The Importance of Real Time Reporting Capabilities

By: T. Jones

The Importance of Real Time Reporting Capabilities within your medical practice management software.

Most medical practice management software will contain some sort of reporting capabilities. These will range from very basic reporting, to having an advanced reporting writing function.

As a user, it is important to understand the value reports can bring to your organization. It is also imperative that the user not spend too much time writing reports. A system that can bring advanced reporting, based on real time data will be a very valuable tool to the user and organization.

Understanding how reports can benefit your organization is critical. Reporting can be used to highlight current, historical, and projected revenue and planning to your practice. For example, current day reports can be used to provide audit trails of daily cash transactions. Historical reporting will not only show where you have been, and the growth (or decline) your practice is experiencing, but will also provide trending allowing management to strategically plan for future periods.

Let's review examples of reports that your practice management system should provide your organization.

Revenue Reports
The data found within revenue reports will assist in categorizing the services your practice performs. For example, a report that calculates revenue per CPT code or service code will assist in utilization. A report that calculates revenue based on location can be used to assist in profitability reporting by location. Revenue by financial class will categorize the revenue based on insurance, self pay, Medicare, etc. This can also be beneficial to your marketing staff to assist in their marketing planning. As you can see, the above examples will not only assist you in your planning, but can be used by others within your practice for multiple purposes.

Aging Reports
Aging reports are extremely valuable for your collections manager. Aging reports are critical to the success of billing services as well. The reports should categorize the claim into financial class, insurance payer, patient responsibility, and the age of the claim. The ability to print an aging report based on a single criteria (i.e. age of the claim) will allow your collectors to focus on specific tasks. Having data within your aging report contain real time data will save your staff time and increase their productivity. Aging reports will also be a valuable asset should you begin to experience a problem with a specific payer. Therefore, having the ability to print an aging report by financial class or third party is essential.

Transaction Reports
I consider reports capturing charges, payments, and adjustments as transaction reports. These reports will be helpful in daily balancing procedures and maintaining a clean audit trail. For example, your staff that posts insurance payments can utilize this report to balance to their bank deposit. Your front desk can utilize the charge report to balance to their daily charge slips.

Transaction reports can also be used to assist your accounting department in reconciling revenue, cash, and write offs.

Adjustment (i.e. write off) transaction reports will indicate the volume of adjustments your practice is experiencing, as well as assist in focusing on unnecessary adjustments.

Scheduling Reports
Not only will you want the ability to possibly print your daily schedule, but you can also utilize scheduling reports, such as appointment cancellations, to assist your staff in patient follow-up to reschedule the appointment. Other examples of important scheduling reports are appointment reminders, resource availability, and future appointment reporting. Each of these reports can be utilized for planning and staff productivity tools.

Data Extracts
Having the reports mentioned above is essential to a successful practice management solution. An additional feature your system should have is the ability to extract the data into another format (i.e. CSV or excel). This will eliminate the need to reproduce the report or enter data into a separate excel file. Most accounting systems have the ability to import CSV or excel data files. This can eliminate duplicate data entry for your accounting personnel. Having the data within excel, will also allow you to personalize the report for your practice (or need), again eliminating duplicate data entry.

As discussed above, a practice management system will contain reports for your use. It is imperative that these reports contain data that is not only valuable for you, but will assist in employee productivity, provide management with data to assist in strategic planning, and provide adequate audit trails for your records.

As the reports are analyzed, it is imperative the data is real time. If the data within the reports is not current, decisions will be made based on invalid data, and employee productivity will be limited. Understanding and utilizing the data within the reports will assist you and your practice in remaining successful.




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