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If you take the time to count them, Wikipedia has over 500 acronyms in the Healthcare space. Meaning, at some level, there are over 500 committees, agencies, programs, movements, processes, initiatives or compliance efforts- all with an eye to shaping the ways and means of giving care and paying for care in America. We have made the complex, somehow, so complex that we are now forming new acronyms to begin the arduous task of reversing the engines and heading full tilt back the harbor of simplicity. Remember that place?
For the growing Urgent Care community, simplification begins with a focus on the core objective- getting customers in and out, and getting paid for it. At DocuTAP, we have seen so many ways that our clients do this, and yet, the biggest point of frustration seems to be consistent with most of them: they are not getting enough money prior to care, and thus putting intense pressure on the back end of the process to collect on services already rendered. In a surreal way, it would be like the food services sector moving to a model that gives you a menu without prices, let’s you order and eat, and then tries to collect on that encounter several weeks after the fact.
The Payers have created the products that are driving the behavior, and even with strong real-time eligibility tools, the best practices are lagging far behind the general practice of not collecting up front and chasing the dollars once the payers reconcile the claim well after the event. At the end of the day, it is about cash flow and mitigating unnecessary risk. We don’t need an acronym to fix it, either.
The big wind of simplicity that helped create the need for more urgent care centers will soon be overtaken by the one that solves this temporary obstacle to old medical billing processes meeting the new. You can begin to solve this for your center by doing some simple, yet basic dissociation. Medical retail is not new, but medical behaving like retail, especially as it relates to the services industry needs to find a point of separation from her clinical cousin. There are two operations at war within urgent care, the front desk trying to operate like a mutant primary care facility and the back office scrambling to chase low dollar collections that in many cases cost more to collect than the original service!
DocuTAP specialists are working to solve this dilemma by addressing the processes and systems that keep it alive. DocuTAP’s Urgent Care EMR implementation is coupled with the opportunity to assess and address the business issues behind the purchase. The next big wind moving us back to simplicity outside of the urgent care movement itself will be the great progress being made in a best practice that strengthens the business by collecting more, faster.
Kraig R Brown