Most conversations in India over the past month have been singularly about one thing and one thing alone – ‘demonetisation’. Many of us have indulged in long drawn conversation about the effects of this move – Some accepted it. Some battled it. But at the end of it all, most of us have taken this move in our stride having understood the reason behind this move – to curb hoarding of black money and end the shadow economy. Before dismissing this blog as ‘another blog on demonetisation’ let’s make our intent clear. Our intent here is not to analyse this move but instead, take a look at how some of the busiest people in our country, our doctors, can manage their finances in the wake of intense scrutiny.
Doctors, especially those who run their own private practice and at the same time, consult with a multitude of hospitals always need to ensure that their financial books are in an organised shape. With the move of demonetisation, it now has become imperative that every transaction is accounted for. Given that the doctors are already spent for the time managing their busy schedules, practices, and patient engagements, it becomes all the more imperative to follow good finance management practices to avoid undue scrutiny.
Doctors today have to ensure that they have a comprehensive revenue management strategy for their practice. Whether it is the hospital that they are linked with or a private practice, it is essential that all transactions are listed out and documented correctly. However, it would be unrealistic to expect doctors who are already running against the clock to be able to manage this along with the work that they are already doing. Leveraging technology and implementing an electronic health management system that easily records and captures all patient related information, services provided and revenue generated is a good place to start in the demonetisation era.
Information management is essential for good financial management at this time. All patient related information needs to be filed and documented properly for easy access at the time of assessments. Along with patient information, doctors also need to ensure that all the transactions with vendors, nurses, staff, technician and all other ancillary incomes, expenditures and outflows such as salaries etc. are itemised and enumerated. Proper documentation of transactions with diagnostic centres and laboratories, medical stores etc. also becomes essential in this economic climate.
Clear Accounting Practices
The one thing that doctors have to have in place is an effective billing system. Many doctor’s practices do not have clear and documented collection processes in place. A proper billing system will not only record the transaction that has been processed but will also account for all information related to billing such as insurance claims and denials, proper listing of aging claims, method and mode of payment collection from patients, bad debts and doctor referral charges and fees etc. Having clear accounting practices and adhering to all compliance norms also has become mandatory in this battle against the shadow economy. Inflows from clinics, endorsements, referral fees, consultation fees, daily transactions, and outflows, all have to be properly documented for the taxman given the increased scrutiny on taxation, end of the year audits and increased emphasis on maintaining regulatory compliance.
The demonetisation drive also places an increased emphasis on electronic payments for record management and transaction tracking. Given that at the present time most people are looking for cashless options for making transactions, providing secure ePayment options to patients to make the transaction process easier and seamless becomes imperative for doctors.
In view of the changing dynamics of the day, doctors, thus, need to have a solution that will help them monitor and manage their finances well and with ease. While hiring external resources is one solution, doctors can also leverage technology to ensure that the day to day financial management happens seamlessly. Having said that, the technology solution has to be easy to access and to use and should allow the doctor to focus on the most important subject – the patient. Using a comprehensive smartphone application, like the MARSPLUS app, that is simple to use and does not demand great technical expertise, allows easy practice and financial management –anytime and from anywhere. It can become the doctors’ best friend to help them navigate the choppy waters of the demonetisation era.