Communication Hacks for Doubling Your Therapy Clinic’s Efficiency

Effective communication is key for any business, but is especially critical in the therapy industry. One small breakdown in communication can have lasting negative effects on your therapy clinic’s billing, scheduling, and treatment processes.

There are different types of communication, all of which must come together in seamless synergy to result in increased efficiency. Read below for the most stress-inducing categories of communication and the associated hacks we’ve learned over decades of working with therapy clinics.

Improve Your Clinic’s Communication with Patients

Since patients are the ones you are serving, they come first on our list. 

It is probably no surprise that the communication you have most often with patients involves appointment scheduling. We live in a busy world, and when the success of your business depends on people remembering their visits, it is beyond helpful to assist them in doing so. 

The best modern hack for avoiding high cancellation rates and minimizing patient frustration is to implement text message reminders. That’s why we’ve built them into TheraPlan.

A related factor many clinic owners fail to focus on is customer service training for therapists. Even when things go wrong, patients are more likely to be understanding if they feel they are heard and important to you. Your therapists are on the front lines of interaction with your community, so we say getting back to the basics of human decency by providing superior customer service is paramount.

Read this post from Clinic Connection for even more about healthy communication with patients.

Maintain Strict Procedures for Communicating with Primary Care Providers

One of the most common challenges we see clinics facing involves reaching out to Primary Care Providers (PCPs).

Remember that even if your clinic has it together, there is no guarantee that other clinics will. No doubt you’ve encountered difficulties with receiving timely responses from a doctor’s office regarding things like getting Plans of Care signed. It can feel like an endless frustration and take a lot of time away from other critical administrative tasks.

The solution is to control what you can control, which in this case is timing! We cannot stress enough the importance of requiring therapists to complete plans of care as early as possible. This begins with scheduling evaluations about 30 days prior to the end of an existing plan of care, which means your therapists need to be trained to pay attention to critical expiration dates.

To make things like plan-of-care tracking even more painless for your clinic, we have integrated quick communication right into our EMR with features like TheraFax. Send critical documents to doctors and insurance companies directly from our web-based application.

Ease the Frustration of Communicating with Insurance Companies

We would echo the great time-saving (and sanity-saving!) hacks in this post by our credentialing partners for the dreaded necessity of working with insurance companies.

Ensure Sound Internal Communication in Your Therapy Clinic

None of the above tips will have a sizable effect if you are not closely managing how well your employees tell each other important details. Standardization is the answer.

For everything from hiring to scheduling to credentialing, your therapists and admins should have no doubt about who to contact, or when and how to do so. This begins with establishing easily understandable procedures from the moment you welcome a new hire onto the team. 

Our quick tip for making sure procedures are implemented? A good old-fashioned Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). The twenty-first century hack version of this is digital! Online document storage systems make it so easy to keep live documents, which track all edits and contributing authors. Keep one document that houses all pertinent rules pertaining to communication. Assign one person to update it regularly, ensure that therapists are notified of any changes immediately, and keep a record of their agreement to said changes.

As the clinic owner, it’s important to remove yourself from the small tasks of day-to-day operations so you can focus on growth. Having an SOP in an easy format, and using an internal messaging system that is not as cumbersome as email, means you don’t need to feel pressured to mediate every small misunderstanding that takes place. Delegation can be scary, but it’s absolutely critical to positive communication.

Ultimately, whether you choose to use a digital document or not, failing to pay attention to how well your employees are talking to one another could result in unnecessary conflict and even significant revenue loss.

TheraPlan Can Help You Audit Your Clinic’s Communication Protocol

We may be a software company, but we consider ourselves communication experts, at least when it comes to our clients. After all, an EMR is built to support the accurate and regular exchange of information. If anyone knows how important clear communication is, it’s our development and support teams! 

Not only do we have 25+ years of working intimately with clinic owners under our belts, but we have built an entire network of Florida therapy experts for you to consult about things like internal and therapist-patient communication.

If you think your clinic could use some obligation-free advice, reach out today!

Using an EMR When Credentialing for Therapists Using CAQH Account

How the Right EMR Can Help Therapists Keep CAQH Accounts Current

If you are a therapy clinic owner, we would venture a guess that you are no stranger to the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH) and what membership means for the continuity of your team’s credentialing experience. It is essentially a central application hub for various insurance credentials, and seems like a no-brainer. Of course, there is also the fact that many insurance companies actually require that all credential submissions happen via CAQH. These choices by the movers and shakers at large insurance companies have certainly made this almost an industry standard in 2020.

Mandating CAQH membership for your entire team can therefore be helpful as you continuously balance rolling expiration dates and bringing on new hires. However, fully implementing clinic policies that support accurate and consistent credentialing is easier said than done. Keeping an up-to-date account that is attested every four months is not light work and needs to be a priority for everyone involved.

Despite the fact that credentialing is technically the responsibility of individual therapists, it ultimately falls on you, the clinic owner. That’s largely because not keeping up with it can present a sizable risk and potential revenue loss for your business. Whether you have admins or you’re managing on your own, it’s overwhelming to keep up with therapist credentialing for CAQH (personal data, current documents, and list of insurances, to name a few items). 

If your office does not already run like a proverbial well-oiled machine, this type of paperwork nightmare could overtake your administrative processes. In our experience overseeing the admin side of countless therapy clinics, many make credentialing more difficult than it needs to be. Like any other small business responsibility, efficiency in this area is very much about standardization. Have a central place (preferably digital and easily accessible) to house all the important data for each person in need of credentials, and you’ll immediately cut down on the time spent searching for correct info.  

No surprise, we highly recommend an EMR for this! As you may have already discovered, though, not all EMRs are created equal.

In the same way that we focused heavily on building user-friendly documentation templates into our software, we also designed TheraPlan to make getting organized for credentialing easier. In each user’s profile within User Maintenance, there is an accordion (section) specifically for keeping credentialing data and uploading a therapist’s pertinent documents and personal data. Here, you will see that it’s possible to add expiration dates for board certifications, which allows our application to work with you in making the process seamless. 

This section is only accessible by you as the owner, and any admin users you specify. Every move inside the system is traceable, so there will never be a question about who made changes to a user’s file. Once you’ve input all the necessary information the first time, the designated person in charge of credentialing for your office can then update it as necessary with just a few clicks. One additional benefit: TheraPlan is web-based, so it’s accessible from any device anywhere. 

Even if you are already a TheraPlan user or have implemented some processes for therapist credentialing with CAQH, you may need some additional guidance to avoid costly mistakes. For this reason, we’ve partnered with the credentialing pros at Clinic Connection and several other companies specializing in Florida therapy to help clinic owners like you. 

We invite you to reach out to us before making any changes to your credentialing processes. Not only can we get you set up with a modern, therapy-specific EMR, but we can connect you with our network of Florida therapy experts.

Therapy Clinic Services in the State of Florida

Why Your Florida-Based Therapy Clinic Needs State-Specific Industry Expertise

Have you ever tried to explain any part of your business to a friend who’s not in the therapy industry? Chances are, they were confused. They don’t understand why you can’t chat because you’re calling insurance companies first thing in the morning, why it takes so much effort to make sure your therapists are compliant with documentation, or why you’re staying up until all hours of the night to finish credentialing paperwork for a new hire. After awhile, you may just stop trying to discuss work at all with anyone outside the office. 

No matter how long your practice has been in business, you understand how complicated this industry can be. With constant changes to documentation and billing requirements, saying it’s a lot to keep up with would be an understatement.

Furthermore, it’s nearly impossible to get the support you need from outside sources because they’re just too general. National industry blogs, videos, and podcasts are great, but they won’t necessarily help you with the everyday tasks of billing, credentialing, HIPAA compliance, and more as a Florida-based clinic. So, you find yourself turning to Facebook groups and other local clinic owners for the detailed advice you need.

Florida Therapy Industry Regulations Are Unique

The biggest reason it’s so hard to find help, or even relatable content, is because therapy is such a state-specific business. The things you are required to consider in the state of Florida could be wildly different from someone who practices therapy in any other state. Then, there’s the matter of diving even deeper into speech, occupational, physical, behavioral, and other therapy disciplines.

Because requirements and the related changes often pertain to specific state-based insurance carriers or Medicaid programs, the advice you seek from outside sources may not always apply. Every state’s regulations are different, and sometimes there are even regional variations in things like early intervention therapy.

You Need More Than One Type of Support for Your Therapy Clinic

You may have had the inclination to outsource some part of your business, but it can be hard to know what is most important. Do you protect your therapists’ time first and pay for an EMR, or is it more important to hire a billing agency to ensure that they get paid quickly? Sometimes, bringing a new company into the mix can sound so overwhelming as a clinic owner that you just conclude it’s best to do it all yourself or with your current admin team. 

Add in the overwhelm of trying to work with a company whose staff is unfamiliar with Florida regulations, and it’s no wonder you’d want to handle the responsibilities alone.

Therapy is a Highly Interpersonal Industry

Yet another factor in your frustration could be the sheer emotional toll it takes to try your hardest to provide a service people genuinely need, while feeling like you’re up against the complex, and sometimes unfair, rules of our bewildering health care system.

We know what this feels like from your perspective and that of your patients. Our founder, Stephen Edwards, got started in the Florida therapy industry due to a personal tragedy, which has given him and our entire team insight into the patient’s view of therapy services. We fully grasp why your job is important to you, and not just as a small business owner concerned about revenue. You deserve to have the exact help you need to continue providing high-quality therapy to your patients.

Look for a Solid Network of Florida Therapy Experts

All of the above leads us to the solution we have created: a network of Florida-based therapy industry experts ready to serve clinics like yours. We’ve seen the inner workings of clinics and home-based practices of all sizes and with every mix of disciplines. Because we understand what it takes to run an efficient and thriving clinic, we’ve built a team of billing, credentialing, and auditing experts, EMR software developers, and Medicaid eligibility pros.

We don’t believe you should have to choose between these services because they’re all essential to your business’s growth. So, we’ve joined forces.

Think of our network of companies like a group of apps that integrate to make your life easier. When you use more than one of our products or services together, you get the benefit of seamless communication amongst a unified team of people who understand your challenges and are all working on your behalf.

Find out how we can make use of all these areas of expertise and create a customized plan together to take your therapy practice to the next level in 2020.

Dashboard-Centric EMR

4 Advantages of a Dashboard-Centric EMR

In a world dominated by mobile apps, in which few daily tasks require more than a series of clicks, we feel EMRs should be no exception. Medical professionals may need to keep accurate and insurance-approved records, but that doesn’t mean the interface for doing so has to look dry and boring! A modern, aesthetically pleasing dashboard makes the most common functions of an EMR feel less cumbersome, and at the same time provides one-click accessibility. We designed TheraPlan around these principles, ensuring that our dashboard-centric EMR and landing page would provide numerous advantages to our users, including:    
  1. Quick access to patients’ charts and contact info: Upon logging in to TheraPlan, the first thing you’ll notice on the dashboard is a Patient List. Search for a particular patient, or review your entire caseload at any given time, without having to navigate to the Patient Information section of the application. If you’re a therapist on wheels, accessing the dashboard from your mobile device allows you to call the patient’s main contact phone number in just a couple clicks!
  1. Scheduling at your fingertips: If you’re using TheraPlan for scheduling appointments, our dashboard brings those to your attention right away. See your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule at a glance, and even check in patients straight from the scheduler tile. No outside apps or calendars necessary!
  1. Inter-company messaging: We all know that emails get lost in inboxes, and text messages sometimes get overlooked. When you need to communicate with your team of therapists or admin staff, simply log in to TheraPlan and send an instant message straight from our message center.
  1. An at-a-glance summary of unsigned documents: Forgot which notes you left unfinished? See them all in one place every time you log in. With this addition to the TheraPlan dashboard serving as your ongoing task list, it’s impossible to end up with incomplete documentation!
  A dashboard-centric EMR provides immeasurable advantages. TheraPlan’s unique brand of dashboard technology allows therapists to complete daily responsibilities with minimal effort: to work smart, not hard!   If you’re interested in seeing our dashboard for yourself, schedule a demo. We’re happy to show you how TheraPlan can simplify your work life.