Southeastern United States
With 24 offices located throughout the Southeastern United States, Southeastern Dermatology includes more than 30 providers who care for patients to achieve and maintain their healthiest skin. The team of physicians, certified physician assistants, and nurses are trained in the surgical sub-specialty of dermatology and leverage today’s most advanced techniques to care for and treat a wide variety of skin conditions. The practice also features an aqua medical spa staffed by its health care providers, combining medical expertise with the most up-to-date cosmetic treatments. For more information, please visit www.mydermspecialists.com.
In an ever-changing health care reimbursement landscape, it’s become more important than ever for practices to manage not only their claims processing, but also their receivables to ensure appropriate cash flow and profitability. Many practices turn to collection agencies to continue the follow-up process with patients who have unpaid balances for services which have already been rendered. The traditional process for collaborating in this manner with a third party collection agency involves a time consuming and manual process to exchange the data. As practices strive to become more efficient and leverage the power and accuracy of their eClinicalWorks® and other electronic health records systems, they seek ways to automate functions such as this.
The Client's Need
Southeastern Dermatology contracted with a third-party collections bureau from Southeast Florida to manage collections activities on patient accounts. The practice knew it did not want to expend staff labor to manually extract patient account data from eClinicalWorks® to send to the collection agency, nor did they want to be tied to manually uploading the results of the collections activities once the firm reported updates on patient accounts. They sought a round-trip, automated process that would gather and export the data needed, upload it to the third party, then import updated data, including payment postings, back into eClinicalWorks®.
After an initial assessment of the needs of the client, and an assessment of the capabilities of the third-party collections company, the Ero Health team determined that the first step in the process was to write the specifications for the project, and the collections company had no protocols for a data exchange or IT staff on hand to help facilitate the process on their end. This involved creating the structure for what the data was exported from eClinicalWorks® would look like, and how it could be easily migrated into the collection agency’s software system. The files then had to be restructured and formatted for exporting out of the collections system and imported back into Southeastern Dermatology’s eClinicalWorks®.
The data being exchanged included patient records, which all had to be matched up appropriately on both ends, as well as payment information which could be posted to the billing portion of the record in eClinicalWorks®. The Ero Health team performed meticulous testing, first on the data extraction side to ensure that all patient records were exported from the system properly and second, on the files provided to Southeastern Dermatology by the collection agency to check that payment information was captured appropriately into the patient records, which was the most challenging part of the project. Once testing was complete, the system went live and payments reported by the collection agency began posting in eClinicalWorks®.
Southeastern Dermatology was able to successfully automate a manual process, eliminating the need for additional staff to manage data entry and simplifying the aging A/R collections process through a third party.