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AS I SEE IT


telling the surgeon to do better will not help, you will need to identify which surgeon(s) are impacting billing and show them the actual costs associated with these delays. This is where ana- lytical tools come into play as they provide the necessary details to make your case in dollars and cents. Data analytics software does more than pinpoint a problem, it also helps identify the cause. It offers the abil- ity to review every claim that went out over a specific period of time, enabling you to see how long claims took from the date of the procedure until they were dropped. Data analysis can be sorted by doctor, specialty or insurance company and could reveal problems such as one insurance company taking longer than another to process similar claims. These tools allow you to get as detailed as necessary to find the cause of your billing problems. With infor- mation in hand, you can determine the problem at hand and whether it is a one-off issue or a recurring concern.


Setting up Your Dashboard When considering data analytics soft- ware, keep it simple. If the dashboard is too complex it will be difficult to discern which information is critical and which is just window dressing. A good rule of thumb is to have no more than four to six points on the first level of your dashboard. Points to consider including are days in accounts receiv- able (A/R) and A/R trending, days to bill and bill trending, and the percent- age of A/R that is more than 90 days. As you build out your dashboard,


have several layers of analytics that you can view; the ability to drill down deeper will help you identify why a problem is occurring. For example, if A/R is more than 90 days, the abil- ity to access detailed screens will help you pinpoint the cause. Pull- down screens should allow you to look by doctor, by specialty, by payer, etc. The dashboard should also allow you to compare previous months or


is great to know where you are, it is imperative to know where you have been, and by extrapolation, where you are headed. The value of analytics is the ability to see trending. Trending is important because it shows if things are being done the way they should be over a period of time, not simply what is happening today. Given that no two ASCs are alike, it is also important to note that the ana- lytics we are discussing are intended for use within your center and are not meant to serve as a benchmark or a comparison against other centers. Data analytics are used to show the positive or negative trends within your center over a period of time.


When considering data analytics software, keep it simple. If the dashboard is too complex it will be difficult to discern which information is critical and which is just window dressing.”


—Doug Oakley, SourceMedical


Despite the significant benefits associated with data analytics tools, many independent centers are not utilizing them because they do not have the financial means to bring this business intelligence software in- house. There are other facilities who already have a lot on their plates and the idea of adding additional tasks might be impossible. Fortunately, data analytics is a benefit offered by many outsource billing partners. Getting claims out quickly and


a specific period of time. The ability to drill down multiple levels to see where changes and issues occurred is essential to determine why delays are happening. Did you get a new doctor or a new vendor who is not sending invoices in a timely manner? If some- thing is trending negatively, the abil- ity to dig deeper will help you deter- mine where the increase occurred. Another important point to con- sider is that analytic reports are not as valuable when viewed only as a snapshot. Snapshots simply show you today, they do not tell you what hap- pened over a period of time. While it


accurately is vitally important to a center’s financial health; the quicker a claim goes out, the faster payments are received. Data analytics tools pro- vide the detail needed to understand the issue, so delays can be avoided. Outsource billing partners can bring this information to collectors, charge posters, payment posters, etc., to explain how things are trending and why. The right outsourced billing partner can bring into focus exactly what your center needs to work on to manage your billing efficiently and effectively.


Doug Oakley is the client services manager for Revenue Cycle Services at SourceMedical in Fort Myers, Florida. Write him at Doug.Oakley@sourcemed.net.


ASC FOCUS APRIL 2015 11


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