Has your ABA Therapy practice considered adopting Practice Management software this year? The right Practice Management software tools not only help to organize important information and aspects of day-to-day business operations, but the significant amounts of time that are saved can be spent on what’s most important – your patients. These types of software systems can assist you and your practices in processes ranging from clinical documentation, to authorization tracking, to Learning Management Systems (LMS), and much more.
Accurate and timely clinical documentation is critical to patient progress and service justification. Juggling physical copies of documents is not only time consuming and costly, but greatly increases the likelihood of mistakes, misplacement, and delays in the record keeping process. There are only so many filing cabinets that can fit into an office space, and excessive volumes of physical records can quickly become an administrative nightmare.
Practice Management software allows routine templates and processes for clinical documentation to be established. Many systems offer auditing tools that will automatically catch and flag any missing, incomplete, or untimely documentation, thus dually serving as a safety net for errors. Auto populated and preset fields can help to avoid coding errors, limit data entry, and from a legal perspective, minimize unintended fraud. Simply put, the administrative costs associated with staff, time, and space that exist with paper documentation systems are significantly eliminated with Practice Management software.
Clinical Data Tracking
Like other areas of healthcare work, data is gold in the field of ABA Therapy. Any information that is outdated or unclear can ultimately pose safety risks for patients and liability for practices. Many providers are familiar with paper data tracking as this has been common practice for years; however, a rising trend has shifted to digital data tracking, another feature available in Practice Management software. This tracking puts the system in charge of plotting charts and graphs, and managing inputted data entries. Not only is this information tracked more efficiently, but the ability to run specific reports and view data in different ways adds to its value.
Another constant battle that many providers face is tracking patient authorization usage while maximizing the available services approved to them. Many providers fail to realize they are either under-utilizing or over-utilizing a patient’s authorizations.
Under-utilization of a patient’s authorizations results in the patient receiving fewer services than they were recommended and approved for. This in turn can potentially lead to a decrease in future authorizations due to a failure of use. Over-utilization of an authorization will result in providing services that may not be reimbursed, thus costing you time and money.
As practices grow, it can become increasingly difficult to keep track of authorization statuses in their paper form. Luckily, many Practice Management systems do a great job of tracking reports in real time, highlighting expiration dates, providing reminder tools, projecting future under/overages, and assisting in decreasing the possibility of lapsed authorizations and revenue losses.
With the excitement of ABA therapy practice growth, there also comes the task of increased scheduling to accommodate this. Working with schedules both internally and externally can become a complex process very quickly when factors such as time off, preferred schedules, and authorized services are in play. Failing to have a good tracking system can result in unhappy staff and patients, a decrease in efficiency, loss of revenue, and patients not receiving necessary services. Many Practice Management systems have intelligent software tools that assist in managing availability, coordinating schedules, and finding the best qualified staff at the right location and time.
In the same way that data is important for monitoring patient progress, business data analysis is equally as important for maintaining a pulse on the health of an organization. The vastness of information that data analysis captures can be intimidating. Where should you even start to look for answers and insights? Not only does most Practice Management software help with the input of data, but they can also offer a wide range of pre-established billing, revenue, and accounts receivable metric reports, along with analyses of staff, department, and/or location productivity and profitability.
Learning Management System
In an age of digital learning, many providers have turned to Practice Management systems that incorporate Learning Management Systems (LMS) into their functionality. These systems have online training modules and tracking systems to help monitor progress and completion of required training. With staffing capacity challenges that ABA practices commonly face, it’s important for the onboarding of new hires to be as quick, efficient, and effective as possible. Learning Management Systems enable organizations to offer consistent, cost effective training for new hires, progressive training modules, and review or recredentialing processes such as CPR/First Aid and HIPAA training.
Having a Learning Management System as part of your larger Practice Management system will equally free up time for higher level professionals such as BCBAs to spend more of their time focusing on patients rather than having to train staff. Furthermore, these systems do a great job in helping to track ongoing requirements and expirations, thus ensuring your organization is always aware of its compliance with industry regulations.
As industry, government, and payer requirement regulations continue to increase and become stricter, maintaining compliance is vital for ABA practices. Violation of regulations and requirements can easily result in repayment penalties and even civil and/or criminal offenses. The concept of compliance as a requirement of organizational staff is easy to accept; however, without an effective way to monitor this, it is not unheard of for updated requirements to fall by the wayside. Practice Management systems offer tools to ensure that your organization enters and remains in compliance with the many industry regulations.
Now more than ever, industries have shifted to adopting services in a variety of ways beyond the traditional in-person approach; virtual telehealth appointments have become increasingly popular. With this shift of location, there has also been a shift in the adaptiveness –and now expectation — of patient electronic documentation. Security of documentation is required by law, and the fact of the matter is that paper documentation is at a higher risk of exposure or misplacement. Practice Management systems help further reduce the risk patient documentation exposure by offering secure HIPAA compliant digital systems for communication and storage of information. Additionally, due to the tiered nature of ABA therapy, it is critically important for supervisors and BCBAs to have easy and timely access to patient data for the most optimal care. Having current and live data to review through Practice Management data tracking systems can assist BCBAs in making treatment decisions based on the most up to date information. It is also much faster for the BCBA to update, communicate, and implement changes to treatment plans with the patient’s treatment team.
At Missing Piece, our behavioral health and ABA billing team is here to support you in all your billing needs. We offer FREE use of a Practice Management software called PracticePiece to all of our providers. This assists in patient information management, scheduling, authorization tracking, clinical documentation, and more. If you already have preferred software system but would still like to learn more about how we can support you in your ABA billing needs, let us know!
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