Good Listening Skills Lead to Effective Communication

To engage in an effective communication one needs to listen properly and respond. We all know there’s a difference between hearing and listening. When a sound is sensed by the ears, hearing happens which doesn’t require any special efforts. However, listening happens only when we consciously put efforts to understand the meaning of the words that requires concentration on what others are saying. Listening to itself requires efforts, so one can understand that listening well requires much more efforts and concentration. To be able to mingle with others easily and participate actively in conversations, it is important that we listen well.

Many people wrongly assume that if they are not talking much and letting others do the talking, they are good listeners. What happens in such cases is that they might be hearing to what others say rather than listening well. Listening is an art in itself that needs the practice to perfect. Here are some pointers to enhance the art of listening.

Eye contact: The first step to learn the art of listening is making eye contact with the person to whom we are speaking. All of us might have had an irritating experience of feeling neglected and rejected when we were speaking to someone. If When we think a little on this, we get to know that person was not interested in us so, didn’t bother to listen to us. The key take away from this point is that we should be interested in what the other person is saying and to demonstrate this we have to make an eye contact with the people whom we are talking to.

No interruption: We should make a note of the point that interrupting while others are speaking is not a good sign of listening attentively. Good listening is that where the speaker gets uninterrupted attention and is able to convey his thoughts without our opinions thrust upon him.

Body language: Although we should not disrupt when others are talking, we should neither sit silently to make others believe that we are only physically present but not mentally. To make people understand that we are listening, we should use few words and our body language like a nod, a smile etc. It’s not just our body language that is important, but the speaker’s body language as well. Good listening skills include comprehending the speaker’s non-verbal communication also and acting accordingly.

Open-ended questions: When the other person has finished talking, we should ask some open-ended questions to reinforce the fact that we are were actively listening to what has been was being said and we understood it. When the other person has finished talking, we should ask some open-ended questions to reinforce the fact that we were actively listening to what was being said and we understood it.

Being open-minded: One of the most important aspects of listening skills is being open-minded while listening without any preconceived notions. We should not have a negative evaluation or judgment about the other person’s thoughts while they are speaking. This helps us to understand what they actually mean to say and reciprocate accordingly.

Observation and analysis: Observing people and their conversations is a good way to master listening skills. Also, we can take our family and friends’ opinion on what they think of us per our listening skills and improve on points which they don’t like in us.

People who master listening skills enjoy a better life because people are attracted towards them and they make much better relationships due to their effective listening and communication skills.

Greenery! To Elevate Your Mood

The most common method of elevating one’s mood when stressed out or depressed is mingling with the Mother Nature. Getting nearer to nature improves our health, morale, and even efficiency in our work. We all generally work around 45-50 hours a week in our office and hence, our office environment has a lot of influence on our health, peacefulness, and performance. So, bringing in some greenery to our space has a mindboggling effect on our happiness and productivity.

Greenery Helps!

It has been established through studies that nature provides excellent stress relief and greatly enhances productivity. Having plants in the office premises not only elevates the décor aspect but also considerably improves air quality and boosts our health. Plants are great stress busters and are also known to improve creativity and attention spans.

It’s often found that the poor quality of indoor air in offices leads to a lot of health issues like a headache, cold and cough, and fatigue. So, even a small indoor plant in our office can add color to our space and spice up our work routine.

Let’s check on some indoor plants that can bring in some freshness and color to our workspace.

Aloe Vera: This plant is well-known for its air-purifying quality and medicinal properties. This plant requires sunlight so it can be placed in any window or an area that gets sufficient sunlight.

Areca Palm: This plant doesn’t need direct sunlight and can be grown anywhere. It can grow up to 5-7 feet in indoors and looks great.

Indian Basil/Tulasi: We all know the medicinal properties of Tulasi and it doesn’t even need great maintenance. It will thrive well in places where direct sunlight is abundant, so the best place for this a sunny window.

Snake plant: This plant is an excellent air-purifier and survives the best in low light and humid places.
Golden Pothos/ Money plant: This is one plant that is easy to grow in both soil and water and is also an excellent air-purifier.

Peace Lily: Very easy to maintain, this plant requires just shade and watering once a week. All indoor places that receive a little indirect sunlight and stay cool are apt for this plant.

By having some plants in the office environment, the air quality of the office can be improved and a pleasant atmosphere is created that helps reduce stress and increases productivity.

Implementation of EHRs and their Outcomes

Electronic health records are mandatory for the healthcare practices to meet the ‘meaningful use’ requirements. The information available from the electronic health records coupled with data analytics helps provide the best medical care to patients and save innumerable lives. There are facilities that adopt comprehensive EHR solutions and those that adopt customized EHR solutions.

The comprehensive EHRs contain the whole medical information related to a patient irrespective of the number of physicians that have provided healthcare. These EHRs also communicate the care gaps and errors that may happen and facilitate taking preventive measures to avoid these. Although integrating a comprehensive EHR system is an expensive and time-consuming exercise, it provides benefits that outdo the troubles. The biggest beneficiary of this system is a patient because such system deals with the medical information of the patient in totality and it’s easier to communicate this information to all physicians who provide care.

The customized EHRs are often preferred by single specialty practices that want the EHR systems to be more specific to the practice. These EHRs come with benefits but also have costs associated with them that should be analyzed before taking the plunge. With the help of customized EHRs, the data can be captured more efficiently with improved accuracy that enhances the health outcomes considerably.

Whether it is a comprehensive EHR system or a customized one, physicians may find entering data into the systems to be burdensome, especially when they are not skilled at using computer and typing. However, these physicians will only later find these EHRs very valuable and handy when they can access critical patient information immediately without waiting for it to come from somewhere else. It is an acknowledged fact that additional time spent on accurate EHRs can be countered by the improved clinical outcomes and avoidance of dangerous medical errors or wrong medications.

Implementing efficient EHR solutions needs to be dealt as a long-term investment that even requires workflow modifications. Providing quality healthcare without appropriate EHRs will become difficult and impossible in the coming years as use of technology and artificial intelligence in the healthcare industry will require access to loads of powerful information in these records.

Keys to Great Healthcare Documentation Services

Although there are many medical transcription companies playing in the market, only a few of them reach the top and this can be achieved only with great service. Healthcare documentation is very critical in providing proper, accurate, and timely care to patients. The healthcare staff relies on these documents for a lot of purposes and importantly for the decision making in prescribing medication. Let’s take a look at some of the key practices that transform a healthcare documentation company into a great one.

Accuracy is one of the key elements that improve the standards of service. The medical records created by the healthcare specialists are very crucial and are indirectly related to the revenues of the healthcare facility. Only when the data entered in the records are accurate, the medical coders and billers will be able to provide accurate codes to the procedures performed and raise the bills to get adequate reimbursements.

Excellent knowledge and experience of the healthcare documentation specialists are very important to the success of a healthcare documentation company. The medical transcriptionists have to deal day in and day out with hundreds of medical terms and situations that could be challenging to comprehend and document. Adding to the difficulty levels of transcription, there could be background noises or accent of the physician which is not easy to understand. In order to excel in the healthcare documecntation servies, it is extremely important that the transcriptionists are exceptionally good in deciphering the spoken and unspoken words in the physician’s dictation.

Complying with the HIPAA regulations and maintaining the secrecy of the sensitive and private patient information also takes high priority. The storage and processing of the patient data need to be done with highest levels of integrity and the confidentiality that requires appropriate security measures both in terms of technology and transcriptionists.

Avontix is one of the best medical transcription companies in Hyderabad that takes pride in quality services with the highest levels of accuracy and maintaining the confidentiality of critical patient information.

Let’s Deal with Criticism Positively

One thing everyone in this world likes is being appreciated or praised. One thing that almost everyone in this world dislikes is CRITICISM. People just don’t dislike but hate criticism. But, why is it so? After all, criticism is not that bad. It is not possible for people to identify their own mistakes each and every time and there should be someone to point out your drawbacks so that you can hone your skills to improve yourself.

It’s pretty common for people to get upset and defensive when they are criticized. However, it should be noted that all feedback is not negative and there will be some constructive criticism that helps you to become a well-rounded person.

Identifying constructive criticism:

The first thing to deal with criticism is identifying whether it is constructive or destructive. To identify this, you have to take into consideration two points – 1) how well the person knows you and 2) the intention of the person who is giving the feedback.

Constructive criticism: Firstly, if the person giving you a feedback is your well-wisher, a good friend, a teacher or mentor; it means they intend you to perform better or do better in life. This is constructive criticism that helps you to identify your flaws and rectify them. To take constructive criticism in your stride, you need to accept the fact that you are not perfect in all aspects and shun the arrogance that you will never go wrong in anything. Once you are ready to learn from your mistakes you will not hurt yourself by others’ criticism. Don’t take feedback on a personal level and try to understand how you can improve yourself. The best way to deal with criticism constructively is by being sensible rather than sensitive. Accept your flaws and figure out what is the real message of the person giving you a feedback. Verify for yourself if there is any truth in what the others are saying and is it good for you to act on that feedback. Once you establish that it is indeed true then take corrective measure to improve yourself.

Destructive criticism: When the person giving you a feedback doesn’t know you well or is giving a feedback with a wrong intention of hurting you, it is destructive criticism. It is not easy to take criticism as such and it is even more difficult to deal with destructive criticism. To deal with such feedback, it is advisable to understand the underlying feelings of the person who gave you the feedback. Try to analyze why they are behaving in such a manner when you have done nothing wrong. If you find that they are going through a tough time, just forget about the feedback. However, if you find that though the manner it was given was wrong, but there is some truth in it, you should get to the depth of it and tackle the situation. Just remember that people’s words can’t hurt you unless you give them that power. When you know that it is destructive criticism, you should let it go and not take it to the heart to hurt you. Irrespective of what others are talking about you, stay confident and poised if you know that people are giving invalid criticism because of sheer jealousy or anger. Ignore such people and their feedback to not let them hurt you.

The bottom line is that you should act upon gracefully towards criticism that is helpful to uplift your life and just ignore the criticisms that are baseless and destructive. We cannot control the thoughts of others, but thankfully, we can control our thoughts and lead a positive life.

Patient Access and its Link to Increased Revenue

For a health organization to enjoy a good financial position, its revenue cycle management should be efficient enough to bring in timely payments for the claims submitted and collect the amount due from patients. When either the claims submitted are denied or patients are not paying their dues, it results in unpaid collections and bad debts for the healthcare provider.

One of the ways to reduce revenue losses is having smart patient access. By providing smart patient access, healthcare facilities can see reduced claim denials and improve their revenue cycle management performance. To be able to do this, the RCM services professionals have to collect all the necessary information at the registration process itself. Usually, patients feel that all the work related to registration process is time-consuming and unnecessarily delays the diagnosis and treatment procedure. However, hospital registration process is very critical to collect the necessary financial compensation and payment details of patients so as to provide appropriate services.

The various patient access responsibilities of a hospital’s staff include pre-admission services, scheduling, patient identification and gathering patient and family information. Apart from these; providing customer service, identifying special needs, insurance verification, collecting signatures for the required documentation and collecting point-of-service payments are also a part of patient access responsibilities. Having proper patient access processes by streamlining operations can bring maximum revenues to the healthcare facility. This can be achieved by utilizing the RCM services experts to identify weak points and work on them to improve the overall performance. Employing a good software application for smart patient access along with effective RCM services that are tailored to the needs of the healthcare organization facilitate prompting of upfront payments and other crucial information as and when necessary.

Providing accurate pricing estimation to patients and the ability to view insurance benefits information in real-time are few advantages of using technology and these benefits can be availed by hiring efficient RCM services providers.

Rejections vs. Denials in Revenue Cycle Management

Healthcare reimbursements play a critical role in the revenue cycle management of every healthcare facility and if they are not received promptly, the facility faces financial and organizational challenges. The major forces that impact the revenues of healthcare organizations are medical claim denials and rejections. Although rejections and claims are used interchangeably by many people, there are certain differences which if not understood properly by the revenue cycle management team, may lead to negative impact on a facility’s revenue cycles. Establishing appropriate revenue cycle management measures is very much essential to enjoy timely cash flow at the facility which can be done by hiring experienced RCM services professionals.

Rejections vs. Denials:

Rejected claims occur due to errors committed by medical billing specialists in giving patient or insurance information while submitting claims. These claims are not entered into the systems of insurance providers and sent back for correction. After rectifying the mistakes, the claims are re-submitted to the insurance companies for claims processing.

Denied claims are those claims that have been entered into the systems of the insurance provider and processed but have been denied the payments due to various reasons. In other words, the insurance payer takes a negative decision regarding the claim and does not deem the claim to be eligible for healthcare reimbursement. Claim denials have a strong negative impact on the cash flow of the practice and hence require a robust denial management system in place which can be provided by expert RCM services providers.

Reasons for Claims Denials:

There are numerous reasons for claims denials and these are to be studied and analyzed properly to mitigate the losses from denials. Here are some common reasons that lead to claims denials.

Incomplete information regarding the patient details or insurance details that include a field left blank, missing modifiers or incorrect plan codes etc.

Services those are already included in other services or procedures billing.

Claims that are considered duplicate when they are resubmitted without appropriate reconsideration request or appeal.

Claims that include services not covered by the insurance payer.

Exceeding the timeframe of submitting claims after providing the services.

It is important for every healthcare facility to either work on denial management system independently or by hiring professional RCM services. In either way, the management should be able to track the common denial and rejection causes and analyze them so as to arrive at proper measures to be taken to minimize the denials and rejections. Medical claims denials and rejections pose a great challenge to every healthcare facility and to overcome these challenges, it is advisable to join hands with the best RCM services providers.

Role of a Healthcare Documentation Specialist

Ever-increasing legal obligations and expectations of the patients for a better and quality healthcare have contributed to the need for an improved and comprehensive healthcare documentation / medical transcription. Improved technological resources are all the more increasing the expectations for accurate and reliable healthcare documentation reports that can facilitate providing better quality healthcare. For this reason, it is seen that a growing number of healthcare providers are opting for professional healthcare documentation services companies to do the job for them.

It is a well-known fact that healthcare industry relies on the documentation of health care procedures to a great extent. The time-consuming and error-prone manual records have been replaced by the electronic procedures of transcription that has given rise to a great demand for healthcare documentation specialists. With the advent of newer health information technologies, it has become easier to maintain accurate and reliable health reports for the people in healthcare documentation jobs.

The role of a healthcare documentation specialist includes-

Listening to the voice file or dictation of a physician or any other healthcare professional

Interpreting and transcribing the voice file into accurate test result reports, operative reports, and other documents

Reviewing and editing reports generated by a speech recognition software, if the software is being used for transcription purposes

Translating the medical abbreviations and jargon into appropriate form as required

Proofreading and editing the reports created by identifying inconsistencies, errors and any missing information

Following the guidelines to adhere to the patient information confidentiality rules and regulations.

To perform their job, healthcare documentation specialists use audio playback equipment or software that is connected to their system and facilitates in interpreting the voice file of the physician. Along with this equipment, usually, a headset and foot pedal is used to control the voice file playback speed. After transcribing the document the transcriptionists have to proofread and edit the reports to achieve high levels of accuracy before submitting them to the healthcare providers. To perform their jobs well, the transcriptionists have to acquire a thorough knowledge of human anatomy and physiology along with medical industry terminology.

Avontix is one of the best healthcare documentation services providers that provide accurate and reliable services to its clients. Join Avontix for a challenging and successful career in medical transcription.

Role of Proofreading in Healthcare Documentation

Medical transcription or healthcare documentation deals with the documentation of voice files which is prone to many errors due to the kind of work it involves. Healthcare documentation specialists have to listen to various physicians’ voice files with different accents and document them in a prescribed format. Often there are issues with the voice files regarding the background noises, the clarity in the physician’s speech etc. that give a challenge to the medical transcriptionist. Moreover, many people in healthcare documentation jobs work remotely without any immediate supervisor to rectify errors if there are any. This kind of work needs that the medical transcriptionist is independent, self-motivated and responsible towards the work being done. Being an indispensable part of the healthcare industry, the healthcare documentation specialists take pride in their jobs and work relentlessly for the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the documentation they do.

Although the medical transcriptionists do their job with utmost dedication, there may be errors that occur while transcribing and proofreading is required to eliminate these errors before sending the final document to the client. Healthcare documentation jobs call for of excellent proofreading skills that involve identifying any mistakes and correcting them in the documents prepared. In order to identify mistakes, one has to know the kind of errors that can occur. Here given are some commonly seen errors in the transcribed documents.

Use of wrong spelling for the words used.

Omitting important words dictated by the physician.

Use of a wrong word in English or Medicine due to errors of homophones and homonyms.

Typo errors caused due to the usage of a wrong alphabet or numerical character.

Grammatical and punctuation errors that can change the meaning or context of the sentence.

Errors that result due to lack of consistency in the use of words that creates confusion.

With a fair idea regarding the kinds of errors that are likely, it becomes easier to proofread. Like all other skills, proofreading skills need the practice to improve. Here are few quick tips to improve proofreading skills.

Maintain a record of your errors and check regularly to understand your weak areas and polish your skills.

Categorize your errors into English and medical errors. You can further categorize these into sub-categories based on the specialty for medical errors and spelling and grammar for English errors. Try to work on these errors and not repeat them.

Build up a good library with reference books and reference sites to look at new or challenging words.

Use spellcheckers for both English and medical words to ease your proofreading.

Adjust the speed control of your transcriber unit to avoid any word omissions and misunderstanding of words.

Proofreading skills improve only with persistent practice and ensure that you read your transcribed document thoroughly from the beginning to the end for its completeness and accuracy. For the best of experience in this field, join Avontix, one of the best providers of healthcare documentation services.

Role of Technology in Transforming Healthcare

It is a fact that technology is being used heavily in the healthcare industry, although a bit late than other industries and health informatics is one evolving specialization. Health informatics is a term given to the process of acquisition, storage, retrieval and use of patient information by various healthcare providers of a patient with a combined use of communications, information technology, and healthcare. A major factor in the increased use of health informatics is the increased use of electronic health records as a result of incentive programs for ‘meaningful use’.

Electronic health records are designed with a view to collect, store and share a patient’s health information from all providers who are involved in the patient’s healthcare. In a scenario where healthcare providers are quickly adapting EHR solutions in their facilities, health informatics will see a tremendous growth as facilities implement new systems and upgrade their existing databases. Let’s see how this evolving technology of health informatics helps in the transformation of healthcare.

Cost reduction: Everyone agrees and knows that healthcare is expensive and many times more than half of the expenses are due to the procedures being performed repeatedly, delayed care provision, and conventional methods of sharing information among various healthcare providers. With the help of EHR solutions, health informatics result in cost reduction to facilities as a result of better connectivity among various people concerned. Health informatics increases communication, reduces errors, and thus improves efficiency.

Access to knowledge: With appropriate use of EHR systems, different healthcare providers have access to abundant knowledge about patients and their health history. With this access to knowledge and with the help of health informatics, the patient information can be easily shared between physicians and patients that aids in providing better healthcare.

Patient involvement: When patients have access to their health information, it gives them an opportunity to actively participate in their own healthcare as they get to know about their diagnoses, medications, and treatments. This helps the patients to interact with their doctors with more ease and discuss their issue that helps in better healthcare provision.

Healthcare industry is evolving rapidly due to the immense use of technology in maintaining electronic health records and with the empowerment of health informatics, all can expect more efficient, coordinated and improved care.