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Much can be learned from experiences during the coronavirus pandemic to help mitigate future economic fallout. Now several weeks after the crisis was declared, medical practices still battle with financial pressure. 

Across all major healthcare specialties, providers saw declines in patient visits, with some practices experiencing declines of 30% or more. Like most other businesses, most medical practices were unprepared from a planning perspective. 

Have a plan

Practices can leverage what they've learned, mitigate damage from the aftermath of COVID-19 and develop a better disaster recovery plan for future events. The first part of the planning is—have a plan. 

  • Designate a team of individuals ready to roll up their sleeves, take on an assigned role, and put in time to devise the continuity plan. Scale the size of the task team to meet the needs of your organization. Have one-person act as the scribe so that ideas are documented. 
  • Document standard operating procedures (SOPs) to help ensure your organization can meet technological and logistical demands in a time of crisis. As one example, in the recent public health emergency, many practices had to shift much of their office staff to working remotely. Document necessary processes to ensure these individuals can perform their job outside of the office.
  • Ensure redundancy. Consider a next-man-or-woman up approach to ensure redundancy in your organization. Survey your workforce and create a skills matrix for appropriate backups to plan for extended business absences.  
  • Develop a communications strategy. Messaging must be consistent. Plan for an approval process, so when crisis does occur, you can eliminate confusion and loss of time.

Work with an RCM partner

Find a revenue cycle management (RCM) partner to assist with business continuity planning from a financial perspective. An RCM partner can focus on critical financial details, allowing your practice to maintain the big-picture perspective necessary for effective healthcare delivery in a dynamic and unpredictable environment. 

When planning for the continuity of your core business, partnering with an RCM services team allows you to shift the burden of disaster recovery in one key area—financial management. In addition, an RCM partnership can offer other benefits as well. An RCM partner can:

  • Help ensure that A/R management, claims submissions, and patient experience are minimally interrupted during a crisis 
  • Leverage real-time data to project future trends that you may utilize in disaster recovery planning 
  • Automate claims formatting and review and execute follow-up work that would otherwise place undue burden on short-staffed medical offices
  • Help get denied claims resubmitted, minimizing delays to cash flow 

It’s hard to put "peace of mind" in the same sentence with "crisis" but the right planning can reduce the distance between them. Having a trusted advisor who can take care of vital business functions while looking ahead to the future can help your practice respond better the next time a big event like COVID-19 comes around again. It’s not if, it’s when. 

Click here to a recent blog about 4 Tips to Manage Declining Reimbursements in the Wake of COVID-19. 

Meet NextGen Ambient Assist, your new AI ally that generates a structured SOAP note in seconds from listening to the natural patient/provider conversation.

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Dr. Andrew Whitelock

Director, Client Management