Queries are an important part of maintaining a complete health record and receiving proper reimbursement, but they are also one of the most hated steps by coders and providers alike. Physicians hate the time queries take out of their busy schedules, and coders stress at the knowledge that it will often take several days and multiple attempts to get proper responses to their questions. Thanks to technology, however, this issue may soon be a problem of the past.
Recently, a Maryland hospital experimented with a “mobile query solution” that allowed for coders to submit their questions through an independent platform and for physicians to respond on their own timeframe. The result was a staggering increase in querying efficiency, with the physician response rate jumping to a staggering 98%, a significant increase from the previous 69% for in-person queries and 40% for EHR queries. The providers reported that they felt less stressed and interrupted by the new system, with several even mentioning that they happily responded to questions via their smartphones whenever they had a free minute at home.
With this improvement, hospitals have the potential to save a great deal of money in the long term. According to research conducted by Artifact Heath, every query that goes unanswered reduces an average hospital’s reimbursement by roughly of $3,150. Built up over time, this can easily drain millions of dollars from a facility, all because of a seemingly simple issue.
Following a variety of querying tips is a good start for improving response time, but this study suggests that larger-scale change may be necessary. If your practice or facility struggles with querying to the point that it hurts your reimbursement, it may be time to look into potential fixes. Healthcare is becoming increasingly automated as time goes on, and investing in better technology is a great way to streamline your revenue cycle and keep earning the full reimbursement you deserve.