed billing opportunities, affecting the organization’s financial health. Therefore, continuous training, particularly for front-desk staff – who are essentially the face of your organization – becomes paramount.
A well-trained front desk can handle pressure, maintain a positive attitude, and provide stellar customer service, all while ensuring operational efficiency. Their role is directly linked to cash flow, as their actions impact patient retention. Equipping them with the right training, attitude, and tools is therefore critical.
In terms of technology, phone systems should not merely be communication tools but should also provide actionable insights to improve operational efficiency. Reporting abilities, call volume tracking, and understanding abandoned rates can influence your bottom line significantly.
Turning our attention to appointment scheduling and patient workflow, having a designated staff member to manage patient flow can make a significant difference.
This role should be separated from the front desk duties, ensuring that even during peak times, patient flow is handled efficiently. This individual should be adept at managing multiple tasks simultaneously, from keeping track of room availability to ensuring the necessary cleanings are done promptly.
Remember, while striving for efficiency, it’s important not to compromise on patient care. A well-coordinated workflow not only enhances patient satisfaction but also increases revenue by allowing the practice to see more patients. Moreover, a solid process for handling disgruntled patients can prevent disruptions and maintain a positive patient-practice relationship.
Another aspect to consider is the need for structured training and development plans. It’s not uncommon for practice managers to feel overwhelmed by their operational duties, believing they lack time to train their team. However, continuous training, especially the ‘train the trainer’ approach, can free up time in the long run and ensure a high performing, competent team.
Communication is another critical component. Many practices might rely on informal methods such as Gmail, which, while functional, may lack the professionalism and features required for effective internal and external communication. Platforms like Microsoft Teams can offer a comprehensive solution to these needs, facilitating collaboration and ensuring critical training materials are readily available.
Why not create these videos, documentation and have a central location to collaborate with the practice? Another gap is communication. How do you communicate to the doctor in the office and out where it’s not required, where you speak to that moment? But hey, I need to send them a note. I need to send them a message. I need to speak to my team.
Whether one on one or globally. And I need to track these things. I need to make documentation available. I need training material available. I say, “Hey, Mary, front desk, remember, went to that training.” Okay, so in this location, let’s review it. Can you talk a bit about communication and coordinating communication within a practice?
The Role of Software Programs in Internal Communication
Oftentimes, companies rely on software programs heavily. But I would suggest to limit, as much as possible, phone to phone communication. I know that many of you are a huge proponent of phones, but it’s better to keep all communication inside the same umbrella, particularly within the same software program, whenever possible, on the same platform, so that all of your communication can remain and be trackable.
I think you would agree, that when it’s all on one platform, it’s much easier to put out any potential dangers. Having only one access point to go to versus various multiple access points, the former is better when you need to eliminate or mitigate any kind of harm in any way. That’s why communication processes become super important.
There should be communications broken down and subdivided among teams such as:
The key is having a really fluid and fluent system that’s as condensed as possible, where everybody knows where they go to for the information and how often they should be accessing it.
Software, coupled with a robust training and development, includes consistent follow up and follow through. If you’re not following up and following through with your people, then you’re not training them.
I guarantee you somebody is dropping a ball somewhere and no one has caught it. And because of that, it is continuing to be dropped.
Another thing I recommend is to use the conduct a tight audit process where you review things randomly and periodically. Then, use the results as a training opportunity for all aspects and departments of your business. Conduct a follow up training opportunity as well.
They say “documentation beats conversation.” Many people wonder if traditional email is sufficient. Although some email systems may be costly, they do facilitate necessary interoffice communication, just as an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system is essential for managing patient information.
However, it’s crucial to remember that a medical practice is a business. How is your business running and how are you communicating within your business context?
Here, you need to have a separate platform that facilitates business communication. Even if you switch your EMR system or software platform, your method for internal communication and its security must remain intact and effective.
I need to say some to a doctor and may have patient information. How do I communicate that and document that in a secure manner? And now we’re going to segue into cyber security, because that’s a big thing. And I want to bring people back because this is my world of dealing with it – Compliancy is not security. Compliance is meeting regulations.
So a lot of people say, “I have HIPAA so I’m good for the government.” But now as a practice your security for the practice, how you’re securing staff information, vendor information and communication to your patients? Because if that ever fails, that’s going to be a financial impact on the practice itself. There’s a lot of fines up there, a of hackers are making tons of money and the reputation would be damage margin.
I want everybody to imagine if your doctor was breached, that message got to your story. This is actually a true story. Our security team reached out to a practice. where we made an assessment for them. They had an in-house support company which is not a security company. They think support and security is doing the same thing.
Cybersecurity is different from having a support company. They didn’t. About two or three months later they reached out because they were infiltrated by data breach. When we visited the practice, it was eerily quiet. You know what? They had no computers. They were unable to access. People say, “Hey, my stuff is in the cloud, that’s great. But what do you do use to connect to the cloud?”
When your practice’s security is breached, the repercussions can be enormous. It’s not just about loss of sensitive information; a cybersecurity breach can cripple your operations, forcing your company into a standstill until the issue is resolved. In one particular case, a healthcare practice was down for over a week because their devices had been compromised. They could not use these devices anymore as they had been infiltrated by a data breach.
An option may be to resort to personal devices for connecting and conducting work. However, it’s crucial to consider that your insurance may no longer cover you because using external devices can put you out of compliance with regulations required for your healthcare practice.
The incident mentioned above is a stark reminder that cybersecurity diligence is non-negotiable. Health practices must ensure they are compliant and following the best security practices. Unfortunately, the practice learned the hard way that not all support companies are equipped to handle cybersecurity issues, highlighting the difference between having a support company and a cybersecurity team.
In the wake of the pandemic, there’s been a global spotlight on the importance of robust tech support and infrastructure across all industries. It’s paramount to have a partner who is responsive, actively engaged, and dedicated to building and securing your systems.
When choosing who to work with, consider what kind of working relationship you want in a crisis. These individuals will become an extended part of your team, and you’ll need to rely on them in extreme situations.
IT companies supporting your practice should focus more on consulting than support. A good ratio to follow is 80% consulting and 20% support. If a company is purely focused on support, you’re missing out on a crucial partnership. After all, if your systems were built correctly, they wouldn’t be breaking down regularly. Instead, look for a strategic partner that helps your company grow and advises you on best practices.
Many practices hesitate to invest in proper IT support and cybersecurity due to budget constraints. However, it’s an investment they cannot afford to skip. The smaller the healthcare practice, the less room there is for errors and the more there is a need for a solid tech support and cybersecurity system.
There’s immense value in an open line of communication with your IT partners. They should be available for any follow-up queries or concerns you might have. Moreover, it’s worth monitoring various operational aspects of your practice on a daily basis, such as any open charts or claims.
In conclusion, cybersecurity is an aspect of healthcare that simply cannot be neglected. With the proper investment in IT support, consulting, and cybersecurity measures, healthcare practices can minimize risk and maximize operational efficiency. Don’t let limited resources hinder you from achieving the best security and support for your practice. Actively engage with your IT partners, ask questions, and always strive to improve your systems for the betterment of your healthcare practice.