8 Key Takeaways from Kareo Live: Billing Company Success Summit

The 3-day event featured more than 20 speakers talking about the trends impacting medical billing companies

More than 200 people traveled from across the country to make connections, share best practices, and learn about the upcoming innovations from Tebra during the Kareo Live Billing Company Success Summit.

The 3-day summit took place from September 21 to 23 in sunny Huntington Beach, California. Read a recap of the keynote speeches, which focused on the state of the healthcare industry and innovations coming from Kareo.

Here are 8 key takeaways from the rest of the event.

1. Drive your business forward with data

You're familiar with the phrase “data is king,” but many of us are drowning in a sea of data. The Coronis Health team shared how to leverage the right data sets to achieve strategic outcomes.

A big takeaway was to rethink benchmarks. Chances are, you use benchmarks to measure performance within your organization. Many medical billing companies rely on external industry organization benchmarks (such as the Medical Group Management Association and Healthcare Financial Management Association).

But there are pitfalls when another organization outlines benchmarks for you to compare against:

  • Does the organization provide the same services as you?
  • How was the data gathered?
  • What validation was used?
  • Can you confirm the standard deviation within the data?

Key takeaway: While metrics are given benchmarks, don’t aim for them simply because of a peer or outside organizations. Instead, look at your own data to create key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine what is your current state and how much they fluctuate. Use this as the basis of your roadmap.

2. Win new customers by focusing on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

An Ideal Customer Profile (or ICP) is a description of the perfect customer that would benefit from your company's product or service. By identifying your ideal customer’s attributes and purchasing behaviors, you can focus sales and marketing efforts on prospects that net you the most desired results.

To build your ideal customer profile, identify practices that would benefit the most from your services. To do this, answer these few questions:

  • What type of customer generates the highest return on investment?
  • What is their practice size and specialty?
  • What kinds of practices have you seen the most success with? And the least? Why?
  • What practices does your company benefit the most?
  • How many new customers will your internal bandwidth allow for?

From there, think of their demographics — e.g., how hold is their business? Where are they located? What are their technology habits? Is there a particular segment or group of customers you prefer to work with?

Then, think about their values and goals — e.g., how do they view their role in the business? How do they want to grow their business? What experience do they want to give to their customers?

Finally, write down all their pain points. Some examples are patient collections, declining reimbursements, current regulations, and staffing challenges.

Use this information to write down who your ICP is in the target market. Include ways to overcome objections (e.g., lack of interest, price, timing). Engage prospects who are not interested in your service at the time through regular check-ins.

Key takeaway: It takes time, money, and resources to attract, convert, and delight new customers for your business. Having an ICP helps narrow your focus, so you spend time targeting and nurturing prospects who are a good fit for your medical billing company.

3. Don’t neglect the patient experience

Healthcare is one of the last industries to experience a digital transformation, and for medical practices to thrive, they need to adopt solutions to modernize the patient experience.

Studies have shown that 3 out of 4 patients evaluate providers online before making an appointment, and nearly all want to schedule and message their doctors online. Research has also shown that half of the patients will leave if they have a bad digital experience.

A consumer-centric patient experience includes:

  • Online scheduling: Used by patients and practices to streamline the front office while taking the complexity out of scheduling
  • Automated appointment reminders: Automated communication tools sent via SMS and email by practices to patients
  • Patient intake: Custom intake forms allow patients to provide vital information from any device before arrival
  • Text messaging: Hear from patients in the channel they prefer most — text messaging
  • Patient portal: A safe and secure online portal to share medical records, schedule appointments, communication, request prescription renewals, and make payments.

Learn more how an enhanced patient experience creates happier patients.

Key takeaway: Practices today must focus on efficiently acquiring new clients and providing a modern patient experience.

4. Attract and retain the right talent for your business

Staffing has always been challenging, and it’s become even more complicated in recent years. Burnout is impacting more than half of the U.S. population.

To hire people that will stay with your company for years to come, you need to employ a strategy that attracts talent in a competitive market. Aimee Heckman, a healthcare business consultant, urges companies to focus on “The Four Ps”:

  • People: What is your business’s current people strategy to attract and retain talent? Does it need an overhaul because you’ve noticed increased turnover in the last few years?
  • Processes: Identify natural skills among your employees, and divide workflow to match the skill set
  • Payroll: Payroll is the single biggest expense for a company, and structuring a compensation package that includes a fair market salary while layering in raises and bonuses will attract experienced employees
  • Perks: Perks can be low cost to your organization (e.g., casual dress code, telecommuting, weekly lunch buffet, gym memberships, bring your dog to work) and show your employees that you care about them

Key takeaway: People are the most important piece in “The Four Ps” strategy. Consider whether prior experience is critical for the role and how to weigh it against work ethic. While people with previous experience in your industry require less training, are faster to onboard, and can work with less direct supervision, there are drawbacks: higher salaries, potential bad habits, and resistance to change.

5. Hackers are getting more sophisticated in their cyberattacks

Businesses of all sizes are feeling the impact of cybersecurity threats. Hackers are getting more sophisticated in their attacks, and businesses need to be prepared. Companies are the targets of scams like:

  • Having fake medical bills sent to patients for procedures they didn't receive and directing those patients to a PayPal account
  • Ransomware attacks, where patient data is held hostage by a hacker and demanding payment to release it
  • Phishing scams, where hackers access protected health information by gaining access to the system by asking employees to provide user account information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a list of data breaches from the last 24 months on its Wall of Shame. This information is uhelpfulto see the types of breaches and frequency of attacks.

Key takeaway: Tools to hack into systems are getting cheaper, and hackers are getting more sophisticated. To avoid being the subject of an attack, it’s vital to build trust with your partners by asking for third-party verification and keeping staff aware of new threats.

6. Healthcare costs are rising, and everyone is paying for it

Healthcare is getting more expensive for employers and consumers. The average American spends more on premiums, deductibles, and copays. Medical debt is the #1 cause of U.S. bankruptcy.

Legislators, industry leaders, and associations are focusing on policies in an attempt to address increased healthcare spending, including:

  • Value-based payments are gaining popularity, where spending is tied to patient outcomes
  • Price transparency in coverage, where patients know the cost of an item before receiving care and improves people’s ability to shop for health care that meets their needs
  • Scrutinizing consolidation, which has been on the rise — especially during the pandemic when practices struggled to stay open
  • Lowering the costs of Medicare drugs as part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022

Key takeaway: As healthcare costs rise, many people have trouble affording the care they need, resulting in skipping or delaying the necessary medical services. Expect consumers and legislators to pursue various strategies to keep costs under control, including new legislation, incentives to provide holistic care, and scrutinizing mergers to promote more competition between providers.

7. Automation is here to stay

Robotic Processing Automation (RPA) helps streamline your billing workflow's components. RPA is a software technology that uses “bots” to replace repetitive, rule-based tasks and performances. Medical practices use RPA software for billing, claims and ERA management, EHR integrations, and patient intake and registration. They also use RPA to automate revenue cycle management workflows and drive patient payments.

Kareo users harness RPAs to streamline claims, payments, and billing workflows. Kareo RPA users report 200% faster claim processing, 50% boost in revenue, and $1,000 bad debt collected in 2 hours.

Automation is also being harnessed to collect outstanding patient invoices. Automated patient billing intelligently delivers text, email, and mailed statements to patients — saving valuable time and getting your company paid faster.

It also shortens the revenue cycle, increases patient touchpoints, ensures accurate data flow, eliminates manual processes, and improves patient collections.

Key takeaway: Automating repetitive manual tasks saves time and resources, and increases the speed of you getting paid.

8. Tebra is ushering in a new era of healthcare

This year’s Kareo Live Billing Company Success Summit is the first event since Kareo and PatientPop joined forces to form <Tebra. Tebra’s mission is to unlock better healthcare by helping independent practices bring modernized care to patients everywhere.

In the upcoming year, medical billing companies can look forward to a community designed for billers to collaborate, connect, learn, and stay on top of industry trends.

Key takeaway: Tebra is investing in tools to modernize and drive practice growth to transform billing companies from data processing forms to strategic consultants to healthcare practices to win business together.

About the Author

Andrea Curry is the Director of Content Marketing for Tebra. She’s an award-winning journalist and is passionate about helping independent practices thrive in a new era...

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