It is an exciting but frightening journey: the way towards our dreams. One of the biggest stumbling blocks for Medical professionals is that of Patient Accounts Services.
We go through the process of figuring out our passions, our goals and our career. We all know the difficulty and pressure we experience during our formative years.
Many medical practitioners (dreading the danger of stereotyping) may answer the some of the below questions in the following manner:
- What do I want to do? Work with people.
- What do I want to do with them? Heal them.
- How do I want to heal them? Help fight their cancers / prescribe flu medicine / rehabilitate after trauma.
- Where do I want to study? Pretoria.
And so, you go on your mission to finalize your formal and, in some cases statutory training. You survive, make it through every exam and practical scrutiny. Then, one day you are standing, not in your classroom reciting facts, but on a stage. In your hand is the proof of what you have achieved – the hat that you have worked for so long…
Throw that hat! Celebrate! You are ready…go!!!
Go… Go where?
Do… How do I do it?
Live your passion and earn a living… Ehm… How exactly?
THE PART ACADEMIC AND FORMAL INSTITUTIONS SEEM TO HAVE FORGOTTEN TO FOCUS ON – To a large extent, not even touched on: Patient Accounts Services!!
This is our reality (and it is an international reality, not only a South African one):
According to a leading Medical voice in the Social Media choir “KevinMD”, fewer than 50% of medical graduates are left with sufficient training on the healthcare system and the logistics of running a practice.
Speaking to Ane de Jongh, a young Physiotherapist in the Johannesburg area, the reality of the picture is realised:
While their Ethics class at University (Free State) touched on aspects of a practice, i.e. ‘where it is legal to have a practice’, and ‘what area in square metres would be the minimum legal requirement’. Medical specialists may now know what building to purchase to start off their dream, but ‘It would be great to know how to go about scheduling, tax, billing…’ says Ane.
WHAT’S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT?
There are certain guidelines to follow in the Medical Billing Administration Process and when these aren’t followed, both the doctor and patient could be negatively impacted regarding payments and claims. Many things to consider: Patient Accounts Services, Patient codes, Billing Codes, ICD 10 codes, Patient enquiries, Patient Accounts Management, Cashflow Management, which technology to employ, employing people keeping in mind the related labour costs and liabilities. The list goes on.
Surely this is a vital part of the Health System in any country. Should this information not form part of any student’s formal and statutory training?
Nadine’s (Audiologist) experience draws on a conclusion that training institutions teach with the assumption that whatever knowledge is needed in terms of the Health Care Administration Services, would be obtained from the places where they start work after their studies.
In a country where work is scarce and the entrepreneurial spirit is something that is expected to drive forward young people, this lack of information results in graduates starting off their careers quite unprepared. They have no other choice but to first go in search of this information. A process which is also ridden with complication, according to Nadine – ‘Medical Aid Companies aren’t forthcoming in assisting with the process’.
So where do these young entrepreneurs go with their dreams?
How can these young healers properly function in the Healthcare system?
FINDING A SOLUTION
There is no doubt that not any one student is exempted from some sort of failure when starting his/her own practice for the first time. With that in mind, and looking back over more than 20 years of experience in Medical Billing and Processing bureaus, we (Data Spot-On) might just explore a support programme where medical professionals may obtain the proper knowledge to grasp what will be expected of them in the process of Patient Account Administration – in order to help decrease the failure rate for those who are eager to grow the economy by starting up their own practices.
Secondly, we can go one step further: In a technological age where we are connected to each other in so many ways, Data Spot-On can assist young doctors and practitioners with sailing through the confusing waves of Patient Accounts Services, legalities, procedures and administration by performing this task on their behalf.
Data Spot-On has more 20 years worth of experience in the Medical Billing field, and has a team (apart from myself) of specialists who stay abreast of changes in the healthcare industry, support practitioners in every way possible with administrating their patient’s accounts, ensuring accuracy and a transparent, streamlined process.