Practice management (PM) software operates the full revenue cycle of a medical practice, from patient registration and scheduling to claim submission, claim follow up and payment posting; it operates the all-important business side of healthcare. And, while all of these activities are vital components for the successful operation of a medical office, without reporting, practices cannot assess the true health of the business and have a lesser ability to be proactive with corrective measures.
We all know that the running of daily, monthly, annual reports is so critical to assessing the health of a medical practice and Allscripts-delivered reports represent a great start to understanding how healthy a practice is at any given time. Like all well-developed practice management systems, Allscripts PM offers a wide range of performance reports to help assess practice health in terms of operations, statistics and productivity. However, what if there is information a practice desires that cannot be delivered using a canned report? What if you need a full patient list based on visits grouped by rendering provider and grouped by particular age groups? What if you want to explore the top 20 diagnoses or procedure codes submitted by your providers, grouped by provider with textual and graphical representations? What if you want a complex payormix report with textual and graphical representation as well with user-defined parameters (by particular date range per query run, for particular payors or insurance categories)? This is where a custom reporting strategy can help.
So, what does the strategy look like? Well, it doesn’t have to be complex. It can be made up of one individual in your organization who is familiar with Crystal Reports and a basic understanding of relational databases. One user can create queries in Crystal and distribute the reports to end users as requested or you can implement a Crystal reader solution on one of your PM servers so end users can run the reports themselves, with security to run the queries dictated by Active Directory or the like.
You don’t have to have an expert in Crystal Reports to extract data, however. In fact, you can extract data from the back end SQL database utilizing any data mining tool such as Microsoft Access or Microsoft Excel as well.
Whatever tool you choose to use, do think about the following when considering your solution:
- What IT expertise do you have in house that we can use to develop a custom reporting solution? Do you have anyone who is well-versed in Crystal, Excel or Access? If not, look into getting help outside the organization to assist with developing and implementing a solution as well as training current staff on report writing so you can be self-sufficient in the end.
- Do your custom reporting needs or organizational size dictate consideration of an enterprise Crystal Reader solution or does it make more sense to designate one person to write queries and distribute reports to end users? Enterprise Crystal Readers can be purchased and most are reasonably priced and you will get much bang for the buck in terms of the valuable data you will now be able to access.
- Assess whether the data you are looking to study is actually being entered into the system and if it is, determine if it is it being entered into an available, reportable field. If data you need is not currently being captured, refine workflows or add an element to the current workflow (Additional Info custom question, for example) so that the data is captured and thus, extractable and useable.
Developing a custom reporting strategy can allow you to take the management of your practice to a whole new level. Additional reporting opportunities will allow for more opportunity to monitor your practice’s health and well-being because a well thought out solution will help you better understand the full spectrum of your business operations. With the development of a cost-effective, custom reporting solution, the management of your practice will be at your fingertips and will be well worth the effort to implement.