Missed charges are a daily problem for many veterinary practices. Over time, these seemingly insignificant errors can add up to serious revenue loss and may compromise patient care. However, if your team attempts to collect missing fees after the fact, your practice does so at an equally high price, potentially damaging your practice’s reputation and the client experience. In some cases, or after multiple errors, these seemingly minor missed charges may cost your practice future business.
The only way to resolve missed charges is to stop common errors at their source. Here are five strategies to put an end to embarrassing and costly mistakes.
Reduce the number of cooks in the kitchen
Veterinary medicine is a collaborative effort, but if too many team members are on a pet’s care team, confusion can arise about who’s performing a specific task.
To prevent confusion, assign certain patients or appointments to specific team members. An appointed care provider should also be designated to follow the pet’s care throughout the hospital, enter charges, and ensure the final invoice is accurate.
Implement an automatic charge capture within your practice management software
Manually selecting and moving charges from the electronic medical record (EMR) to the final invoice, or from a paper record to an invoice generator, is a common and easy way to lose revenue. All it takes is a brief interruption to pull a team member’s focus away from the invoice-creating process and lead to missed charges.
Your practice can virtually eliminate this issue by switching to cloud-based veterinary software with automated charge capture. Charge capture software automatically syncs a patient’s EMR with their final invoice. When team members record a service or inventory item in a pet’s chart, the charge simultaneously appears on the client’s invoice, ensuring a perfect match.
Train team members on item codes associated with treatment protocols
A new hire may be unfamiliar with your practice’s treatment protocols or item codes, which can lead to unintentional omissions. This is especially common for services that involve individual inventory charges, such as intravenous (IV) fluid therapy. In this example, a new hire may charge for the catheter setup and the fluid bag but forget to add the fluid line, extension set, or port cost.
While mistakes are a natural part of the learning process, increased training can minimize recurring or significant losses. In addition, consider bundling or linking related charges, such as in the fluid example discussed earlier, to ensure all associated items and services are accounted for in the final total.
Go paperless with cloud-based veterinary software
Team members can’t enter charges in real time unless they have easy access to a patient’s chart. Limited workstations, paper records, and inflexible software (i.e., neither tablet- nor mobile-friendly) force busy team members to rely on paper notes or their own memory until they can finally access a workstation and enter the charges to the invoice.
Cloud-based veterinary software lets your team view and modify patient charts from any internet-ready device. Team members can input charges from anywhere in the hospital, including cage-side or from the parking lot. This flexible and instant access also enhances patient care by allowing team members to view the entire chart, communication notes, charge estimates, and ongoing treatments at any time or from anywhere.
Give team members the ability to estimate within a patient’s chart
If your practice relies on travel sheets or other paper-based forms to track and record hospitalized pet treatments, your team must manually enter each charge before a pet’s release. This scenario increases the likelihood that a team member will miss entering a charge. It also prohibits them from providing a client with an updated total cost during their pet’s stay. If the charges are entered and reviewed by someone other than a member of a pet’s primary care team (i.e., veterinarian or technician), the error risk increases.
Cloud-based veterinary software provides enhanced accuracy and convenience by giving team members the ability to build an estimate within a patient’s chart. It also offers the flexibility to enter cage-side charges on a tablet or smart device and the power to move services or items from the estimate directly to the EMR and invoice. By entering and updating charges throughout a patient’s stay, your team ensures that the medical record is complete and accurate. When necessary, they can provide up-to-the-minute cost updates for the client and answer any questions about proposed changes to the original quoted estimate. Your clients will appreciate the lack of surprises on the final invoice!
Use charge capture software to avoid missing charges
For good reason, missing charges are a perpetual source of frustration for many veterinary practices. Left overlooked, uncollected fees cost more than money and can negatively impact your practice’s reputation and quality of care. However, chasing down every unpaid charge is an inefficient use of your team’s time and can pull focus away from what matters most—your patients and clients. Shepherd Veterinary Software simplifies charge capture and increases your productivity with smart automations, in-demand features, and an intuitive interface designed to support your daily workflows.
Shepherd Veterinary Software’s leading cloud-based veterinary practice management software is built to work the way veterinary practices work. Founded by practicing veterinarian Dr. Cindy Barnes, Shepherd streamlines your daily workflow with SOAP-based medical records and robust automation tools.
Schedule your demo today and discover firsthand how Shepherd Veterinary Software can transform your workday and your bottom line.