Physical Therapy Billing: Revenue Cycle Management and Profitability

Physical Therapy Billing: Revenue Cycle Management and Profitability

Receiving payment from insurance companies and payers does not always translate into a profit for a practice owner. In order to generate income, a revenue cycle management system (software) managed by billing professionals (in-house or outsourced) should be in place.

Nitin Chhoda explains what to look for in a revenue cycle management and how to increase profitability in your practice.

physical therapy billing codingThe revenue cycle is the process of bringing in revenue, starting from the sale and ending with revenue recognition, or the receipt of payment.

In a simple café setting, the revenue cycle starts when the guests order their food and drinks and is completed when they pay their bill.

Revenue Cycle in Physical Therapy

In physical therapy billing and management, the process is much more complex and can be drawn out over much longer periods of time. Any time your practice is waiting for money, you are losing money.

Revenue cycle management is the process of looking closely at your revenue cycle and determining where there are problems. The most obvious kind of problem is errors in physical therapy billing, but there can be much more subtle problems which pose similar threats to the revenue cycle.

Problems with contracts, recurring billing issues, and regulatory compliance problems can also pose a threat to the practice’s ability to collect the revenue that is due.

Evaluating Issues Within the Revenue Cycle 

The first place to start if you want to improve the efficiency of the revenue cycle is with time management.

Many of the tasks that physical therapy billing staff completes are quick and simple. A few clicks here, check the numbers there, print and send.

But it is precisely these kinds of tasks that can take up more time than is necessary if an employee is not managing their time well. Here are a few questions that will start the process of improving both time management and efficiency within the revenue cycle:

  • How much time does it take to fix mistakes?
  • What percentage of revenue is not reported just in case?
  • How much time does it take to compute physical therapy billing revenue?
  • Are staff members forced to do a lot of duplicate entry?
  • How confident are you that you can find mistakes?
  • Are you taking risks by reporting inaccurate revenue?
  • How realistic are your recognized revenue numbers each month?

physical therapy billing softwareImproving Profitability

There are many ways that evaluating your revenue cycle can improve profitability, but the process will require that your physical therapy billing staff make some changes.

Problems with revenue mistakes are a big one for physical therapy billing, because a tiny mistake can cause a huge delay in revenue recognition.

But another way that the system can be improved for physical therapy billing is to remove the duplicate and sometimes triplicate entry that staff members perform.

Avoid Redundancy

Redundant tasks are almost as bad for the revenue cycle as errors in physical therapy billing. For many billing departments, the process of eliminating duplicate entry can add hours to each day in free time. And free time is time that can be spent on other tasks, otherwise known as an increase in productivity.

Evaluation and action are essential if your practice is going to improve productivity in the physical therapy billing process. But the real benefit to the staff and the practice will come when you introduce revenue cycle management software.

Physical Therapy Software 2020 – What Lies Ahead

Physical Therapy Software 2020 – What Lies Ahead

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) had set a goal called “Vision 2020” to help improve awareness of physical therapy in the patient community. Nitin Chhoda explains how this vision will open new horizons for patient–physical therapist interaction.

physical therapy software for EMRThe Vision 2020 goal set by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is alive and well.

The professional achievements to be accomplished through Vision 2020 are well on their way to implementation and open new horizons for patient–therapist relations.

It’s imperative that practice owners realize that physical therapy software will play a significant role in the future of the profession and achieving the goals of Vision 2020.

What are the APTA’s goals?

APTA’s goals seek to increase therapist knowledge and provide them with the same rights as other medical professionals, while increasing access to physical therapy software and services for all.

Therapists across the nation are advocating strongly for themselves, their patients and the profession as a whole. Significant inroads have been made, but insurance providers have been slow to adopt necessary change.

Vision 2020 sets forth the following goals to be implemented by 2020:

  • Grant physical therapists the same privileges as other medical practices, with the ability to be assisted by appropriately educated and licensed staff;
  • Physical therapy software direct access to patients without a referral from a medical doctor;
  • The ability to practice autonomously and collaboratively;
  • Recognize that physical therapists require doctoral level studies;
  • Allow patients to choose their practitioner of choice
  • Establish core industry standards and professional values.

Two of those goals have seen dramatic progress in the right direction.

Forty-four states now allow patients to see a physical therapist without first obtaining a physician referral.

The Status of Physical Therapy Programs 

Eighty-eight percent of physical therapy software and programs at universities are now doctoral programs. Advances in physical therapy treatments and technology require ongoing education and programs are advancing to offer therapists the specialized training they need.

The value of physical therapy software and services has often been highly underrated by those in the medical profession and insurance providers. Instead of referring patients to therapists, many have chosen to medicate and treat symptoms.

The Insurer and Insurance Providers

Insurance providers limit or cap reimbursements and refuse to compensate physical therapy assistants, effectively prohibiting access to those who could benefit the most from treatments.

physical therapy software programsAPTA is working closely with insurers to educate them about the savings in healthcare costs provided by therapists and their assistants.

While 44 states don’t require patients to obtain a physician referral, most insurers still do, even when there’s no evidence to support the visit is necessary.

Vision 2020 goals will save on healthcare costs, lets patients begin treatment sooner, and allows therapists to manage physical therapy software client care more effectively.

The Important Role of Physical Therapy Software

Transitioning to physical therapy software will play a major role in assisting therapists meet the goals of Vision 2020. Electronic medical record (EMR) systems will help physical therapy clinics provide an advanced level of managed care for patients, while electronic billing provides the means for practices to obtain quicker reimbursements.

They offer a more efficient means of managing all facets of practices, from physical therapy software staffing to purchasing new equipment.

All aspects of a physical therapy practice will be impacted by EMRs and provide the tools for therapists to advance the standards and goals of Vision 2020. Physical therapy software contains an extensive array of benefits for private practices.

It integrates easily with existing systems to save time, control healthcare costs and provide opportunities to physical therapy assistants. The goals of Vision 2020 are already being realized and changing the physical therapy profession forever.

Physical Therapy Software: The Benefits of EMR in a Physical Therapy Private Practice

Physical Therapy Software: The Benefits of EMR in a Physical Therapy Private Practice

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are becoming a commonplace in all private practices. Nitin Chhoda shares the benefits of using EMR, how to find the right one that can save time, improve quality of patient care and help the practice owner live a life of freedom and independence.

physical therapy software documentationMuch has been written about the benefits of physical therapy software automation, but the advantages extend far beyond savings and increased efficiency for private practice owners.

Electronic medical records (EMRs) provide the technology for patients and therapists to connect and manage care no matter where they travel.

Veteran’s hospitals have been using a form of EMR for years to coordinate patient care more effectively and physical therapy practices can now share in the bounty.

The Advantages of EMR

EMRs offer electronic billing options that can make the difference between a practice thriving or simply surviving. Therapists will see a quicker return on reimbursements for greater cash flow with electronic billing, allowing them to manage their clinics with greater physical therapy software accuracy and profitability.

Practice owners can easily ascertain where the bulk of their revenues are originating, allowing them to contract with the best payers.

While the majority of physical therapists won’t see a natural disaster on the scale of raging wildfires, deadly twisters or Hurricane Katrina, all those events amply demonstrate the need for physical therapy software automation. There’s no need to rely on a patient’s traumatized memory to recall injuries, medications and past procedures.

EMRs can be used to access essential health information from anywhere an Internet connection is available. They effectively speak for patients when they’re unable to communicate for themselves.

EMRs provide continuity of physical therapy software service in the event that a therapist retires, moves or dies. Paper records can become lost, misplaced or destroyed, but electronic data provides a permanent record that can be accessed anytime.

More Benefits of EMR Defined

An EMR patient portal gives clients access to their personal health records and test results, allowing physical therapy software clients to take a more active role in their health care.

Therapists that employ an EMR will quickly discover the savings available with physical therapy software automation. They save on paper and folders, space requirements for housing reams of documents, and the time necessary for staff to file them. EMRs can be established to operate from laptops or tablets for maximum efficiency.

Cloud-based EMRs enable multiple healthcare providers to view a patient’s record at the same time for coordination of care. An EMR for physical therapy software can be used for educational purposes to explain procedures and impress upon clients the importance of their treatment and the intricacies of their condition.

Prescriptions and refills can be submitted online, appointments scheduled and forms completed.

Automation Can Save You Time

Physical therapy software automates many of the tasks that can take hours to complete by hand. Therapists can include notes within the EMR, eliminating the need to decipher handwritten notations made on the fly, reducing the possibility of errors, reimbursement denials and paybacks.

physical therapy software EMREMRs integrate easily with existing office systems for communications and marketing, including Clinical Contact and Therapy Newsletter.

Physical therapy automation software streamlines office processes and procedures, allowing practice owners to offer an elevated level of care and access to patients.

The adoption of an integrated tablet-based EMR will make physical therapy practices more efficient and profitable. They open up numerous possibilities for the future, from online diagnostic software to specialized apps.

Physical therapy software automation will facilitate research and collaboration among professionals. EMRs are setting the standard for a new age of patient care and the way medicine is practiced.

Physical Therapy Software: Adoption of an Integrated Tablet-Based EMR in Your Practice

Physical Therapy Software: Adoption of an Integrated Tablet-Based EMR in Your Practice

It’s not enough for an EMR to be web-based, it needs to be tablet-based. Although the two terms seem synonymous, Nitin Chhoda explains the important difference between the two, and what it means to your practice.

physical therapy billing softwareAdopting an EMR is beneficial for patients and physical therapists, but simply collecting information without being able to share among medical professionals defeats the spirit and purpose of physical therapy software automation.

The American Physical Therapy Association has set forth a vision that allows therapists to treat clients across multiple health care settings and a tablet-based EMR will help make that goal a reality.

What is a Web-Based EMR?

A web-based physical therapy software EMR enables therapists to document patient visits, add notes and create billing, all in the moment. There’s no need to go back later to enter data or decipher hastily scribbled notations.

Records are secure, yet available to multiple providers at the same time to better coordinate treatment. EMRs can scan, digitize and sort information much faster than staff. Documents, photos, test results and x-rays are easily added to become part of the patient’s permanent health record.

Why Web-Based EMR?

Web-based physical therapy software EMRs allow for real time communication between medical professionals when consultations are required, using traditional email, video, podcasts and Skype. Patient information can be retrieved from any location equipped with an Internet connection, an important feature for the future of physical therapy. It’s an essential function for therapists that provide treatment outside the clinical setting.

A web-based EMR increases access to physical therapy services in venues ranging from home visits and senior centers to spas and corporate wellness programs.

Physical therapy software and practices are evolving in how they deliver services and EMRs will play a key role.

Integrating Web-Based EMR to a Tablet Device

Physical therapy software automation can be deployed from a variety of tablet devices, offering a lightweight and portable solution. Touchscreen interfaces allow therapists to enter data efficiently to reduce errors and reimbursement denials.

Custom forms can be developed to fit the needs of individual clinics. There’s no need for practice owners to install, maintain or host software systems on-site with a web-based system. Authorized users simply log in and access the required data.

Tablet-Based EMR Is Flexible

physical therapy software documentationThe flexibility of tablet-based EMR systems allows therapists to integrate them easily with existing physical therapy software for additional value. They facilitate communications between patients and therapists.

In the office, tablet-based systems enable therapists to utilize photos and videos to help educate patients about their conditions and treatments.

Therapists can access any number of websites for information helpful for patients and make copies of pertinent information for clients to take with them.

Physical Therapy Software: EMR Adoption, Selection and Implementation Checklist

Physical Therapy Software: EMR Adoption, Selection and Implementation Checklist

Nitin Chhoda reveals the key factors to consider before adopting and implementing an EMR system in your practice with a simple, easy to follow blueprint.

physical therapy software reviewsAdoption of a physical therapy software like EMR shouldn’t be done in haste or therapists may find themselves repenting at leisure and regretting their choice of an EMR.

There are literally hundreds of physical therapy software EMR systems, most of which are designed with hospitals and physicians as the primary users.

Make Your Physical Therapy Software Unique

Physical therapy practices have unique needs and it’s imperative that therapists implement an EMR specifically developed for a physical therapy practice.

Before selecting any physical therapy software for EMR, therapists must first define their individual needs, decide what they want a physical therapy software system to accomplish, and determine how their requirements may change in the future.

Therapists should utilize due diligence and thoroughly research the EMR systems they believe best for their practice.

Checklist for EMR Selection

The following is a checklist of features clinic owners should look for in an EMR for maximum efficiency, enhanced patient care and increased practice profitability.

  • Created specifically for physical therapy practices;
  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface for therapists and staff;
  • Patient portal to schedule appointments, complete forms and request information;
  • Ability to create and scan in documents, post test results and submit prescriptions;
  • Electronic billing;
  • Web-based physical therapy software service for access from any location with an Internet connection;
  • Accommodates special privacy protections by patients;

  • Create printed copies of records when valid requests are received;
  • Communicate and share records with other medical professionals when needed;
  • Offers password protected access and encryption of data;
  • Ability to include notations and create custom forms;
  • Integrates with existing office systems;
  • Comprehensive physical therapy software back-up options;
  • Meets Meaningful Use objectives;
  • 24/7 vendor support, updates, bug fixes, staff training, and recovery tools

physical therapy scheduling softwareHow An EMR System Can Affect Your Practice

An EMR changes the way staff conduct daily tasks and they’ll need sufficient time to become familiar with the new system, implement modules gradually, but establish a timetable for integration.

It’s helpful to assemble a team to answer questions and offer assistance when problems arise.

Transitioning to any new physical therapy software system will cause some disruptions and delays. Practice owners will need to exercise patience throughout the process and remember that implementing features gradually allows staff to retain more of what they’re learning.

Schedule Staff Training Wisely

It may seem counterproductive, but many practices can benefit from light scheduling during the initial training phase and closing the practice on the day of installation. Begin having staff use the new physical therapy software system as soon as possible and avoid long periods between training sessions.

The adoption, selection and implementation of an EMR can be accomplished smoothly and efficiently with sufficient preparation.

Everyone learns at a different pace and retains knowledge at varying levels. A physical therapy software like EMR provides greater flexibility within all facets of the practice and clinic owners will soon see an increase in productivity.

Physical Therapy Software: Transforming Staff Productivity Through “Time Stamping”

Physical Therapy Software: Transforming Staff Productivity Through “Time Stamping”

Nitin Chhoda reveals how to transform productivity in your practice with the ‘date and time stamping strategy’ to minimize ‘wasted time’ and boost staff effectiveness in your practice.

physical therapy software programsPhysical therapy software staff members are industrious individuals, but in some practices, loafing, loitering, and wasting time are at epidemic proportions.

Staff members that are wasting time, unintentionally or on purpose, are essentially stealing and costing thousands or even millions in revenues.

Physical therapy software addresses the problem, providing indisputable evidence of malingering while placing more money in the clinic’s coffers.

Forms of Stealing Time

Time theft can take many forms. Some physical therapy software staff may not be performing to their full potential through inefficient methods. Other time wasters may not be so easy to spot.

Unauthorized or excessive absences, surfing the Internet, break time overages, playing computer games, checking email, watching movies and text messaging are just some of the ways staff steal time from employers.

EMRs dispense with the need for practice owners to snoop in their own clinics, examine computer records and conduct weekend raids to ferret out time thieves.

EMRs provide clinic owners with an easy way to track staff productivity through the use of time stamping.

What Date and Time Stamping Can Do to Your Practice

The physical therapy software EMR marks the creation of a wide array of entries with a date and time stamp, showing who did the work and when. Date and time stamps can reflect each step of a patient’s visit, from when vital signs were entered and test result were received to how long the visit lasted.

Some EMRs place an actual handwritten copy of the signature for each therapist and staff member for additional verification. While it’s an optional feature in some EMRs, it’s an effective tool for documenting time theft that should be considered when selecting physical therapy software. It also helps protect therapists and staff against reimbursement issues, paybacks and lawsuits.

Date and time stamping provides immediately available physical therapy software documentation of staff members who may need to be guided to new and more efficient ways of accomplishing their tasks. It’s an effective tool for discovering staff that are not performing to the clinic owner’s specifications.

Increasing Productivity Is Possible

Practice owners may find that they can terminate an individual’s employment and actually achieve gains in productivity, while others may discover they can operate more efficiently with fewer staff members.

There’s a growing trend among employees in a variety of industries – they want jobs but they don’t necessarily want to work. They utilize services, supplies and equipment for personal use that their employer supplies as a necessary part of their job.

It’s all a type of theft that physical therapy software clinic owners must guard against diligently and an EMR that provides time stamping can be worth its weight in gold.

Identifying Time Theftweb based physical therapy software

Physical therapy software is one of the easiest and most efficient means of determining when, where and how time from the practice is being stolen and the identity of the perpetrator(s).

Time theft on the job is one of the most pressing challenges for practice owners and one that costs clinics in productivity and revenue.

Once practice owners have transformed the face of physical therapy software staff productivity to the best possible efficiency, therapists can begin working on identifying the best payers to increase the financial viability of their clinics.