Reducing Medical Expenses with Outsourcing

On January 7th, 2011, posted in: Industry News, Tips by

Ready to reduce your Pennsylvania, Maryland or Ohio practice medical billing expenses? The following article written by Daniel Casciato was featured on Medical Office Today and sheds light on some great ways your medical practice can save.

“Better patient care always leads to payoffs for both tangible and intangible”.

Outsourcing some of your medical office tasks can not only reduce your salary costs, but it can also decrease your rental expenses since you can work within the confines of a smaller space.

In fact, experts contend that outsourcing your IT, medical billing and coding, medical transcription, electronic filing, collections and even customer support can net immediate savings for your practice.

Not only does outsourcing allow you to use your space more efficiently, but outsourcing will allow you the time you need to concentrate on your practice and patient care, says Shilonda Downing owner of Flossmoor, Ill.-based Virtual Work Team, LLC, a remote business administration team that works with organizations, including medical offices.

Reducing space and improving efficiencies

Many practices that have outsourced their IT needs have reduced their space needs significantly. “Many of our medical clients have reclaimed two full rooms by going to electronic record-keeping,” says Gail Merz, director of business consulting for the Pacific Crest Group a Larkspur, Calif.-based consulting group that provides HR, financial services, and IT consulting services to small businesses, including a number of medical practices.

A number of Pacific Crest’s recent projects have included helping doctors migrate to an electronic medical record system which has not only improved efficiencies but created a lot of extra office space.

“These same practices are abandoning the old bulky computer workstations in favor of portable tablet computers that give them secure access to patient records on the go, which also reclaims a lot of space,” Merz adds.

Another IT strategy that her company has initiated for a number of their medical practice clients is shared workstations. Using a terminal server strategy, any doctor, nurse, or administrator in the practice can sit down to a computer and log in to access files and records.

“This also eliminates the overhead of additional workstations hardware and frees up office space by eliminating the need for dedicated workstations,” she says.

Outsourcing administrative tasks

Beyond IT outsourcing, many practices are choosing to outsource traditional administrative tasks including medical transcription, billing and collections and customer service.

“The decision to outsource is initially driven by economics, but practices quickly realize that it’s just easier to outsource many of these responsibilities because they don’t have to worry about in-house training and managing so many different tasks,” says Mary Fisher, director of customer support for AmeriScribe, an Argyle, Texas-based medical transcription firm.

Fisher notes that outsourcing specialized tasks such as medical transcription and medical billing and coding also allows practices to receive better services and products. “Because we are experts and focus 100 percent of our energy on this one particular business, we can do it better and more efficiently than an in-house staff that is pulled in many different directions,” she explains.

Moreover, Fisher also points out that outsourcing allows healthcare organizations to reduce the number of full-time employees they have on staff, thereby minimizing associated costs such as worker’s compensation and health insurance.

If you decide to outsource any tasks, make sure the company you choose is not only qualified, but that it is insured against any liabilities regarding HIPAA and follows the industry’s best practices.