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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

It’s All Greek to Me! - Learn the Language of Medical-Billing Notes!

According to a Market Research Study hosted by REVEX, around half of medical billers utilize Excel spreadsheets for note taking.  Others use emails, word documents, and their current Patient Relationship Management Systems to maintain notes. [3] 

This can present issues when it comes to communication between employees following-up on the same claims; for example, one employee is calling on a claim to follow-up and gets told one thing, while another logs into the online portal and receives different information.  If both employees are taking notes in excel spreadsheets, they may not be receiving real-time updates on the status of the claim and there is a disconnect there.  Also, having two employees following up on the same claim is not efficient when it comes to labor costs. 

What if there was an easier way? A faster way? And automated way? A standardized method to taking notes that saves time and lowers error incidences on your claims... Keep reading if you are tired of your current process and are looking for a way to improve the accuracy and efficiency of your notes/follow-ups!

Let’s review what GREAT notes look like:

  1. Great notes are easy to read, clear and concise.  

They should describe the actions you took to reach the conclusion of the claim.  It is ok to use shorthand if the method is standardized amongst all users.  A user should be able to read the last note and know exactly what you did and what needs to be done next.  We recommend a 1-2 sentence summary or action step for each follow-up note.

 

  1. Great notes direct you through the follow-ups.

Notes should document actions taken as well as next steps to take.  This allows smooth transitions between billers following up on claims within the same team.

 

  1. Great notes set your follow-up schedule/timeline.

Notes should all be tagged with a date/timestamp for accountability and communication between employees.  This will also help save time as you can schedule your follow-ups based on payer and how quickly they process claims/updates.


  1. Great notes are accurate, current, and detailed. 

They should include the claim number, the source of the update (called, checked a portal, emailed rep), payment information (Check/EFT number, amount paid, and any other items like copay or deductible).  When it comes to standardizing the language used in notes, it may be helpful to have a template or form for your billers to utilize.  When it comes to being detailed, we highly recommend using call reference numbers when communicating with payors as these can easily be traced or recorded.  Whenever you get a call reference number, you can also help guide customer service reps on subsequent calls so that they can quickly help you on your needs.  You should update the notes at least weekly, so you do not have to spend time in tracking down information as claims pay.

 

  1. Great notes are relevant, productive, and include vital information.

Nothing is more frustrating than reading a note and it does not include any new or relevant information.  This goes back to my first and third point of notes needing to be concise and detailed, but I wanted to make the points of relativity and productivity stand out.  Save yourself from frustration and have value-added notes. [1]

How can I improve my note taking process?

·       Utilize forms or templates to standardize what needs to be included in each note update.  REVEX offers this feature in our software with a simple form.  With REVEX, our notes can also be automated depending on what custom package you have with us.  Our Biller’s and software automatically update these notes in our software in a concise, productive manner so our teams are always on the same page with live, accurate updates!  See the screenshot below for a sample of the notes form we use:

 



·       Training is key.  Training your staff in a manner that they each utilize the same process is crucial to a cohesive billing team.  This ensures little to no time wasted, higher accuracy in note taking, and great team morale by lowering frustrations.[2] REVEX also offers services when it comes to training your billing team.  If you need someone to help you develop a billing plan, more efficient note-taking methods, or training your employees- Schedule a meeting with REVEX today!

·       Hold Reviews for your team.  This is a great way to go over their work and help them improve processes and productivity.  Review things like their time spent on certain billing tasks, accuracy in filing claims, note-taking efficiency, and even discuss their needs to improve their work environment.  A review should be both ways to the employee feels heard and can make suggestions for improvement as they are such a strong part of the process.

 

To conclude, note taking is an important part of the medical billing process when you are looking to save time and money.  You can save more time, be more efficient and be more productive by focusing on strategies that reinforce communication and expedite processes. This will help avoid claim errors and miscommunications. REVEX is eager to help you build a custom plan to address your team’s needs. Schedule a meeting with us to get your free quote today!   

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[1] Lundin, Elizabeth. “How to Take Better Notes: The 6 Best Note-Taking Systems.” College Info Geek, 8 Jan. 2020, collegeinfogeek.com/how-to-take-notes-in-college/.

[2] “The Medical Billing Process.” MedicalBillingandCoding.org, MB&CC, 6 Sept. 2019, www.medicalbillingandcoding.org/billing-process/.

[3] REVEX. (2020, June 1). Market Research Study.


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