In 2009, the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners' survey found that the average DC spent over 40 percent of their time on administrative tasks and paperwork (up from 35 percent in 1998). Today, six years later, that percentage has certainly increased.
Changes in meaningful use, HIPAA, the Affordable Care Act, and CMS-1500--as well as preparing for the transition to ICD-10--mean the business side of running your practice has become increasingly more complicated and time-consuming. But in this, as in so many things, the only way out is through. By putting in the time now to get a handle on administrative issues, you will end up having more time with your patients down the road.
Here are a few of the best time investments to make right now:
- Automate your New Patient System with a complete set of forms that include intake, examination, diagnosis, treatment plan, SOAP notes, progress evaluations, discharge, and subsequent documentation of ongoing maintenance care.
- Get Right with Medicare. A distressing number of doctors still aren't clear on the difference between active (covered) care—care deemed medically necessary for the relief, correction and stabilization of a condition—and maintenance care, sometimes called wellness or preventative care. If you don't appreciate the distinctions, you can bet your patients don't, either. Make sure you have brochures, forms, and scripts in place to explain this unequivocally to your patients—and you'll seldom have to spend time on this again.
- Prepare for ICD-10 immediately. There's much to be undertaken here: checking with software vendors to establish their needs and timelines, practicing and training, creating cheat sheets for your most often-used diagnostic codes, and making sure your forms can handle the extra alpha-numeric digits ICD-10 uses.
If you create the time to take care of business now, your investment will pay off in time you'll be able to spend doing what you love--caring for patients--for the rest of the year.
Subscribe to Paperwork Pearls.