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'You need live data’

'You need live data’

ATLANTA – HME providers desperately need to collect and crunch data in real time to reduce hotspots in their businesses, speakers Kit Shellhouse and Bruce Gehring told Medtrade East attendees on Monday. 

And doing so doesn’t have to require a fancy program or a big investment – pie charts derived from data in an Excel spreadsheet work just fine, said ACU-Serve’s Shellhouse, so long as it can be updated regularly, and it can be shared. 

“Whatever it is, you need live data,” she said. “If it’s a report scheduled to run each morning, don’t just schedule it; look at it. What is your hot area, schedule reports (around them) and look at them.” 

One of the first steps in the process is leveraging your billing company’s software and support staff – “That’s at the core of everything we’re talking about,” Shellhouse said. “Why not go to where the data is and get some help?” 

The data you monitor varies on your product and payer mix, but some key performance indicators for most businesses include your denial rate and your percentage of write-offs, Shellhouse said. 

“You should know that less than 5% in write-offs a year (is a good benchmark),” she said. “That’s pretty low and it takes time to get there.” 

The data you collect and crunch can also expand to payers – do they or don’t they have a portal, what are their timely filing guidelines, how long do they take to pay, Shellhouse said. 

“With payers you’re having trouble with, that’s how you hold them accountable,” she said. “You get this all in a spreadsheet and open up the flow of information.” 

What do you do with all the data you’re collecting and crunching? Develop processes to help you cool those hotspots, said Allegiance Group’s Gehring. When it comes to patient collections, that might mean “connecting with the patient where they are,” he said. 

“How easy is it for them to set up an account and/or set up a payment plan?” he said. “If I can get a patient to self-manage, I’m better off. It does take some upfront work and it does take some communication. Are you getting their cell phone numbers? (But it’s worth it) – with old school methods, you have a 50% chance of getting payment.”


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