Internet Software Strategy For Patient Relationship Management and Electronic Medical Billing

Patients increasingly use Internet to research, locate, receive, validate, and complain about doctor’s services. Although most health care providers (79%) had cautioned patients about the unreliability of health information on the Internet, 80% of adult Internet users have searched for health or medical information online. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Medical Broadcasting Company and Nielsen/NetRatings, two out of three Americans turn to the Internet before their doctor visits to research their condition and prepare questions. After their visits, these patients typically do more Internet research to validate what their doctor told them and find answers to questions they didn’t think to ask.

Multiple surveys show that practices with personal IT services have significant competitive advantage in terms of patient perception. For instance, 75% of U.S. adults would like to schedule their doctor visits via the Internet and receive e-mail reminders. But so few practices offer such services that only 4% of patients use Internet to schedule appointments. Moreover, while 67% of patients would like to receive their lab results via e-mail, only 2% currently do. Such large differences between expected and delivered levels of information access must transform into significant differences in service value perception. It behooves the doctors to adopt Internet technology to help patients search for health information online and use it for patient relationship management and practice development.

The first step in achieving this goal is to establish website presence. A typical physician’s website might have the following content components:

  • About Practice
    1. Mission statement – patient-care philosophy
    2. A short history of the practice
    3. Office hours
    4. Contact information
    5. Phone numbers
    6. eMail addresses
    7. Location and driving directions
  • About Physicians
    1. Credentials and specialization information about each physician
    2. Hospital affiliations
  • Patient Corner
    1. Links to patient education materials
    2. Patient forms
    3. Appointment scheduling
    4. Pre-registration
    5. eMail correspondence with physicians
    6. Lab results
    7. Electronic prescription refills
    8. Home monitoring device configuration
    9. Automated health alerts
    10. Personal health records
  • Electronic Medical Billing
    1. A list of accepted insurance plans
    2. FAQ on Billing, e.g., explanation of statement
    3. Account balance
    4. Payment history

    A savings-based ROI justification for office automation using a cost-driven metric compares operations costs before and after implementing a technical solution. For instance, the national average for staff in a primary-care practice is about five employees per physician. Anecdotal evidence about practices with patient-focused website with integrated EMR shows less than 2.5 employees per physician. Yet technology benefits to the practice have evolved from simple automation, to paperless office infrastructure, to patient attraction, to patient retention and loyalty management. Once the patients learn to expect a patient-focused website with integrated EMR along with interactive Patient Corner, they begin correlating physician’s expertise with the degree of office automation and Internet accessibility. It’s time to replace the cost-driven metric with a revenue-based metric, which measures billing revenue per physician and refocuses the management from savings to profits. Perhaps the greatest impact of technology is still ahead of us, in the area of patient relationship management and profitable practice development.

    References

    American Heart Association, “Survey Results: Online Education Program Is Effective Source Of Information For Heart Patients,” MediLexicon, May 12, 2007

    Joseph A Diaz, et al, “BRIEF REPORT: What Types of Internet Guidance Do Patients Want from Their Physicians?,” J Gen Intern Med. 2005 August; 20(8): 683-685.

    David Kesmodel, “As Angry Patients Vent Online, Doctors Sue to Silence Them,” The Wall Street Journal Online, September 14, 2005

    Elaine Zablocki, “Communication: If You Build It …How a top-notch Web site can help expand and enhance your services,” Physicians Practice, May 2007

    Allied Health Salary Range

    If you are considering a degree in one of the allied health fields, first you should consider the salary range for your chosen profession. There are many jobs to choose from, which all have different requirements for schooling and different expected salaries once you have completed your program. There are two types of allied health professionals: technicians or assistants, and therapists or technologists. The salary range for most common allied health careers will depend on which category you fit into, and other factors such as location and experience.

    If you go to school for a job as a technician or assistant, you will probably be able to get your degree in two years or less. Some programs can even be completed in a year or less. These jobs include medical laboratory technicians, occupational therapy assistants, physical therapy assistants, radiological technicians, recreation therapy assistants, and respiratory therapy technicians. The following salaries are starting salaries for the most common technician and assistant jobs, meaning this is what you will likely make straight of school:

    1. Clinical Lab / Medical Lab Technician: $37,100
    2. Dental Assistant: $32,198
    3. Dental Lab Technician: $31,780
    4. Health Information Technician: $30,000
    5. Medical Assistant: $22,650
    6. Occupational Therapy Assistant: $33,000
    7. Ophthalmic Dispensing Optician: $27,000
    8. Ophthalmic Technician: $39,000
    9. Pharmacy Technician: $19,000
    10. Phlebotomist: $24,315
    11. Physical Therapist Assistant: $30,000
    12. Radiographer: $36,918
    13. Respiratory Therapist: $41,537

    Allied health therapists and technologists must go through more intensive schooling programs including specific procedural, treatment, and diagnosis skills before they can get their degree, so they will make a little bit more. Many of these careers require at least a bachelor’s degree. Here are the starting salaries for the most common therapist and technologist jobs:

    1. Anesthesiologist Assistant: $95,000
    2. Blood Bank Technology Specialist: $45,000
    3. Cytotechnologist: $46,000
    4. Cytotechnology Supervisor: $48,000
    5. Dietician / Nutritionist: $35,300
    6. Health Information Administrator: $40,000
    7. Magnetic Resonance Technologist: $44,410
    8. Medical Librarian: $41,000
    9. Nuclear Medicine Technologist: $67,429
    10. Occupational Therapist: $46,000
    11. Pathologist’s Assistant: $55,000
    12. Physical Therapist: $54,000
    13. Physicians Assistant: $71,000
    14. Radiation Therapist: $65,381
    15. Speech Language Pathologist: $52,694

    What Most People Don’t Know About Medical Assisting

    Many people think that medical assistants just manage the front office, but that’s only a fraction of what medical assistants do.

    Medical Assistants are trained in both administrative and clinical procedures of a health care facility. Due to their training in pharmacology, laboratory procedures, medical law, patient care, and the health sciences, Medical Assistants are capable of filling a diverse range of roles in a health care facility.

    Obviously, the duties of a medical assistant will vary at each health care facility, but here are some of the common clinical and administrative duties practiced by Medical Assistants:

    MEDICAL ASSISTANT CLINICAL DUTIES

    Every state had different rules on what a Medical Assistant can do. The following list will give you a snapshot of some procedures you could perform as a Medical Assistant:

    • Take medical histories
    • Prepare patients for examination
    • Assist the Doctor during examination
    • Explain medical procedures
    • Administer medications
    • Draw blood
    • Remove stitches
    • Perform basic lab tests
    • Authorize drug refills (as directed by doctor)
    • Take EKGs
    • Record vital signs

    This is an extensive list, but it shows the wide variety of training you may receive in the medical assisting program you join. Your training will depend, of course, on state regulations and the quality of the medical assisting school.

    As you can imagine, the role of a medical assistant often means you’ll be working alongside doctors and other medical professionals daily. This career field means you should be flexible and can easily move between different tasks. One moment you could be helping a doctor with basic lab tests, and the next moment you could be explaining a medical procedure to a patient.

    This wide range of clinical duties shows the extensive training you’ll need to join this thriving career field. It might seem overwhelming at first, but realize that each task may or may not be assigned to you. It depends on the medical office and state laws that determine how many of these procedures you can do.

    Along with clinical duties, Medical Assistants also often take care of the medical office administration too.

    MEDICAL ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES

    Medical Assistants need to be flexible, so they must often shift from a medical procedure to an administrative role quickly. As administrators within a medical office, they must be trained for the following duties:

    • Updating patient’s records
    • Working with insurance companies
    • Scheduling appointments
    • Ordering lab services
    • Bookkeeping
    • Medical Billing
    • Hospital Admissions

    These administrative duties will often require some knowledge of computer programs. Bookkeeping, scheduling appointments, and corresponding with insurance companies will sometimes require a basic knowledge of computer programs. The knowledge you’ll need to perform these computer tasks can be learned either through a medical assisting school or learned on the job.

    Since every doctor’s office is different, specific knowledge on computer programs will probably get taught within that medical office. And it’s very possible that you may join a medical office where many of these duties are handled without the help of a computer.

    Not all medical assistants will work in administrative roles, so don’t worry if you feel uncomfortable working with computers. You can be a medical assistant that focuses only in clinical duties. You’ll just have more opportunity for advancement if you decide to take on more administrative responsibilities. You’ll also become higher valued to your employer.

    MEDICAL ASSISTANT JOBS

    Medical Assistants can work in a variety of health care settings. In fact, many medical assisting schools already have relationships with local employers eager to hire their graduate.

    Upon graduation, medical assistants can choose to work in:

    • Medical offices
    • Clinics
    • Hospitals
    • Urgent care centers
    • Nursing homes
    • Medical supply businesses
    • Home health agencies
    • Insurance providers
    • pharmaceutical companies

    And that’s just a small list of possible employers. Once you choose a medical assisting school, your career placement office will provide you with a network of different employers for you to submit resumes to.

    Due to a medical assistant’s extensive training and education, they are practically suited to work within any type of health care facility. And it’s during your job hunt that you can specify a career focused more on the administrative or clinical duties

    Reasons Why Everyone Needs Health Medical Insurance

    Health Insurance is a significant safety measure desirable to all persons for making sure a financial support as long as any medical mishap in the family. They not simply cover up any unforeseen expenses of emergencies but cover up routine and precautionary health care procedures too.

    Health medical insurance is required by everybody for various reasons, not the least of which is the price of common medical care. While you might be able to get a number of medical facilities willing to proffer 10 percent discounts on visits devoid of medical insurance, this does not constantly assist you. For instance, the appointment to the physician might be inexpensive; but the lab work will not be. It is the lab work, ultrasounds, X-rays, blood analysis and other machines and procedures that really charge the most.

    There are agencies in the government proffer low-priced health or medical insurance. One could try to find for companies that proffer cheap insurance as well. With cheap rate insurance, one could be convinced that he could provide the best medical consideration for his family in the occasion that one need medical cares that can be extremely expensive.

    These are some significant things to recognize regarding the low-priced health/medical insurance. It is significant that one is extremely conscious on what are the things that integrated to the plan he is planning to obtain. Furthermore, he must constantly think about his family as his very own reason why he wants to obtain health insurance.

    One of the major operating costs in today’s modern society is the expenditure of health insurance. Over the last hundred years, the population has augmented so radically that any country would have complexity giving universal health care, particularly with every of the modern advances that we have nowadays and the large sums of money that nearly all medical doctors and hospitals create.

    There are numerous kinds of plans obtainable in health medical insurance. Nearly all of the plans will be relative to the state in which you exist. Particular states have dissimilar policies for what they will cover up. Actually, moving from one state to the next might break off your coverage, particularly if you have a pre-existing situation. A pre-existing situation enclosed by one company in one state might not move. There are a lot of things to be careful of when selecting health insurance, not the least of which is ensuring that any pre-existing situation, even with no any type of lapse in health coverage, will still be enclosed.