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With approximately 3,000 people in attendance, UGM 2019 proved to be a powerful event offering more than 200 role-based learning sessions to NextGen Healthcare clients from across the country. This unique opportunity provided clients the chance to step back and analyze, learn, and review how their practices are being managed, and what other options are available to stay ahead and support clinical and financial success. In regard to small practices and how they can best utilize NextGen® Office, UGM offered 11 sessions focused solely on NextGen Office users. 

NextGen Office typically supports independent practices with less than 11 providers. The NextGen Office team is committed to software stability, outstanding service, and ultimately the success of its clients. 

How to best utilize NextGen Office Practice Management was a valuable topic at UGM. The purpose of NextGen Office Practice Management is to save time and help clients get paid for their services. Common practice management complaints across all specialties and health IT solutions include too many clicks/screens, not enough automation, manually touching everything, inefficient staff, and lost revenue. NextGen Office clients were offered invaluable insights on how to use system defaults to save clicks and reduce billing errors; how to optimize staff by implementing the tools available to manage AR; and how to improve collections using tools designed to help save time and money. Understanding industry standards and benchmarking against those standards, in addition to holding patients accountable for their financial responsibility, is key in managing a successful practice.  

Improving the revenue cycle management (RCM) process was another key topic. Suggested ways to improve RCM included verifying patient information 2-3 days before the visit; obliging patients to pay their share of cost at the time of service; and educating an entire practice on the RCM process. Clients benefitted from tutorials on how to set up their accounts to chart more efficiently and avoid missed opportunities for billing by learning which key areas can be customized and utilized in the EHR. 

For independent practices, reducing no-shows and cancellations is crucial. Cancellations and missed appointments contribute to insufficient care, missed opportunities for other patients to receive care, lost revenue, and interruptions to office workflow. To avoid this negative impact, presenters discussed how to create a clear, concise, and legally binding policy; how to equip staff to communicate policy and better manage patients. Additionally, presenters explained how best to inform patients of the policy and remind them consistently, and how to optimize appointment reminders to avoid issues and enforce policy to ensure compliance and reduce revenue leaks.

As fee-for-service payment models are replaced by value-based care, providers inevitably will take on more risk. At UGM, industry experts discussed how best to manage regulatory compliance risk, detailing the ONC 21st Century Cures Act—its new compliance obligations primarily on EHR vendors, but also on physician practices and hospitals. Additionally, Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) audits vs. Meaningful Use/Promoting Interoperability (MU/PI) audits and their processes were covered. NextGen Office is designed to support MACRA/MIPS reporting, which is especially useful for small practices trying to navigate these programs.

Reducing the burden on the staff by leveraging key features in the patient portal is essential. Presenters addressed the advantages of having patient’s check-in and complete their intake forms online prior to appointments to save staff time. Also, it was suggested that integrating with credit card services can allow patients to make online payments through the patient portal, helping practices to get paid faster.

NextGen Office e-prescription functionality can save time and support clinical performance. Clients received a basic review of RX workflows, and how to leverage relationships with third-party vendors to access RX-related information directly from the EHR. 

NextGen Office be used to provide patients the best care possible, it also is designed to support staff and reduce the risk of provider burnout. One of the last presentations at UGM covered provider burnout. Why are physicians suffering from burnout? What happens when a physician suffers from burnout? What are the solutions to provider burnout? Experts suggested mastering the EHR via customization, blueprint utilization, and default coding, to name a few. Involving patients in the care process can help speed up documentation and practicing team-based care can help improve workflow efficiency, while optimally managing patient populations. 

Overall, NextGen Office clients who attended UGM were excited to take part in hands-on training and educational sessions that provided them with insight into marketing their practice, managing regulatory changes, keeping their patients more engaged and meeting their peers.

UGM 2020 takes place in Nashville, TN, November 8–11. We hope to see you next year where we’ll have more exciting content to share with our NextGen Office clients.

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NextGen Healthcare

NextGen Healthcare is a solutions provider whose comprehensive, integrated technology and services platform supports ambulatory and specialty practices of all sizes.