In July, the Medical Group Management Association released the results of a member survey that ranked members most pressing practice-management challenges. In this edition of Practice Makes Perfect, well tackle No. 12 on that list: Selecting and implementing a new practice-management system.
So, youve made the decision to select and implement a new practice-management system, or PMS, and reap the potential efficiencies and cost savings. Here are steps to guide you, no matter your practice size or shape.
- Create a PMS team to assess areas of operations essential to your office efficiency. Include key staff relative to the revenue-cycle process (managers, registration staff, billing and coding personnel, information technology and clinical staff). They should consider functions and features such as: electronic eligibility; patient account information; charge and payment posting; patient and insurance billing; data files (Current Procedural Technology, or CPT; ICD-9; and fee schedules); appointment scheduling; accounts receivable management; patient collection; security controls and interfaces with laboratories online prescriptions, and hospitals; and reports and correspondence, determining type of reports needed from the system.
- Analyze the revenue-cycle process. The PMS team will need to evaluate the practices processes to determine the priorities and requirements for the new system. Develop a timeline and a project plan. Team members will need to gain buy-in from employees and prepare them for workflow changes.
- Create a request for proposal, or RFP; schedule demonstrations and select the system. Submit your RFP to a maximum of three vendors. It should include the functions, features, outcomes, delivery and support you seek. Bring in the top two vendors for demonstrations and consider writing a program for them to follow. The PMS team should capture critical information from the demonstrations. Draft an implementation plan that includes data conversion/testing, data recovery, staff training and a go-live date. The vendor primarily drives this stage and should be thoroughly engaged in all aspects of the implementation.
- Conduct a post go-live review of implementation and commit to continuous review of the revenue-cycle process. Use this time to conduct additional staff training and evaluate goals met to date. The PMS team should identify additional process-improvement opportunities.
Cynthia DunnSenior consultantHealth Care Consulting GroupMedical Group Management AssociationCocoa Beach, Fla.