Check Growth Readiness of Your Physical Therapy EMR
Reimbursement rates have clearly been down. Reportedly, more cuts could be looming ahead. At the same time, patient volumes have been increasing. U.S. Physical Therapy stated that that average visits per clinic per day exceeded 29.0 for the first time in the companys history in March 2021 and has continued at that level or higher for seven consecutive months.
There is less time to see patients. Less time for documentation. Without quality documentation, payers are more likely to deny the claim.
Medicare and commercial payers have several rules that providers need to comply with like the 8 Minute Rule, therapy cap, and use of specific modifiers. Rules that keep on changing. Case in point: More payers are requiring therapists to differentiate between habilitative and rehabilitative treatment using modifiers 96 and 97. Plus, there are the revisions to Telehealth Place of Service (POS) codes. POS 02 if telehealth is provided other than in the patients home and a new POS 10 if telehealth is provided in the patients home.
Growing a therapy practice is therefore as challenging as ever. Physical therapy, pediatric therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy alike. How do you balance the needs of your clinic and comply with rules and regulations while growing your practice?
Do you see your physical therapy EMR as a growth enabler or does it sometimes hold you back? Here are five items to check when it comes to your physical therapy EMR growth readiness.
- Is your Physical Therapy EMR easily customizable?
- Are the Physical Therapy EMR and billing software seamlessly integrated?
- Are you able to track practice efficiency with your Physical Therapy EMR?
- Does your Physical Therapy EMR provide valuable intelligence?
- Does the Physical Therapy EMR customer support instill excitement?
An EMR that comes out of the box with standard templates, rules, and workflows would definitely provide a head start. But how easy is it to change these assets? The last thing you should want is to be forced to alter your processes and templates that have stood the test of time in order to accommodate a new software. You could then lose the very uniqueness that made you different and valuable for your patients. Not to mention that your staff would have to unlearn and relearn new skills.
Is your EMR and billing software one single solution that was created together as part of one unified system? Or is it actually two different software systems bolted together under the hood? The disconnect could lead to several issues including duplicate data entry into disparate systems, coding errors due to process constraints, lost or inaccurate data, and less than adequate user experience. As a practice owner, you may not even realize the amount of workaround work your team is doing to make the best of this inefficient configuration of systems.
This would boil down to a selection of data and metrics that become a proxy for tracking productivity and efficiency. These would typically be comprised of patient metrics, billing metrics, and employee metrics. Number of patient appointments, referral conversion rates, number of arrived patients, average number of visits per discharged case, and the number of patients that complete their plan of care would be some patient metrics to watch. Billing metrics would include average charges per visit, claims processing times, first pass payment rates, net collection rates, payer denial rates, and days AR. Employee productivity would certainly be a more challenging topic to deal with but metrics that could help you stay on top of how effectively staff members are able to use their available time would help.
Visibility and insight to seize opportunities, solve problems and lower risks would always be welcome. What would help would be a full view of patient data and billing data accompanied by an array of interactive reports and KPI dashboards. The metrics that matter should be readily available at your fingertips in order to avoid potential documentation and billing issues and make it easier to measure clinical, operational, and financial outcomes.
Last but not the least, customer support would need to provide the critical edge for you to transition from just using the EMR to driving results with the EMR. Does your customer support team have the passion and commitment to work with you in ensuring your success?
Undoubtedly, there would likely be more areas to check depending on the specifics of your practice. But, hopefully, these five items should provide a useful starting point. If growth is on the agenda then your physical therapy EMR should provide a helping hand.