The outsourcing of services amongst small-to-medium medical practices has been drastically increasing and will continue to do so for the next foreseeable years. For instance, recent studies showed that the global medical billing outsourcing market is expected to grow by a compound annual growth rate of 12% until 2030.
Behavioral and speech pathologists that have not outsourced services yet will soon join the bandwagon, as revealed by market research.
Those practices that have already joined the outsourcing revolution might be realizing some of the benefits, but are they optimizing this opportunity?
This article aims to inform behavioral and speech pathologist practices (those considering outsourcing and those who have been in the game for some time) on how to best manage their outsourced services to get the best return on investment.
Why is outsourcing in the medical field exploding?
The most popular service to be outsourced is medical billing services. The American health care billing regulations complicate billing operations that could lead to a loss of time and revenue. For example, the ICD-10-CM coding system leads to complications in insurance claims and is one of the reasons why practices seek help from outsourced experts.
Another reason for outsourcing services is related to the shortage of employees, especially billing experts in America. We recommend reading our recently published article that showcased the value of outsourcing outside America. In that article, we explained the reasons for the current employee shortages experienced in the medical field.
Compliance also plays a role in the increasing popularity of medical outsourcing. More medical practices are striving to become HIPAA compliant. Outsourcing services to a company that is already compliant is a quick solution to the challenge.
These are the main reasons outsourcing in the medical field is growing nationwide. Other motivating factors could come to light depending on the service the practice wishes to outsource.
What services in a behavioral and speech pathology practice can be outsourced?
By now, you probably know that outsourcing extends far beyond just getting a virtual assistant (VA) to manage appointments for your practice. Here is a list of services that you can outsource.
- Revenue cycle management
- Reporting and analysis
- Medical billing, coding, and benefit verification
- Credentialing and recredentialing
- Compliance and reporting (HIPAA, etc.)
- Claims, charge, and payment posting services
- Communication operations (call center capabilities)
- Client liaising and reputation management
- Recruitment (staffing services)
- Digital marketing (IT support, website, social media, e-mail marketing, etc.)
The choice of services selected depends on various factors such as the size of the practice, budget, and future growth aspirations. The upside is (if you chose a reliable company to partner with, that is) that you are able to determine the ROI and, through monitoring and reporting, can adapt your strategies accordingly.
When outsourcing services, you can drop some or select new ones as you go along. When doing this in-house, it would mean finding the right people that can do the job, onboarding them, and making sure they are upskilled as regulations or market trends shift. Also, you can’t just fire and rehire people at your practice every other week.
Outsourced Services for Behavioral and Speech Pathologists provides the answer to many of the challenges in your practice. Getting the desired results you had in mind, however, doesn’t always come that easily. That is why in the next section, we will explore the suggestions that will allow you to optimize your outsourced services to get the best ROI.
7 tips for Outsourced Services for Behavioral and Speech Pathologists
A wise person once said: That what can’t be measured doesn’t matter. Putting key measurable metrics in place for all the operations in your practice gives practices the opportunity to create gauges to measure the success of new operational implementations.
The foundation for this lie in the blueprint of your business processes.
- Document your business processes
It is essential to capture processes in a knowledge base that defines them in detail. This may sound like a tedious task that you just don’t have the time for, but don’t underestimate its importance.
First, your mind becomes honed in your business while you investigate and source information to document these processes. This may lead to the discovery of loopholes, operational inefficiencies, or potential improvement areas.
Documented business processes could serve as a useful tool for new staff members and could give them a better understanding of your organization and where they fit in. The same will apply when you outsource your services.
While not all scenarios will be documented, overall, it will assist your service provider in adding and continuing to build your knowledge base as they gain experience within your organization.
2. Identify quantifiable metrics
Nobody knows your practice better than you do, and immediately, you will recognize that there are certain areas that need to be measured, monitored, and improved. But after documenting the processes, you will be able to also identify certain new areas that you wish to measure and monitor.
When you outsource certain services, experts in the fields can immediately make suggestions and provide their proven boilerplate metrics landscape, but you are welcome to make additional suggestions or requirements.
Once the metrics are identified, you need to determine the service level agreements, or in other words, the standards or targets that these metrics should adhere to.
3. Get staff input on outsourcing decisions
Change is a scary thing to human beings, and they will resist it at all costs. The same applies when you optimize your practice’s processes through outsourcing initiatives. Allowing them to be part of the process will improve their buy-in to the idea and also improve future collaboration.
More importantly, your personnel may provide suggestions that you might have missed that could help improve the outsourcing strategy.
Also, be aware that you might get strong resistance from certain staff members. Sometimes it is just the idea of change that they resist, but sometimes they also feel that the new initiatives could threaten their jobs in the future. Clear communication regarding future intent and their collaborative role in the new outsourcing environment could mitigate these anomalies.
4. Ensure Effective onboarding
Whether it is a VA that will handle your appointments, or a team of experts, running your billing cycle, let them confirm that they understand the job requirements and expectations. If you followed the first steps mentioned above, this step would be easier to implement.
This also serves as a filtering mechanism. If you decide to source your own independent VA, this could be where you discover if the person is the right fit. It often happens where independent freelancers add a little extra cream to their resume and interview to make certain they get the job, although they might not tick all the boxes that you require.
In order to save time and money and improve your ROI, it is best to use an agency or management services organization (MSO) with vetted freelancers that you know can do the job and require minimal onboarding.
5. Encourage transparent communication
The same should apply to permanent employees, independent freelancers, or MSO employees. The value of two-way, transparent communication should not be underestimated, regardless of the type or size of the organization. When employees are empowered to voice their concerns or suggestions, the organization as a whole benefits.
Getting information from the grassroots is vital to inform future strategy formulation. Employees deprived of a voice also tend to sweep issues under the carpet. Only with adequate transparency can you properly monitor, control, and improve processes in your practice.
You, as the leader, also benefit from transparent communication. Through clear and honest conversation, trust is built. The more you trust your employees and freelancers, the more you can divert your attention from micromanaging and focus on what you love best- helping patients.
6. Commit to continuous monitoring
When a practice starts running like a well-oil machine with all the in-house and outsourced parts running smoothly and creating a symphony of success, it is easy to become complacent. You might finally have less stress and be able to focus on yourself and your patients more, but don’t slack on the monitoring of your implemented strategies.
Use the momentum you gained from outsourcing operations in your practice to build on future strategies. The performance of certain metrics might indicate certain growth areas you might not have identified if you sat back and let the machine take its course.
Continuous monitoring is the key to ensuring maximized ROI. Once you discover certain anomalous that appeal to you, make sure to communicate it effectively to the team.
7. Create time to provide regular feedback
If you followed the previous six suggestions, then your VAs and staff will have the platform to communicate freely and informally on a continuous basis, but sitting down and having a structured team meeting once a month or quarter will ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
This will also be the perfect opportunity for you to announce any anomalies you might have discovered through monitoring and reporting that you would like to address. Again, this will ensure that all employees, permanent and freelancing, are onboard and certain of where they stand.
You have two options when it comes to outsourcing services as a behavioral and speech pathologist practice.
Option 1: Find an independent freelancer online
There are numerous platforms where employers can find freelancers to do anything from managing social media to managing your practice’s books. Employers can browse portfolios and resumes of freelancers and request an interview to discuss remuneration and see if they would be a good fit for the job.
Alternatively, some platforms allow potential employers to post job advertisements that freelancers will flock to. And then, of course, there are numerous job advertisement websites where you will experience the same.
The downside to following this route is that you need to invest a lot of time and perhaps do a bit of gambling. There seldom is a proper vetting process for these freelancers. Just like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.
Also, training and onboarding are completely up to you and your staff. This consumes time, and the freelancer might find a higher-paying job next week, which sends you back to square one.
The continuous performance management of these freelancers is also entirely up to you. There is nobody on their side of the screen, monitoring and upskilling them when need be.
Option 2: Outsource services to a Management Services Organisation (MSO)
Agencies have a reputation to uphold and therefore make sure that their employees are properly vetted and trained before sending them out into the field. They also insist on continuous training so that employees are always up to date with the latest regulation changes, marketing trends, etc.
Unlike independent freelancers, MSOs have contingency plans in plans. When an employee is absent, there is another trained person that can stand-in.
Continuous monitoring and support from the MSO ensure that the employee is always performing well. MSOs have employee metrics in place that will ensure that the service you receive is always on par with what you require at the start.
Neolytix is an MSO that has been focused on providing a-la-carte services to behavioral and speech pathologists for over a decade. Whether you need help creating an outsourcing strategy or improving your existing outsourcing initiatives, our experts, from billing to marketing and more, can assist you.
Neolytix has the expertise and trained personnel to make outsourcing services as behavioral and speech pathologists smooth hiccup-less transition. With ongoing support, monitoring and reporting, we ensure that everything will go according to plan and maximize your ROI.
Complete the box below to schedule a free no-obligation consultation. Let us show you how you can better manage your outsourced services.