By Christopher Kane and Scott Beard
In today’s hyper-connected world, where technology has fundamentally changed the way we live, most people would agree that accessing information has never been easier. For optometrists and administrators the revolution in electronic records has also fundamentally changed the way information is stored, retrieved and delivered. And in addition to convenience and access, technology is now at the very forefront of combatting a serious danger to the medical profession: fraud.
In fact, The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA) estimates that the financial losses due to health care fraud are in the tens of billions of dollars each year.
So how can technology help reverse this trend in losses each year?
The first step is to strongly consider switching to an online business banking platform. Online banking is a powerful way to maximize your productivity by completing a number of transactions with the bank, securely through the internet, at your convenience. But just as importantly, it provides a strong firewall to fraud. For example, online banking:
• Allows you to view balances and activity including images of checks written and deposited paper items.
• Allows you to stop payments immediately on an account.
• Provides a messaging vehicle -to communicate securely with the bank.
• Provides online balance alerts to indicate a potential problem.
The second step could be to utilize Automated Clearing House (ACH), which is an electronic network for financial transactions in the United States providing users the ability to utilize direct deposit payroll and vendor payments.
ACH offers practices the power to electronically disburse or collect funds to employees, vendors and other partners. This is an obvious convenience, but it can also help protect your practice.
• ACH reduces the chance of check fraud, as lost and stolen checks are eliminated and there is less potential for the introduction of counterfeit checks, stolen checks, washed checks, altered amounts or forged signatures.
• According to directdeposit.org, the -likelihood of having a problem with a check is 20 times greater than with ACH direct deposits.
Finally, there is the option of remote deposit. This capability allows users to scan checks from their desktop and present an electronic version to their bank for deposit at their convenience. And one of the biggest advantages of this tool is keeping deposit information safe. Managing deposits in-house allows you to keep your practice’s financial information secure because it never leaves the office. All information is protected with encryption technology for the best security over the Internet.
Indeed, as optometrists and health care providers know better than anyone, technology has revolutionized the way care is -delivered.
And just as you work to keep your skills sharp by learning and implementing the latest innovations in patient care, your back office operations should also keep pace with modern improvements. By using technology to protect your practice, you virtually guarantee your ability to continue to provide that care into the future.
Christopher Kane is vice president and commercial banking officer at Pacific Continental Bank. Scott Beard is executive vice president and director of health care lending at Pacific Continental Bank. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.