The five factors that affect a project are commonly categorized as scope, time, cost, risk, and quality. Analysis of these five categories will guide a project to completion. However, they weave in and out of each other so frequently that it is often difficult to observe each category exclusively or objectively.
First, a project may be selected due to a problem that faces a business. The problem is then addressed according to the five factors of project constraint as addressed above. In her book, Schwalbe provides an example of a problem. She writes, “problems are undesirable situations that prevent an organization from achieving its goals. These problems can be current or anticipated. For example, if a bridge in a major city collapses, that problem must be addressed as soon as possible. If a bridge is known to need repairs to prevent a collapse, a project should be initiated soon to take care of it” (56). In other words, Schwalbe suggests that the bigger a problem, the more important the project. When a problem is addressed and a project is selected, then other factors will be taken into account.
With web-based project management, problems are much easier to address, and the shift from problem to project is much more efficient. For one, the problem is communicated faster. Secondly, because project details, documents, etc, are stored on a single web-based all-accessible system, project managers can collaborate with each other, offer feedback, and always know what resources are available. Additionally, the executive-level can view the company’s problems as a whole, and more informed decisions can be made.
From Opportunity to Project
Second, a project may be selected as business opportunities arise. Schwalbe writes that “opportunities are chances to improve the organization. For example, a company might want to revamp its website to attract more visitors to the site” (56). When an opportunity arises in which a project is created, then the analysis of project scope, time, cost, etc. follows.
Perhaps the most important thing with addressing opportunities in web-based project management is that the very network itself creates more opportunities. Similar to such social networking sites as LinkedIn and Facebook, companies using web-based project management can connect to the collective intelligence within their workforce and begin correlating, collaborating, and communicating at such a speed that new opportunities for projects can happen daily.
- Saves time – Development of new technology has automated so many processes previously dependent upon employee data entry that incredible amounts of time can be saved.
Just imagine the time saved alone in not having to enter payments. The jobs can now be scanned and converted to an 837 file that electronically enters the insurance payments and automatically bills the secondary insurance carrier or the patient.
- Saves money – With so many time-saving advantages of web-based software we were able to take on extra accounts without increasing our payroll. We put our employees to much more productive work. Web-based software can also save the upfront costs of purchasing a server-based software along with the required licensing, support, and updates. The web-based program we decided on charges one small monthly fee.
- Eliminates many errors that create rework. The automated methods used with the newest web-based software take many jobs that were once entered manually by billers and now eliminate human errors through automation.
- Works in “Real-Time” – When you are used to working on a static server-based software you have no say in updating a process until a new version is released which you must purchase if you want to be able to update to these new requirements. This can be a problem when you have an outdated code you want to change or there are new requirements such as the NPI numbers, addition of taxonomy codes, or changes to the workers’ comp form.
- Claims scrubbing – Claims scrubbing can go well beyond just letting you know that a patient’s birth date is missing. One small example of how helpful an effective claims scrubber can be is when a chiropractor bills a claim to Medicare where Medicare requires the AT modifier.
- Capable of billing UB04 forms as well as CMS 1500 forms – Small facilities such as rehab clinics and mobile surgery centers are sometimes required to submit their claims on UB04 forms, depending on if they are credentialed as a facility or a provider with the insurance carrier.
- ICD9 and CPT codes preloaded for your specialty – Our server-based medical billing software did not have the codes preloaded. We were constantly adding diagnosis codes and unfortunately, some invalid diagnosis codes were added. When an invalid code was used, usually the claim was denied for invalid diagnosis code. The claim was then corrected and resubmitted – a good example of the rework I was talking about earlier.
- Automatic insurance company updates – You don’t have to keep up with insurance company address changes or electronic payer numbers for your clearinghouse. Our favorite web-based software preloaded all insurance companies that could go electronically with the correct payer number. If a carrier changes their payer ID# it is automatically updated by the web-based software.
- Eliminates need for accounting software – A billing service finds the need for accounting software like Quickbooks to keep track of billing their providers for their services. With the new technology, a billing service can now bill their providers, print statements, send past due notices, run reports, and enter payments all in the web-based system eliminating the need for Quickbooks.
- Multiple practices, eligibility, and electronic submissions at no extra cost – This makes a huge difference to a billing service.