Most medical professionals don't. And it ends up costing them later when their vendor doesn't deliver the features or quality of service they expect.
The medical billing service industry is filled with vendors who make big promises and seem to offer similar services to their clients. That's why it's important to do your research to make sure your provider is capable of delivering the outsourced medical billing experience your practice needs. Although cost is a factor, it shouldn't be the only factor in your decision making process. Here are a few of the other variables you need to consider:
- Core features. There are some billing service features that are standard in the industry. Technological integration, adequate reporting and stellar collection rates are virtual no-brainers. But like many other industries, providers of medical billing services often highlight a specific benefit they offer their clients. Look for vendors who emphasize the benefits that are most important to your practice.
- Technology platform. It's not enough to know that a potential vendor places a high priority on technology. You also need to know which platform they use and how it will fit with your current hardware and software applications. Some vendors emphasize web-based technologies, while others prefer desktop solutions. There are pros and cons to both approaches.
- Industry track record. The healthcare billing marketplace is full of reliable vendors. There's no reason for you to settle for a company that doesn't have an established track record in the industry and in your field of specialization. New entries may offer slightly discounted rates, but their lack of expertise usually negates the benefit, especially when you factor in unproven collection and claim acceptance rates.
- Security. At this point, established medical practice billing providers should be capable of demonstrating the highest level of security and compliance to prospective clients. If a prospective vendor doesn't discuss data security with you, request the information yourself and listen for a description about how they handle HIPAA requirements.
- Support & responsiveness. A medical billing service is not something you purchase and then forget about. Your practice will have to work closely with your provider every single day. So it's even more critical to make sure your vendor provides the level of support and responsiveness you need to maintain efficient workflows. Be diligent about following up on referrals from existing clients to get a more accurate picture about what your relationship will look like after you've sealed the deal.