How to protect providers' online reputations and grow surgical revenues: 5 things to know

Jackie Drees - Print  |

To drive greater surgical efficiencies and revenues in the weeks and months ahead, healthcare organizations must explore ways to streamline provider data and build online reputations to reach new patients. 

Surgery centers, health systems and surgeons need to leverage publicly available quality scores to their advantage. As healthcare consumers increasingly have access to more online resources while looking for care, establishing a presence built on accurate documentation is key to reeling in patients who choose providers based on their online quality scores.  

During the Becker's Spine, Orthopedic and Pain Management-Driven ASC + The Future of Spine Virtual Event June 17-19, a panel of industry leaders discussed the necessity of accurate coding and documentation to improve surgeons and providers' quality scores and reputations.

The speakers were: 

Here are five takeaways: 

1. Patients have access to more information on healthcare services than ever before. Patients want the best quality care at the best value for their money. However, the problem is that surgeons, hospitals and surgery centers have not always done a good job of representing themselves online, according to Dr. Newman. 

2. Surgeons can protect their reputations by ensuring they get the proper credit for taking care of sick patients — more accurate documentation can translate into better quality scores and reimbursement. 

"Make sure your documentation is complete and that it states exactly what you did and the illnesses that your patient carries," Dr. Newman said. "We're in the throes of the COVID-19 crisis where everybody has been educated that patients with comorbidities may not fare so well if they are infected. The exact same thing happens with elected surgery, and that is that sick people don't do as well. Whether that's diabetes or heart disease or lung disease — the exact same things that create problems with COVID-19 infection create problems with surgery, so it is incumbent upon every surgeon, hospital and facility to make certain you're getting credit for the patients you're caring for." 

3. Telling the whole story from end to end is key. Documenting all patient conditions during an encounter, such as comorbid conditions, is vital to getting accurate quality reports, consumer perceptions, mortality rates and risk rates, Ms. Gorman-Klug said. 

"If all the comorbidities and the entire story is not told, and there is unfortunately an untoward outcome, it's very hard to defend against that and the data doesn't go away right away," she said. 

4. Be proactive and aware that others are monitoring performance. Insurance companies and consumers can benchmark the facilities surgeons work at and compare providers. Surgeons should check in with their respective organizations and ask for access to their physician and surgical quality profiles. Comparing their performance against other similar specialty providers will help identify areas for improvement, such as direct patient care costs and patient length of inpatient stay, according to Ms. Gorman-Klug. 

5. Awareness of the environment and taking ownership is key to helping providers improve their quality scores, Dr. Newman said. Stay on top of documentation and ensure the report tells the full story of the patient care encounter, highlighting the provider's skills in the best light, Ms. Gorman-Klug added. 

Click here to view the full presentation.

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