Error reduction in data entry could save the industry millions of dollars. Denied claims, claims paid out in error, incorrect demographic entries creating havoc throughout the system(s) are but a few of the reasons preventing error entry is so important.
The place to start prevention lies in knowing how many errors you now have. To do that, a research of denied claims and re-submitted claims is mandatory. Oh, you say “that will take a lot of time.” Yes, it will and how much money do you estimate is on the table because of these errors? Start with a small sample to see if you can determine the scope of the problem. Transposed numbers, incorrect birth dates, name spelling errors will all cause denials. Take a hard look at what are usually called front-end errors. There are many reasons for front-end errors, perhaps the person making the errors has too many tasks to spend time on accuracy or a ringing phone interrupts the data entry process. People coming to the front desk asking questions are another interruption.
Quantify the errors financially. Can your practice afford these errors? It’s about the process! A competent person, paid a fair salary under the best of circumstances will make mistakes. We all do. However, when the mistakes out-weigh the benefit, it is time to make some changes.
Streamlining processes to cut cost is the state of healthcare business these days and of course, there is much redundancy that can be eliminated. Don’t create a big problem by trying to solve a small problem. A certain amount of redundancy ensures completeness and error free records.
The key to reducing errors is creating a culture of “doing it right the first time”. And you do that by raising the bar of expectation while offering training and constructive feedback. Taking a look at how and where data is entered is another ingredient. Most practices take for granted that the person at the check-in desk can enter demographics correctly. That needs to be proven. Many practices now offer patients the opportunity to look at their demographic records for errors and make appropriate changes at every visit. Patients may balk at this, but a routine to establish this practice is needed to ensure accuracy.
Reducing errors should be the goal of every practice front end person and process. Give persons responsible for data entry an opportunity to provide feedback on how this process could be improved. You might be surprised at how much they can contribute.