The Foot Doctors of Santa Cruz County: Taking the Footwork out of Transcriptions and Billing

Today’s physicians must deal with shrinking reimbursements and increasingly stringent regulatory requirements. As a result, the cost of doing business continues to go up—but short of dramatically increasing their fees, there are few reliable ways for doctors to increase revenue. This situation presents doctors with a clear challenge: protect your profits by containing operating costs and increasing staff efficiency.

When it comes to boosting efficiency, however, smaller practices are at a disadvantage. While larger medical corporations can achieve economies of scale relatively easily, small practices and their already overworked office staffs often struggle to squeeze minutes out of processes and dollars out of expenditures.

Such was the case for The Foot Doctors of Santa Cruz County (CA), Inc. The practice’s transcription costs were rising, but the quality of service they were receiving was middling at best. Local transcriptionists were poorly equipped to meet new Medicare requirements for connectivity with different providers. Rather than hire in-house staff, Dr. William E. Hopkins, DPM, FACFAS turned to Nsight Global.

“Small practices like ours can’t afford to throw additional headcount at a problem,” says Dr. Hopkins. “Nsight came up with a services solution that met our budget and our needs yet didn’t interfere with the flow of our practice.”

Doctors Get Better Service at a Lower Cost
With NsightGlobal’s cafeteria plan, The Foot Doctors of Santa Cruz County are getting the transcription and receivables assistance they need without buying unnecessary services. NsightGlobal’s transcription service connects The Foot Doctors with master-level transcriptionists at a lower rate than they were paying local providers. Because Nsight Global has an entire team devoted to the task, service levels remain high.

“When you’re running a lean practice that’s doing everything in-house, and one employee goes out with the flu, you’re up a creek,” says Dr. Hopkins. “Whereas with Nsight Global, they can just assign another employee to your transcription to make sure it gets done by the deadline. It’s a clear win for our practice.”

A 10-Point Boost in Bill Collection Rate
Early in The Foot Doctors’ relationship with Nsight Global, the practice implemented a new EMR system to support growth to the tune of 130 new patients per month. But new Medicare regulations required the practice to enter each person’s full medical records into the system. Because many of the practice’s patients are elderly and take multiple medications, the practice’s pace of work slowed to a crawl.

“Due to the administrative burden, we were only seeing about 20 percent of the patient load we had previously,” recalls Dr. Hopkins. “So I talked to Nsight Global. Within a week, they came up with a solution. We can now use dictation to dramatically streamline our most onerous administrative tasks, and can choose medications from a list within our EMR rather than having to type them in and spell them correctly.”

As The Foot Doctors’ practice grows, so does the challenge of pursuing unpaid bills. The practice has traditionally handled the billing process entirely in-house. But when a key member of the billing staff quit, The Foot Doctors found themselves scrambling for help—until they decided to turn the task over to Nsight Global.

“Having a staff member specialize in bill collection is risky for a small practice because that person can basically demand whatever they want from you—or quit when they get a better offer,” explains Dr. Hopkins. “Nsight Global has experts who are devoted to this task, and they have a track record of collecting at a higher rate than what we were achieving. Because they’re percentage-based and fee-based, they’ll pursue a $50 bill with the same energy as a $500 one, which is critical for a smaller practice like ours. Once we switched over, our collection rate rose by 10 percentage points.”

Nsight Global also assisted The Foot Doctors with their Medicare testing process, making sure the practice was prepared for 23 different tests in compliancewith regulatory changes. As a result, The Foot Doctors are now better positioned to collect Medicare incentives.

Committed to Long-Term Savings
Today, whenever a patient walks into one of The Foot Doctors’ offices, their full medical records are instantly available to the staff online. Physicians have this information in front of them on tablet computers as they speak with the patient. They can dictate information or type notes into an encounter record as they work with the patient. By the end of the appointment, the record is ready to be added to the patient’s file, with no need for the doctor to stay late completing medical records.

“In podiatry, it’s essential for patients to feel a connection with their doctor,” says Dr. Hopkins. “Thanks to Nsight Global, I can dictate my notes as I’m looking the patient in the eye. With less typing and record-keeping to do, I can book more appointments and spend more time with each patient.”

With the technology Nsight Global has put in place, The Foot Doctors can use templates to make sure their notes will meet Medicare requirements. Although the practice faces regular audits, they very rarely have to pay money back due to inadequate documentation. But that’s not the only way Nsight Global helps The Foot Doctors save money.

“By increasing our efficiency with Nsight Global, we’ve saved the equivalent of two full-time employees,” Dr. Hopkins estimates. “Just as importantly, we can continue to scale up our practice without scaling up our administrative costs.Rather than scrambling to find good ‘help’ on the administrative end, we know we’ll get all the help we need from Nsight Global.”

The Foot Doctors of Santa Cruz County aim to continue identifying areas in which they can run their practice more efficiently for greater profitability. Nsight Global will be with them every step of the way.

“If I had to sum up our relationship with Nsight Global, I’d talk about what happened when our liaison at Nsight left the company,” Dr. Hopkins says. “Nsight flew our new representative all the way from India to our offices so he could spend time learning how our practice runs and make a personal connection with us. That’s how committed they are to helping us save money over the long haul.”

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