Take Back Your Time: Reviewing Process Flow Improvement

 By Rhonda Buckholtz, CPC, CPMA, CPC-I, CENTC, CGSC, COBGC, CPEDC

Every day we are pulled from our desks to handle issues and drama that manage to become time suckers. These drains on our time can be mitigated with strategy. It’s often that we think we don’t have time to make the changes needed in our practices because we are constantly being pulled into the “immediate.” Here’s my tip to streamlining your practice and taking back your time.
Pick a process and focus on making a long term solution in your practice so that the day-to-day running will simplify. The trick is to manage them one by one. The time you spend will be well spent with stress reduction and improved bottom lines. I suggest the PDSA concept.
For each process follow these steps. I have used ICD-10 Implementation as an example:
Plan:

  • Using your implementation timelines develop your plans for transitioning to ICD-10-CM
  • Outline all areas that will be affected by implementation efforts
  • Take a careful look at all existing policies and procedures along with any health plan contracts
  • Outline any instances where ICD-10-CM will intersect

Do:

  • Work on developing and revising policies that will be affected
    • Be sure to include key people from all departments and allow them to provide input on how they will be affected
  • This will take some time
    • Be sure to do your research and follow through from the planning stages

Study:

  • Revisit the new policies and procedures often during the first several months. Monitor any weak areas and look for where you may need to develop new policies. A cause and effect diagram has a variety of benefits:
    • It helps teams understand that there are many causes that contribute to an effect
    • It graphically displays the relationship of the causes to the effect and to each other
    • It helps to identify areas for improvement
  • Once you have monitored a policy and it has consistently worked you may do less frequent policy reviews

Act:

  • Monitoring will show you inadequacies or weak areas that need to be addressed.
    • Make sure you act on any findings and fix problem areas
  • Successful compliance will come only when all policies have been reviewed, addressed and acted on

It is important to review and monitor for optimal results. With a simple strategy we can improve on processes and help reduce the amount of craziness in our already hectic days.

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Rhonda Buckholtz

About Has 37 Posts

Rhonda Buckholtz, CPC, CPMA, CRC, CDEO, CMPE, CHC, COPC, AAPC Approved Instructor, is owner of Coding and Reimbursement Experts. She spends her time helping physician practices achieve operational excellence, compliance, education, and Lean Six Sigma through her consulting. Buckholtz has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare management, compliance, and reimbursement/coding sectors. She was responsible for all ICD-10 training and curriculum at AAPC during the transition from ICD-9. Buckholtz has authored numerous articles for healthcare publications and she has spoken at numerous national conferences for AAPC and others. She is past co-chair for the WEDI ICD-10 Implementation Workgroup, Advanced Payment Models Workgroup, and she provided testimony for ICD-10 and standardization of data for National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics. Buckholtz is on AAPC’s National Advisory Board.

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