into their revenue cycle data in areas such as claims submission timeli- ness and success, payer and physician trends, staff productivity and other key performance metrics. ASCs can then use this data for benchmarking, identi- fying poor performing areas and staff, measuring success of improvement measures and setting goals for staff. Patient cost estimator—With patients being asked to shoulder more of the financial burden for their care, ASCs must develop effective ways to collect payments from patients. Patient cost estimation technology can help surgery centers more effectively calcu- late what patients are likely to owe by entering patient, procedure and insur- ance information. Business office staff can then collect this amount on the day of surgery or work with patients to arrange another means of cover- ing expenses. Such a solution can help reduce the risk of patient collections failures or the need for staff to spend significant time chasing after patients for payment.

Maximizing Benefits Adding any of these technologies can greatly improve one or more aspects of your business office’s performance. Turning “can greatly improve” into “will greatly improve” requires more than just investing in the solution, however. For technology used by staff and

physicians, seek out solutions that will have minimal disruption to their daily workflow and work to secure their buy-in before implementation. Intro- ducing new technology requires mak- ing changes, so prepare staff and phy- sicians by providing education on the new technology prior to its implemen- tation. If possible, give staff hands-on time with the technology so they can become comfortable with its look and feel. Ask vendor representatives to visit your ASC and answer staff questions. Try to ensure all business office staff gain at least a baseline under-

A poorly performing business office, when you factor in issues such as denied claims, unsuccessful patient collections and the time and resources allocated to appeals and collections follow-up, can turn a profitable procedure into one that can lose an ASC money.”

—Randy Bishop, Surgical Notes

standing of new technology before you go live. Identify super-users—indi- viduals who are comfortable with the technology—and task them with help- ing colleagues learn how to use the solution more effectively. Incentivize staff for embracing and learning how to effectively use a new technology to help further secure buy-in. Once your ASC is comfortably

using a new technology, explore more advanced features, if available. Lever- aging additional features that can drive further efficiencies should be easier than getting started with a technol- ogy since staff is already familiar with basic operations and controls. An important caveat: Adding a new technology can introduce new busi- ness office inefficiencies. During the initial weeks after going live with a technology, monitor staff/patient usage closely to ensure it is used correctly and consistently. When rolling out new

features, repeat this process. Look for user shortcomings and implement cor- rective action. Continually measure how the technology is affecting your business office’s efficiency. Set goals to further improve performance, par- ticularly when introducing new or more advanced features. Technology has the potential to transform an ASC’s business office and greatly improve the profitability of an ASC. Perform your due diligence and learn about the many solutions now available and the impact they will have on your performance and bottom line. You might be surprised to learn just how easy it is to achieve busi- ness office efficiencies you might have never thought possible.

Randy Bishop is the president and chief operating officer for Surgical Notes. Write him at


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