ORI regularly holds Lunch & Learns to keep staff informed and fresh; always developing new skills that benefit our clients who manage medical practices and our own internal medical billing processes. Quality, workflow, customer service and medical billing and coding strategy always seem to be on the agenda (and something delicious from a local caterer always on the table!).

At the end of the year, strategy inevitably becomes part of the discussion. The November Lunch & Learn was focused on building internal, external and personal goals for 2014. The session built upon the October Lunch & Learn which got staff thinking out of the box, identified areas that need to improve, and focused on the skills to develop actionable goals.

The staff was split into small groups to brainstorm on the internal areas that require improvements and modifications for professional receivables for medical practice management efficiency and quality. Each area of need had was paired with an actionable idea. Not surprisingly, there were areas of disagreement, but also areas of broad alignment. First lesson – always pick the low hanging fruit and have quick wins to get staff bought into the process. This will keep it moving forward!

Next, staff met in diverse groups of four to discuss specific goals for clinic medical billing and coding process development. What are the areas that we see our mid-size practices struggle and how can ORI be of assistance? What tools and workflow processes can be transferred to benefit our clients and ultimately benefit ORI? Again, there were ideas that only applied to specific practices and their circumstance which could be addressed one-on-one. However, there were several ideas that were brought out that could benefit clients across the board; one of which was client webinars.

Through daily problem solving with medical practice clients you begin to hear the same issues repeatedly and across staff at a clinic. Much of the work can be very technical and varies across systems, but general rules still apply. Having webinars for topics such as how to verify insurance coverage up front with payers that don’t offer on demand electronic verification can be a “win-win” for patients, clinics and ORI. Another popular idea was how to remove that annoying paper form from the medical billing workflow!

Lastly, smaller groups of two were formed to talk about personal goals for 2014. It was especially fun to hear the hopes and goals of staff in areas of personal education, training and development, as well as how to become a better employee and serve our clients medical billing needs most efficiently.

Everyone enjoyed hearing the ideas – and sharing a lunch together as well. But that was far from the end of it. Too often, goals and plans are forgotten and you look back and say, “well, maybe next year.” The follow-up for the session required employees to take the ideas from the discussion and formulate goals that they could commit to. The goals were then discussed at ORI individual monthly strategy meetings called “Key Stakeholder Meetings.” Each goal was vetted out with supervisors and ideas were shared to ensure that the goals fit the SMART model. In addition, goals that require significant collaboration and other staff to achieve were assessed.

Team HuddleAfter the Key Stakeholder Meeting staff took each goal and broke them into three areas: daily, weekly, and monthly actions. Daily, the staff utilizes ORI’s morning all-staff huddles – a 15 minute interactive sharing session that drives strategy. Weekly, the staff keep the goal present in mind to seek out opportunities with existing meetings, co-workers, or client interactions. And monthly, reporting out on progress and challenges and asking for assistance during the Key Stakeholder Meetings. Together, these steps are intended to ensure that the goals are achieved within the specified timeframes and with great results.

Leveraging internal talent and collaborative sharing across medical practices contributes significantly to efficiencies and improvements. It’s one of the great aspects of working with smaller, more nimble mid-size medical clinics across Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin – that each individual can have an amazing impact on patient care, practice process and efficiency, and ultimately margins and profitability. While the goals developed by staff may not change dynamics overnight, it provides everyone with an example to replicate and model for continuous process improvement now and into the future.

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