Three Reasons Software Vendors Outsource Data Conversion Projects

Outsourcing is a common strategy used by many businesses for a broad variety of reasons. It is particularly effective for data conversion projects.

Whether you serve the medical industry, utility districts or other industries, there are three key reasons to Outsource Data Conversion Projects.

1. One time projects are not profitable and are not a good use of in-house, development professionals.

2. Manage the difficult task of maintaining affordable staffing levels during up and down business cycles.

3. Using actual customer data during training and implementation.

Converting information is a non-trivial problem.

Consider the extraction of data from literally hundreds of legacy source systems with all their myriad formats, formulas and algorithms for storing, manipulating and managing the ever changing data climate in which you and your customers work.

It is not necessary to do this work in-house.

First: One time projects are not profitable and not a good use of talented, in-house development professionals.

Data conversion and software development require different, highly specialized skills. For this reason alone many software vendors outsource data conversions. They want their development team to remain focused on the most important work, developing and updating marketable software.

Most often data conversions are one time projects. As such little is to be gained by developing a data conversion protocol and the tools to make it work. Each new project will differ enough to render the previous conversion code not fully useful. Reworking the code each time will make the cost-benefit ratio go negative.

Outsourcing to a data conversion partner will give you access to the experience which they gained over many years and hundreds of conversion projects. For them these are not one-time projects.

· They have proven data extract algorithms.

· Their team understands the American business culture.

· They have hands-on experience with many software systems and data bases.

· Data conversions are their core competency, not just another service they offer.

· They know how to manage customer expectations.

· They can help manage projects.

Second: Manage the difficult task of maintaining affordable staffing levels during up and down business cycles.

Managing staffing levels is an ongoing problem for many businesses. This problem is made more acute by periods of ebb and flow in sales. Data Conversion and Implementation teams are dramatically affected by these up and down cycles. To some degree that problem can be managed through planning and scheduling. However there comes a time when no amount of planning can manage customer expectations without making them unhappy and losing some sales.

The prudent staffing solution is to pre-arrange an injection of experienced, skilled personnel by engaging one or more outsourcing partners.

Outsourcing data conversion tasks is a better answer than adding permanent staff. The outsourcing company retains responsibility for maintaining the necessary level of personnel and technical expertise even as demands go up and down.

However, the right number of skilled people is only part of the solution.

Managing projects and timelines, and coordinating efforts between multiple parties, are crucial to success. Outsourcing can do much of this work, in close coordination with decision makers. This can create an unexpectedly successful management triangle.

Third: Using actual customer data during training and implementation.

Features and functions in the new system do not work as they did in the legacy system. How well users learn and remember how to use them will become a pivot point in decisions regarding the longevity of the new system.

Training the end user

in the effective use of new software is of paramount importance

for project success.

Effectively using a new system is made easier when customer data is used in training sessions.

When staging of a data conversion project and its timeline, two important items can be provided by the data conversion team. First, schedule the delivery of test data to coincide with the training schedule; Second, include a full test run for evaluation and signoff prior to the final data extract.

Validation of test results will require less time and fewer frustrations when customer data is used in training.

You can decrease the learning curve and increase memory recall by training with customer data.

Testing and validating data are partially done in training. This occurs because users recognize the data and can tell when it is inaccurate and/or incomplete. The correlated effort pays rich dividends. However this correlation is not effective when done in-house. Efficiency, for an integrated in-house staff seems to demand compartmentalization of tasks thus removing the desired opportunity for correlated efforts.

To reduce staff time further, the outsourcing team will do some of the leg work. They provide refined test data files, they make programming and data corrections.

The objective of training with actual customer information, is to deliver quality and reduce the hands-on staff time needed for testing and validation.

Your call to action:

Gather information about outsourcing and lay the foundation for a functional business decision about its use.

Bear in mind, an outsourcing company can deliver more data and better conversions for less cost, both direct and indirect.

· Their experience will include knowing the pitfalls to avoid, and which ones you and they can just plow through.

· Multiple outsourcing partners can be used to meet volume demands as well as to deal with unusual problems presented by infrequently encountered databases.

· Outsourcing companies are database agnostic.

· Most legacy data comes from older technology whereas software vendors focus on current and new technology.

· Not all changes incorporated by vendors into their systems affect their database.

· Outsourcing teams do not need to know how to develop the requisite databases, they focus on knowing where the data goes, in what format and how it is interconnected.

· They understand that data does not appear in the database as a customer sees it.

In summary, guard against diverting attention from the primary objectives of the business. Don’t be distracted by immediate or urgent needs. Keep your focus on the long-term health and profitability of your business.

How Health Care Facilities Can Streamline Revenue Cycle Management

At no other time in history have providers had to cope with a payment system in which their patients are the biggest payer class. This shift has required physicians to adjust their payment strategies significantly to stay afloat.

On top of this particular financial crunch, it is estimated that roughly 20% of commercial insurers inaccurately process claims. As reimbursement models and regulations continue to change, Healthcare Providers face unique challenges in collecting the money owed them.

One of the top priorities of any practice is to maintain a healthy revenue cycle by processing and submitting health insurance claims with speed and accuracy. But when daily claims management challenges like dealing with obsolete technology, scattered data sources and inefficient processes get in the way, what are providers to do?

Here are 7 ways providers can streamline their revenue cycle management:

Standardize Your Billing Process to Eliminate Mistakes

Think about how long the billing process really is. It starts when a patient first makes that appointment and lasts until their account balance is paid in full. Along the way, numerous mistakes can happen (think not verifying insurance coverage or neglecting to get a signature at check-in) and cause time to be wasted and claims to be denied.

By standardizing your billing process you can prevent these mistakes from occurring. Get your entire team, from the front desk person to your coders, up-to-speed and trained on the new processes.

Regularly Review Data

One way to streamline your Revenue Cycle Management and reduce claims problems is to begin tracking and reviewing critical data to uncover trends, know when problems arise, and drill down to the root cause of those problems.

If you are currently using an EHR system, you are sitting on data gold that should be mined. Begin to regularly review billing and coding reports, claims settlement reports, and accounts receivable reports so you may identify any issues and find the causes.

Get into the habit of reviewing this data every month so, should a serious problem arise, you’ve caught it before it potentially leads to an even more serious problem.

Identify and Eliminate Redundancies

Medical billing, claims submission and collections are all processes where no steps can be skipped. These processes, however, tend to create many redundant actions, like having identical information entered on multiple forms. When redundancies happen, your cash flow is automatically slowed down.

For this reason we recommend automating as many processes as possible so you can prevent duplicate efforts and reduce errors. Also, see if you can’t better distribute staff tasks. For instance, is just one of your employees responsible for not only scheduling appointments and patient intake, but also handling claims? If so, this may be too much for them to handle and why so many mistakes (even something as simple as mistyping a patient identification number) happen.

Provide Comprehensive Training for Your Billing and Coding Staff

It seems nowadays that healthcare regulations and insurance policies are always changing, which makes it incredibly difficult to submit 100% clean claims. The more your claims are denied, the more your revenue takes a hit. It doesn’t matter how good your technology is, you’ve got to provide your billers and coders comprehensive training (and job incentives don’t hurt either) in order to streamline your revenue cycle management.

Make Denied Claims a Priority

Submitting cleans claims is obviously important, but equally important is addressing those claims that do come back denied. You’ve got to uncover why a claim is denied and write an appeal if necessary, which requires extensive knowledge of claims requirements and coverage.

Because your staff is very busy, and because working on denied claims is akin to pulling out your own eyelashes (meaning a bit torturous), they usually slip through the cracks never to be seen again and there goes a chunk of your revenue.

Make tracking and appealing these denied claims a priority.

Accelerate Your RCM

Providers face a number of unique revenue challenges these days and many of these challenges (like the required collection of copays and approving procedures beforehand) add to the patient-payment dilemma. The best thing provers can do is offer patients an accelerated and easier way of paying a bill.

By upgrading your RCM and payment solutions, patients can find out what’s covered and what isn’t before their appointment, and they can make their payment online. When patients are given the option of paying online, they tend to do so quickly, but when they receive a physical bill and then have to send in a payment in the form of a check, they tend to get sidetracked and the payment doesn’t come, and your collection process gets slowed down.

Upgraded RCM systems and payment solutions also allow providers to run detailed reports about who owes what.

Embrace Technology

While technology can certainly pose many challenges to providers, it can also make seeing patients and getting paid a whole lot easier. For instance, voice recognition software allows physicians to capture initial and accurate clinical impressions during and after patient consultations.

EHR templates help staff include all pertinent patient information for the billing department. Practices can now even integrate mobile devices that allow clinicians to carry patient records with them wherever they go.

Streamlining revenue cycle management can make a significant difference in a practice’s bottom line. Having the ability to process health insurance claims quickly, and with maximum accuracy, can increase revenues greatly which gives physicians financial peace of mind and allows them to do what they do best, provide their patients quality care.

How to Find the Best Hospitals Abroad

When you have to travel abroad, you need to know what kind of things, people or surroundings that you are going to be dealing with. To be safe and to learn how to secure you in an unknown country stands important. Do research, before you’re medical travel will play a vital role in the success of your trip. Research needs to be done on the number of hospitals, treatments that they offer, location and other necessary aspects such as accommodation, transport medium, etc. However, finding the right hospital, doctor and treatment is necessary as you cannot let your health be at stake. As Medical Tourism has grown to be popular, there are many hospitals that you may find, but you need to narrow down on them as you have to select the best hospital for the Medical Treatment.

List down the number of hospitals that you find online at the place that you plan to visit.

Once you have done this, go for research to know about the following points for each and every hospital in your list.

Price:

Keep yourself flexible with many options and compare the prices of flights, hospital treatments, accommodation, etc. If you find a place where the flight tickets are costly, but the treatments are affordable then choose that place because the ulterior motive is to get good quality treatment that gives a good response to the health and satisfies you. Comparing the Prices will also give you a rough idea of how much money you will need and help you do the budgeting accordingly. This will further help you have a stress-free trip where all you need to concentrate on just the treatment. Some treatments must be costly and other things will be affordable, here if you get a good quality treatment with assured improvement, then do not think again about this.

Location:

The location of your hospital is an important aspect to look at. When going for medical treatments, one must select a peaceful, picturesque venue for it relaxes the mind and body and would make the medical tourist or patient happy. There are many hospitals that are located at beautiful places and have a serene environment with many activities for both adults and children to pass their time like playing in the garden, etc. Hence, location of the hospital matters a lot. The patient should be in a happy environment, the recovery becomes effective and quickly. Also, make sure you have other facilities surrounding the hospital like Pharmacy, Hotels, ATM, etc. So, you have an easy access to everything whenever you need it.

Quality:

Whatever service or product it may be, we always look at how quality effective it is. It is very important to avail a good quality treatment, no matter if you have to pay more for that. Quality comes with positive results. Take the help of a Medical Tourism Consultant or anyone who has been to that hospital to find out which hospital offers high quality treatments and gives equal attention to every patient who is there? There are high chances of risk to health or life if you get low quality treatment and one must be very careful when selecting a hospital as it should be genuine. So, talk to as many people as you can or hire a consultant to have someone by your side who will support you throughout the medical treatment.

Reputation:

We all go to well-reputed places as their services, ambiance and treatments are among the best that satisfies us. While selecting a hospital, make sure that it has good name and reputation among the local people and people who have been visited and treated at the hospital. You can look for testimonials if there are any on the hospital’s website or ask to be connected to a few patients who have visited the hospital. Once you are there, you can talk to fellow people or patients at the hospital and find about its reputation. You can find a good improvement in the condition only at reputed hospitals as they have certified and experienced doctors.

Facilities:

Apart from the world class treatment that you receive from the hospital, it is always beneficial to see what other facilities they have. For instance, the hospital should have all modern equipment and should offer all sorts of testing, diagnosis, etc. You can visit their website to know the facilities that they provide. They should have an advanced and modern equipment for your treatment process. Study these at various hospitals relating to your treatment process and choose the best one. Having all the procedures under one roof will be less tiring and less time-consuming. Consider this while selecting your hospital so you do not have to move around much and the treatment is hassle free. The hospitals should have well equipped rooms and space to accommodate all the patients and should be allocated with emergency rooms and other necessities.

Specialties:

Every best hospital will be widely known for something in particular. For example, a cancer patient needs to be treated and the hospital selected is specialized in treating cancer then you are at the right place. Likewise there will be hospitals that specialize in a particular field such as neurology, dermatology, etc. The best hospitals have certified staff, specialists and best surgeons who can serve you are the best and improve your health. So look for these specialties at different hospitals and go to the one that suits your health condition well. Make sure that you are given choices and meet the doctors personally, discuss the health condition and then go ahead with the treatment.

Safety:

You must take necessary precautions and take some extra effort to find that the services are genuine and safe. Any treatment or testing should not cause any issues or harm your health. Make sure that you are always in numbers while the treatment takes place. The hospitals should have Safety comes first policy and provide you a secure environment, treatment, trusted doctor and staff. The instruments used for testing should be new or sterilized thoroughly. So select the best and genuine hospital where they actually care for you and not play around with your health.

Travelling Distance:

Though you might think that travelling expenditure is not important, but it does count as you do spend some amount of money to transit from one place to another. The cost of travelling might be less, but at the end of your trip you will notice that you spent quite some amount of money just for travelling. You must keep yourself updated with the kind of transport that is available in the city you are in and should have little knowledge about the cost for no one fools you. It is advisable to take accommodation at a hotel nearby the hospital so you might not have to spend much and in case of an emergency, you can get to more quickly avoiding the long distance travel that takes up a lot of time.

Tourism Opportunities:

When you are at a hospital, it does not mean that you will only concentrate on the treatment, you will be tensed thinking and worrying about it all times. A patient is not advised to spend all the time in the treatment but also divert the mind as it is important for them to be happy and keep their mind calm. So what if you are on a Medical Travel? You can always take some time out have fun and explore the place as rarely do people get a chance to fly abroad and it’s not every day that you get the opportunity to spend some quality time with family. Select a city where there are many sightseeing places and where you could learn and explore about the place.

Compare the best hospitals among each other as comparing from a well-reputed to a clinic that has no equal standards is not doing justice or being unrealistic. The above parameters might be time-consuming, but you will be glad to have done it by the time you are on your tour as it will only help you at every stage and execute the plan in a well-designed manner.