Scaling Excellence: Solutions for Expanding Healthcare Practices

Team of doctors looking at tablet

Business growth is great. It means your product or service meets consumers’ needs and/or preferences. 

Challenges often occur, though, when you attempt to grow your business. You have to figure out how and when to expand your workforce, what strategies to implement to stay competitive and which methods best ensure strong financial management. Another priority is selecting the best technology to meet your business needs. 

Case Study: Phoenix Billing Services

Healthcare professional evaluating services

RingRx and Phoenix Billing: Navigating a New Start in Healthcare Billing It can be tough to start your own business, especially when the opportunity comes unexpectedly and under challenging circumstances. For Michelle Bowen, the chance to finally step out on her own was welcome but not something she initiated or even planned for at the time. “I was working as a billing specialist for a practice group of eight providers, and I enjoyed the role, but unfortunately, the clinic dissolved after I had been working there for about a year,” she explains.  “Right after that happened, however, one of the providers approached me and asked if I had ever thought about starting my own business. Honestly, because I had spent a number of years in the medical industry and several other fields, I had previously thought about it. But I never thought that dream would become a reality.”   Once the ball started rolling, though, a few other providers from the recently shuttered practice also got in touch. They said they’d be interested in Michelle continuing to support them. And that is how Phoenix Billing was born. Needing Structure While some new companies struggle to find clients, Phoenix Billing started out with several clients in hand. For Michelle, the most significant pain point was actually physically setting up the business. “What I do daily is insurance and patient billing, benefits verification, insurance and outside payment posting, investigation of claims payments, provider support for medical records and customer service to our patients,” she explains. “The challenge I was having was finding something that had everything I wanted for a small business for a reasonable price. I wanted the option of fax or text and for it all to be simple to use.” Michelle looked for a communications provider who could fit her needs, including moving over her fax number and managing an unreliable internet line, causing calls to drop. “I was already using a different provider for my telecommunications needs, but my old boss from another clinic suggested that RingRx might be a better fit for what I was looking for and that I should give them a try.” That suggestion turned out to be a game-changer for Michelle. “RingRx had everything I needed and wanted from the start, at the price I wanted, which made the decision easy.” Features Make It All Work RingRx’s features were a key selling point for Michelle and gave her the additional support and capabilities she needed to stay on top of her business.  “What I like the best is that RingRx keeps a log of every fax that comes in, on top of getting an email. This is extremely helpful and important in case you happen to delete something you need later – you don’t have to spend a lot of time digging through your trash or archives to find it again.” Additionally, as the sole proprietor of a small business, Michelle appreciated the time savings and customer support RingRx has provided. “It’s just me currently, so record-keeping is the most important thing for me. Being able to turn the faxes into documents for uploading into charts or for forwarding has been great; everything has been done within a timely fashion,” she adds. “Including getting our fax transferred over pretty quickly when we needed it.” From the start, reliability was also very important as she set up Phoenix Billing. “As everyone knows, making a phone call has pretty much come to an end – it’s the day and age of faxes, emails, and text messages. So it was very important for all of this to work and work correctly,” says Michelle. “Everyone I worked with in customer service and customer support was friendly, supportive and quick at getting things resolved in a timely manner. Even including responding to my prior provider to get the information needed for transition.” Growing the Business Michelle hopes to grow Phoenix Billing and take on several more medical providers going forward. “As time has passed, I’ve been able to resolve all of my technical and logistics issues, both via RingRx and by improving my physical setup.” She also plans to use more of RingRx’s features as she continues her journey as a small business. “I have just started using the mobile app, which I have found to be very useful when traveling,” she adds. Overall, Michelle is very grateful for where she is today, even though it may not have been something she was actively planning on. “I have over 15 years of experience in this industry and have done a little bit of everything over the years, originally starting out as a medical assistant. I’m now billing for three wonderful individuals who have also gone out on their own and for individual practices themselves. I was very fortunate to find this group of women at this time in my life, and I am very thankful every day for this opportunity given to me.” “RingRx so far has been everything I need, and I have no complaints.”

Case Study: Cormendi Health

Photo of Dr. Stracks from Cormendi Health. RingRx Healthcare Customer.

RingRx Creates Holistic Solutions for a Holistic Practice Dr. John Stracks, after leaving his hospital-affiliated role, aimed to establish a medical office dedicated to holistic medicine. Because of Dr. Stracks’s personal journey through his own healing, he believed it was very important to bring a patient-centered approach to dealing with long-term conditions like chronic pain. In establishing Cormendi Health, Dr. Stracks wanted to look at the patient story from all sides and to be able to spend the kind of time with patients that doctors in hospitals or large practices often can’t. Cormendi Health caters to individuals often let down by the traditional medical system. Dr. Stracks believes in treating the whole person, using integrative strategies, and employing a mind-body approach, treating clients who haven’t found relief in traditional methods. He believes emotional and mental states significantly influence physical conditions. This holistic worldview is key to how Cormendi operates and helps its patients. “RingRx not only gave us a better process for routing calls, but we were also able to differentiate the new incoming patient calls from established patients, which makes it much easier to know who’s responsible for what…” Simplified Patient Care, Complex Admin Challenges Though the holistic care approach greatly benefited patients, applying the same philosophy to office management proved challenging. “My husband envisioned a therapy practice where he’d handle all operations,” shared Lisa Stracks, Executive Director. “And we very quickly realized that wasn’t going to work out very well, because when he was seeing patients, he wasn’t answering the phone. So I jumped in, thinking, ‘sure, I can answer the phone while you’re seeing patients.’ ” This approach also proved to be short-lived. “After just a few months, it was too busy for me too,” continued Lisa. “So we brought in one of his former medical assistants and a few months after that, we brought in yet another medical assistant. As the office continued to grow, we ended up with six or seven different practitioners working with us part time, as well as Dr. Stracks. And then it very quickly became apparent that we needed better systems.” Initially, Cormendi routed all communications – calls and faxes – through a Google number to their residence. However, the growing volume and expanding team made this method untenable. So they began researching for more flexible and distributable solutions, and RingRx quickly came to the fore. Unifying Care, People, and Locations Cormendi Health boasts a regional team of specialists, each offering unique expertise in patient care. Because of that, one of the core aspects of RingRx that really appealed to Cormendi was its ability to create seamless teams from anywhere in the world. “Another thing to know about our practice is that almost everybody works remotely at least part of the time, especially post-pandemic,” explains Lisa. “For example, we have one admin person working from Canada, another person in Oregon, we’re up to 12 people now. Even those of us in the Chicago area are working from home more often than not.” The diverse locations of staff presented organizational challenges, necessitating the search for effective solutions. “Definitely logistics was the biggest part of it when we were using Google Voice. I never knew if Caroline, who works in a different location, was going to answer it, and she never knew if I was going to answer it,” adds Lisa. “Now I can watch in real time; if I see that somebody isn’t picking up, I can always jump in and do it. So RingRx helped us logistically from a technology standpoint, and also in terms of our office systems and processes.” Expanding Capabilities with New RingRx Features After enhancing call handling and integration, Cormendi Health explored other avenues for improvement. This second stage included both increased phone tree usage and building in text messaging to patients.  “RingRx not only gave us a better process for routing calls, but we were also able to differentiate the new incoming patient calls from established patients, which makes it much easier to know who’s responsible for what,” states Lisa. “The phone tree is definitely one of our success stories, especially setting up tailored messages on different extensions. That’s helped us a great deal.” Integration and setup went quickly for the newer features. “When we first called and talked to RingRx about setting up the system, they asked us what we needed, and then they built it out for us and put it into practice. And then after a while, we contacted them and said we actually need to have a phone tree now because we’re busy enough that we need a separate line for new patients and for regular patients, can you do that for us? And within a couple of days, it was up and running. It was great, especially as it’s customized for us. RingRx just makes my life a whole lot easier.” Dr. Stracks’s office also started to make more use of RingRx’s text messaging capabilities, especially for appointments. “The other thing we use that has worked out great is the texting. If we’re having trouble reaching a client, we can text them. And that has been really helpful, being able to ping them and say, ‘Hey, your appointment started five minutes ago, please call us.’” Lisa explains: “I used to have to chase them with calls, spend a lot more time with voicemails and phones ringing, leave messages like ‘please give us a call at your earliest convenience about something urgent.’ And of course, we don’t send HIPAA-related information, but it’s just a super easy way for us to reach out and connect with people and make sure that things happen. So I would say that’s another success story.”  Building for the Future Cormendi Health has integrated tech advancements like Electronic Medical Records, which merge Zoom calls and faxes into patient charts, and introduced an online membership platform offering added insights and tips. Lisa explains that one of Dr. Stracks’s core tenets is to be extremely responsive to patient needs

How many communications platforms does a healthcare organization need?

nurse managing multiple phone systems, needs to consolidate to one phone system

Your practice is growing by leaps and bounds. Congratulations! Now comes the hard(er) part: deciding which technology solutions will streamline your workflows and offer the scalability you need.  Does that mean you should invest in a new EHR or EMR system? Should you purchase software that enables you to provide the option of online appointment scheduling for your patients? And does your medical group need more than just one communications platform?  These are all good questions for any growing medical practice to ask — but there is no 100 percent right or wrong answer. That’s because the number of communication platforms you need depends on your practice’s specific requirements and size.  Maybe you’re dealing with aging communications equipment for which upgrades aren’t available. Or you are simply searching for a scalable VoIP telephony solution that is both reliable and affordable.  In many cases, consolidating communications systems is a smart approach. Why? Because it typically streamlines operations while reducing costs. That’s a win-win situation!  Tips for Consolidating Your Communications Systems  To understand the best method for consolidating communication systems, you should first know what solutions they must include and what to avoid. For example, it’s crucial to research which systems will grow with your practice, meaning you won’t have to invest in a new system every time your medical group experiences an increase in patient flow. This approach also thoroughly assesses your current communication systems to identify redundancies. Once those redundancies are identified, developing your migration plan is crucial. The most important part here is ensuring that the plan enables the transition to a unified communications platform — with minimal disruption to your daily operations. Next up is training. If your staff are uncomfortable with your new system or don’t feel supported, they won’t use it to its full potential. Consider the case of Eugene Psychological Assessments (EPA), an Oregon-based practice specializing in neuropsychological evaluations. Before RingRx, EPA struggled with managing multiple phone lines and faxes across different locations. The practice manager, operating remotely from an RV, faced significant hurdles in unifying these disparate systems. By switching to RingRx, EPA consolidated its communication channels into one efficient platform and enhanced its service delivery through secure phone and text capabilities. This transition was pivotal in transforming their operations, enabling the practice to offer more services and contemplate expansion, all while ensuring HIPAA compliance and maintaining high levels of security and privacy for their sensitive patient communications. VoIP for Healthcare: Why Security is Paramount  As a healthcare practice, you know the importance of keeping data private. That is especially key when you are creating, receiving, maintaining and transmitting protected health information (PHI).  Any HIPAA-compliant phone system you select must adhere to stringent security measures and ensure compliance. The following security measures also should be included in your communications platform: End-to-end encryption: All communications, including messages and files, should be encrypted to prevent unauthorized access. Access controls: Role-based access controls should be implemented to restrict access to PHI, ensuring only authorized personnel can view or modify it. Audit trails: Maintaining audit logs helps track user activity, providing transparency in case of a security incident. Employee training: Staff members should receive training on HIPAA regulations and best practices for handling PHI. Business Associate Agreements (BAAs): BAAs should be established with service providers to ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations. Data backups: Regular data backups and disaster recovery plans should be in place to prevent data loss.  Cost-Effectiveness: Maximizing Your Budget with Smart Solutions Managing costs effectively is as crucial as providing quality patient care. This is where the cost-effectiveness of a unified communications platform like RingRx becomes particularly valuable. RingRx offers a comprehensive suite of communication tools within a single platform. This integration eliminates the complexity and financial burden of maintaining multiple subscriptions and licenses from various providers. By streamlining your communication tools into one efficient system, RingRx simplifies your operations and leads to significant cost savings. With everything from voice calls to secure texting integrated into one platform, your practice can avoid the financial strain of piecemeal solutions. Understanding that no two healthcare practices are the same, RingRx offers scalable service plans that can be precisely tailored to meet the specific needs of your practice. This flexibility ensures that you’re not overspending on unnecessary features or services. Whether your practice is expanding rapidly or maintaining a steady pace, RingRx’s scalable solutions adapt to your growth, ensuring you only pay for what you need. This approach optimizes your costs, allowing you to allocate resources more effectively across your practice. Are you navigating the complexities of your growing healthcare practice and pondering the right communication tools to invest in? The answer might be simpler and more cost-effective than you think. Request a demo today to learn how RingRx’s communication solutions can help you streamline your practice’s operations, enhance data security, and effectively manage your costs.

5 Top Considerations When Evaluating a New Healthcare Communications Provider

Doctor on the phone evaluating communications providers

There’s no doubt that technology has substantially altered the healthcare industry. Patients can now schedule appointments online, check in digitally before an appointment, access their health records and procure test results from a patient portal.  When healthcare technology is designed and utilized correctly, it can improve patient care, reduce medical errors and lower the cost of care. Providers can more easily communicate and connect with patients, collect accurate and complete data and boost patient satisfaction and loyalty. It even enables them to achieve these things despite being understaffed.  How do you know, though, how best to choose the services of a technology provider when there are so many options? They all tout their products as the best in the business.  The first step? Do. Your. Research. Don’t simply select the least expensive service provider because the cost of implementing a new technology tool might be less than the expense of keeping the status quo.  If you’re looking to invest in new technology to help build your practice and better service your patients, check out our list of the top five things to look for when evaluating new service providers.  1.    Prioritize a Solid Reputation and Documented Experience  New technology vendors pop up seemingly as often as new car models are introduced. These new players might have the freshest new product out there — but not the experience. Only about half of new businesses make it past five years, and a mere one in three make it to the 10-year mark.  You want a technology partner with a good track record. How do you find that information? One way is by asking for testimonials. As any service provider, you’re seriously considering the names of a couple of clients and contacting them to learn about their experience with the company.  Or, check out reviews. Americans tell an average of nine people about a good experience, and roughly 30 percent share them on social media. Approximately 45 percent of customers share their bad experiences online.  Avoid working with technology vendors that won’t let you try out their system first or those who want your credit card before starting a trial. Request a demo, and take that service provider out of the running if they won’t give you one.  2.    Demand Responsive and Reliable Client Support  Dealing with a business with bad customer service can be extremely frustrating, even if said company has a great product or service. You like to feel as a customer that you’re valued, not simply a number. Companies that don’t focus on customer service probably won’t stay in business very long, especially smaller enterprises.  Your communications technology vendor should proactively address issues that might negatively affect your practice and resolve critical issues as quickly as possible. Their product or service should be user-friendly enough that you can troubleshoot most issues without even having to contact customer support. Maintaining a vendor relationship shouldn’t take more and more of your resources.  3.    Ensure HIPAA Compliance Through Partnership  As a healthcare provider, you know that under HIPAA, covered entities that create, receive or transmit protected health information (PHI) must comply with the Security Rule of HIPAA and its administrative, physical and technical safeguards. That can be challenging, especially for smaller physician practices. The result can be HIPAA violations, from a lack of encryption and getting hacked or phished to unauthorized access, loss or theft of devices and access of PHI from an unsecured location.  To keep your HIPAA data safe in the cloud and ensure compliance with specific regulations, you must fully understand how PHI and other data should be stored in the cloud and take necessary precautions. For example, the HITECH Act requires you to have a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) to manage the PHI chain of custody and clearly detail the roles and responsibilities of each party involved in the process.  Don’t assume that a vendor promoting HIPAA compliance is telling the truth — ask for actual proof in the form of a proper BAA or a second opinion. Although HIPAA violations aren’t always intentional, they can still be costly for healthcare providers and payers.  4.    Optimize Your Workflow to Reduce Administrative Burden  As a healthcare provider, you have numerous responsibilities, not the least of which include administrative duties that detract from your ability to spend more time with your patients. Your staff often has to copy forms and scan patient charts, all of which adds to that administrative burden.  Employing poorly designed or outdated technology can result in inefficient workflows that cost your practice through unnecessary maintenance fees and an increased administrative burden. The best solutions provide clinicians and their staff with more efficient communication to improve the quality of care and decrease the risk of medical errors.  5.    Choose Technology Built Specifically for Healthcare  Patients are a unique type of consumer, and meeting their needs is paramount for the healthcare industry. A failure to do so doesn’t only mean a negative experience, but it also has the potential to affect their health substantially.  Technology solutions used in healthcare should be built to meet patient needs. They also need to make it easy for you to do your job well. Each practice has its own goals, objectives and needs, and the right service providers will tailor their technology to meet those.  Interoperability, though sometimes difficult to achieve, is necessary for technology built for the healthcare industry. You need a solution that plays well with other systems, is easy to implement and grows with your practice.  Custom-made Practice Communications  The RingRx platform is designed to meet the needs of modern healthcare practices like yours. We aim to offer easy-to-use technology tools that enable providers of any size to better communicate with their patients.  Our HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based, enterprise-quality VoIP phone system can be tailored to meet your specific preferences and requirements. Schedule a complementary 14-day demo of RingRx to learn more about how our communication system can save you money while improving patient outcomes and