Greenway Health’s blog

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December 16, 2016

Turning users’ ideas into innovations

By Angie Rhoads, Sr. Director, Product Management at Greenway Health

Thomas Edison once described inventors as “specialists in high pressure stimulation of the public imagination.” This is why our Product Management team focuses on listening to the market. Greenway Users are the ones who know how our products impact the daily operations of medical practices, so why not pick their brains when updating our products?

We devote hours to understanding government regulations and requirements so that we can provide solutions that are certified and support your compliance. Users, however, don’t simply measure the effectiveness and quality of a platform by its capacity to ensure compliance with government programs. The convenience and efficiency added to their daily tasks and overall workflows determine their satisfaction. What makes us unique in the health IT field is that, where the road to compliance ends, our innovation begins.

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October 25, 2016

Cybersecurity: Who would attack a small healthcare practice… and what you can do about it

By Sam Snider, Chief Legal & Compliance Officer at Greenway Health

When I speak about the cybersecurity aspects of HIPAA compliance, I like to lead by saying that there’s only one question you have to ask to determine whether or not a particular computer is vulnerable to hacking – is it in any way connected to the internet?

It’s a good line that usually gets a chuckle, and it’s consistent with the steady stream of “YOU’RE NOT SAFE OUT THERE” articles that have been the rage at least since Kevin Mitnick was convicted back in the 1990s.

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October 10, 2016

Diagnosis: Physician burnout

By Eric Grunden, Vice President, Professional Services, Greenway Health

In recent decades, physicians’ care for their patients has become more challenging because of increased workload, increased administrative responsibilities, and decreased autonomy.[i] No matter what changes in the healthcare industry – regulations, expectations, legislation, reimbursements, etc. – it seems medical providers are never able to keep up. This is why the concept of physician burnout has remained a trending topic for quite a while.

Some argue that burnout comes solely from the unrealistic requirements the industry imposes on medical providers. Others argue that burnout can be ameliorated or even prevented if the proper technology and resources are fully implemented and leveraged. Regardless of which side of the argument one supports, the reality is that our medical providers have been feeling the pressure for many years. An essay published in JAMA in 2005 found that male doctors killed themselves at a rate 70 percent higher than males in other professions and female doctors killed themselves at a rate between 250 and 400 percent higher than females in other professions.[ii]

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September 23, 2016

Solving the patient engagement puzzle

The number of people covered by health savings account/high-deductible health plans has grown roughly 15 percent annually the last few years. As more patients assume greater financial responsibility over their own health, the demand for engagement in the services they consume will continue to rise. Studies consistently show that physicians who help and empower patients to take a more active role in their healthcare achieve better clinical outcomes at lower costs. This is why we have gathered facts and figures on industry best practices to help you improve patient engagement at your practice.

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September 13, 2016

More caring. Less managing.

We bet you never signed up to be a manager when you decided to work in healthcare. Some people might dream of becoming a practice manager, but most medical providers dread the clerical burden that comes with owning a small practice. As the healthcare industry continues to push for more rigorous measures to reimburse and compare treatment, medical providers continue to be spread thinner by the minute.[i] Though uncertainty turns decision-making into a tedious process, we have a few solutions to help you and your practice succeed in the long-run.

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September 6, 2016

Promote your practice on social media

An overwhelming amount of medical practices still rely on old-fashioned marketing efforts like print ads on phone books and the occasional billboard ad. Though these might be effective in some regions, technological advancements have diverted our attention to focus more on digital media. Nearly everyone is familiar with the term “social media,” but harnessing its promotional power is not a talent that can be easily attained – especially when tactics differ drastically between industries. Fret not; however, for we have recommendations for your social media marketing to drive more patients to your practice.

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August 30, 2016

7 simple steps to break down language barriers

The population of the United States is only getting more diverse. With the attempts being made through the Affordable Care Act to get as many people insured as possible, practices are likely to start seeing more patients of all backgrounds. Some of the greatest issues arising from this trend are the language and cultural barriers that tend to come into play, but breaking them down can be much easier than you might think. A few simple proactive steps can help prepare you for encounters with patients of all backgrounds.

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August 2, 2016

Can mobile health technology improve care?

These days, it’s easier to use your mobile phone to make a hair appointment than an appointment to see your doctor. The private sector has simply embraced mobile technology much quicker than healthcare.

However, there have been recent improvements and increased adoption of mobile technology in physicians’ offices. According to the results of a recent HIMSS mobile technology survey, 90 percent of respondents use mobile devices within their organizations to engage patients in their healthcare.

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July 26, 2016

3 ways telehealth can improve care delivery

The telemedicine market is expected to grow more than 50 percent annually through 2018, reaching an anticipated $34 billion by 2020.

That’s a huge opportunity — and for good reason. Both healthcare providers and patients see the potential for telemedicine to improve care. According to a recent Greenway Health survey, 39% of providers and 33% of patients see telemedicine as one of the greatest healthcare opportunities over the next five years.

How, exactly, can telemedicine improve care? Here are just a few ways:

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July 21, 2016

CPC+: Private payers and CMS are teaming up again

The Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) program is rethinking primary care delivery — including the way providers are paid. CPC+ calls for extensive collaboration with private payers, including commercial plans, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid managed care plans, public employee plans, self-insured businesses such as IBM, and more. This will ensure the broadest coverage of patient populations possible in diverse regions.

But what does that collaboration mean, and why does it matter to providers interested in participating in the program? We’ve answered some common questions about private payer collaboration in CPC+ below.

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July 19, 2016

3 ways to improve patient experience (and boost your revenue in the process)

Picture this: You call a restaurant to make a reservation, and they tell you they don’t have any openings for several weeks. But because you’ve heard such good things about the food, you decide to book it anyway. Then, after weeks of waiting, you show up right on time — only to be seated two hours later.

Would you return to the restaurant? Probably not.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that when patients have a negative experience at a healthcare practice — for example, waiting weeks for an appointment or enduring excruciatingly long wait times — they aren’t likely to return.

As patients evolve into consumers, their experience at your practice is vital. In fact, your profitability depends on it. According to the Advisory Board Company, 60 percent of factors that drive loyalty in primary care are related to experience. And practices with loyal followings have double the revenue growth rate compared to those without. Plus, by building loyalty, you can increase your patient share of wallet — and just a 10 percent improvement in share of wallet generates an average value of $22 million.

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July 18, 2016

How many clicks does it take to get to the end of an encounter?

Like the classic Tootsie Pop query, the answer to this question is different for everyone — but for a number of providers, the response is “too many.”

Say it takes 24 clicks to complete an encounter at your practice, and four encounters (or 96 clicks) equals an hour of your time. Wouldn’t you rather spend that hour at home with your family or enjoying a round of golf?

But it’s not only about how long it takes you to complete an encounter — there’s also the question ofwhen you find the time to document. Seventy-six percent of providers document a patient encounter either in the exam room with a patient or immediately after the patient encounter. That means that the remaining 24 percent of providers have to actively remember what needs to be included in the patient story, so they can complete their documentation at the end of the day.

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July 15, 2016

From MACRA to the states, telemedicine is ramping up

By Alexandria Goulding

The Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) has created quite the stir over the last few months, based on the changes it makes to the way clinicians are reimbursed via Medicare. One of those changes creates a new framework that rewards healthcare providers for delivering better care, rather than just more care.

So it’s no surprise that MACRA’s recent proposed rule highlighted telemedicine, which can increase access to and convenience of care. Multiple U.S. states are also ramping up telemedicine options in response to increasing consumer demand and growing healthcare needs.

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July 14, 2016

3 questions to evaluate your practice’s financial health

On the surface, it may appear that your practice is sustaining its finances and collecting adequate reimbursements. But sometimes it’s not that clear — there may be areas of your practice where you’re slowly leaking money or simply aren’t collecting as much as you could.

How can you know for sure?

Start by asking yourself the following three questions. Your answers will illuminate if your practice finances are where they should be, or if you still have some work to do.

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June 21, 2016

Avoid MIPS with Advanced APMs and avoid zero-sum games

Many clinicians celebrated the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) for its repeal of the sustainable growth rate, but the legislation also came with a couple of catches.

MACRA reforms Medicare reimbursement and offers two tracks to compensation: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs).

Advanced APMs are risk-bearing contracts that require providers to put up more than “nominal financial risk.” Why would a provider organization want to take on more risk than it already has through meaningful use investments, the physician quality reporting system and the value-based modifier? Because MIPS is budget neutral, each incentive dollar earned by a doctor is a penalty for another. In total, there’s $888 million in penalties that could end up being paid out under MIPS.

Advanced APMs can keep you from being hit with those penalties, but there are some questions you should ask yourself to see if it is the right path for your organization:

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June 14, 2016

What is MIPS and why should I care?

You know the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) is right around the corner, and under the legislation, clinicians will choose one of two payment pathways: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs).

What you may not know is how much of an impact the transition could have on your practice revenue. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expect that the majority of eligible clinicians (ECs) will fall under the MIPS pathway and more than half of solo and small practices will face penalties within the first year of the program.

That said, understanding MIPS today is key to your success. CMS recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), further detailing the expectations under the two pathways.

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June 6, 2016

Financial health: Making these mistakes can cost you

While declining reimbursements have led practices to take a hard look at their revenue collections processes, many are still making mistakes that are negatively affecting profits. Fortunately, these mistakes can be corrected, but only after they are properly identified.

Allowing high turnover

If your practice’s billing staff isn’t sticking around or your practice is frequently switching vendors, you can almost guarantee that your practice isn’t bringing in as much money as it could. There’s no substitute for experience, and creating an environment where those responsible for billing have the opportunity to learn and grow with your practice will allow them to develop innovative and efficient methods to keep your revenue as high as possible.

With new billers, however, you have to invest time and money into their training. If this investment is occurring frequently, your practice won’t see the returns it needs.

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May 12, 2016

Three first steps to managing value as a pediatrician

Value-based programs aren’t just for Medicare and primary care physicians; they’re also for pediatricians. From Medicaid Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) programs to patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) to the Patient-centered Specialty Practice (PCSP) program, there are ample opportunities for pediatricians who want to benefit from value-based programs.

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May 11, 2016

Medicare Advantage plans changing reimbursement

By Alexandria Goulding

Weeks of lobbying has resulted in modified Medicare Advantage program policies and lowered average pay raises for 2017 Medicare Advantage plans. While The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) decided not to immediately enforce all of the cuts, plans will still receive much lower revenue by 2018.

The Medicare Advantage program serves as the private managed-care version of Medicare. The government pays health plans’ monthly amounts for every member they cover and those taxpayer-funded payments are adjusted based on how sick someone is. For example, members who have chronic conditions receive higher risk scores and therefore, higher payment.

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May 5, 2016

MACRA proposed rule: One step closer to a new payment era

By Alexandria Goulding

On April 27, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The MACRA legislation is backed by a bipartisan majority.

The NPRM outlines and details the two pathways under MACRA: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs). While pieces of the NPRM remain consistent with previous language, there are several big changes worth noting.

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May 3, 2016

Let’s talk legislation: How three major bills may impact your practice

By Alexandria Goulding

With the presidential election quickly approaching, there is a narrowing window of time to reach congressional members about the pitfalls and benefits of upcoming bills that may affect healthcare organizations.

However, it is important that you’re aware of this legislation (including three major bills on the horizon: Senate TRUST IT Act, House 21st Century Cures and the Senate Medical Innovation Bill) and understand how they may affect your practice.

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April 22, 2016

4 steps to better value-based contract management for PCMHs

Patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) seek to transform the way healthcare is delivered by providing comprehensive, quality and efficient care to their patients. While implementing process changes and new technology and focusing on opportunities for continuous improvement can be a challenge, becoming a recognized PCMH can benefit patient health and your organization’s bottom line.

Once NCQA-recognized, PCMHs can participate in private payer contracts that financially reward quality outcome measures with incentives based on shared savings, per member per month payments or care management fees. The four steps below will prepare you for managing your PCMH contracts effectively.

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April 21, 2016

Develop a digital marketing strategy: Your 4-step quick start guide

he people who come into your practice aren’t just patients anymore — they’re consumers. Today’s mobile- and technology-savvy customers have become accustomed to convenient communication and instant access to information, and they expect their healthcare providers to offer the same.

To attract new patients and retain current patients, practices must develop an effective digital marketing strategy, starting with these four essential steps.

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April 11, 2016

Your financial forecast in 3 easy steps

By Tina Graham

Measuring the financial health of your organization isn’t quite like predicting the weather, but when we’re talking about money, we do want to make it rain.

Determine the best revenue cycle management (RCM) strategy for your financial future by analyzing the following three key processes.

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April 5, 2016

The path to the MACRA is paved with big decisions

By Alexandria Goulding

Big decisions are always stressful. But when it comes to your practice’s finances, the burden is even greater.

Under the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), providers must choose between two new pathways to receive Medicare payments — the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or eligible alternative payment models (APMs).
For your practice to stay profitable and receive maximum reimbursement, you need to choose the pathway that’s right for your organization. It’s a big decision, but fortunately, a few simple questions can help you make the right selection.

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