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How Annual Wellness Visits (AWVs) Drive Practice Transformation

Doctor & Patient During AWV

If you search the term “Practice Transformation” you will get millions of results from all over the industry. The suggestions vary widely, and each association has their own beliefs as to what really drives practice transformation.

True practice transformation comes down to a few key items:

  • Improving patient outcomes
  • Decreasing costs
  • Increasing and stabilizing revenue
  • Improving culture and employee engagement

Generally speaking, most transformational initiatives will fall into one of the categories listed above. Some initiatives will meet several of these categories at once. Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) initiatives are one of the few that can help drive changes across several categories.

AWV programs include proactive outreach to a defined set of patients to schedule, perform and document an AWV. It sounds simple but when implemented appropriately it can reach very deeply within the practice.

Here are two examples:

  1. Patient Demographic Updates – During the proactive outreach to schedule patients, there is a structured set of patient demographic data that is reviewed and updated. Performing this review takes little time but provides the following benefits:
    1. Increased accuracy of insurance information and therefore, decreased error rate on claims submitted. This results in timelier claims payment and an improved revenue cycle.
    2. Increased accuracy of patient base – patients who are deceased, have moved, etc. are updated in the practice management (PM) system. This, in turn, improves the accuracy of the quality reports and the patients listed in the denominator for quality metrics.
    3. Updated pharmacy information and care team information increases the information the physician has available during the appointment. This can lead to decreased errors in prescribing, a greater understanding of comorbidities, and reduced frustration with clinical staff that is submitting referrals or refills at the physician’s direction.
    4. Ease front desk burden – since the patient’s information has already been updated the check-in time is significantly reduced. In addition, the accuracy of the patient’s insurance information is no longer solely reliant upon the front desk. The front desk of every practice is interrupted all day long with phones, fax machines, patients, doctors, clinical staff, and more. Easing their burden and moving the most critical financial intake away from the most distracted staff huge to both the revenue cycle and the employees.
  2. Preventive Services Notifications – During the scheduling of patients, there is a quick review performed of the patient’s preventive services and immunizations. Services that should be performed during the visit are flagged for the physician.
    1. Maximize revenue – many times preventive services are not completed simply due to oversight in the room. By flagging these services ahead of the visit, the physician can capture the maximum revenue in the room.
    2. Early identification – as the name suggests, preventive services are designed to prevent serious conditions. In addition, performing preventive services can also help to identify conditions much earlier then if they are not performed. Early identification of conditions can lead to reduced complications, reduced hospitalizations, and overall quality of life improvement for the patients.

These are two examples of how to build far reaching methods into an AWV program. With only two examples the following is evident:  improved patient outcomes, decreased costs, increased revenue, and employee benefit.

Now imagine the reach of the AWV program when including intake services ahead of time like medication reconciliations and health risk assessments performed before the patient comes in. Imagine what this program looks like when it includes program enrollment into other practice services like diabetes education programs and chronic care management (CCM). Imagine what this program looks like when the AWV is completed with a wrap-up call and patient survey.

The data provided here isn’t just helping provide revenue and it isn’t just helping the patient. A well-implemented AWV program can transform your practice.  As the industry shifts from fee-for-service (FFS) to value-based programs, AWV programs can be a bridge to success.


To assess patient retention in your clinic, take the following steps:

 #1 Run a report to determine how many patients are listed as active (seen in the last 3 years)

#2 Run a report to determine how many of the above patients were seen in the last 12 months

 

Now is the time to act. Retain your patients, improve their outcomes, and get your practice on the path to value.

 

For more information look at our e-book on Increasing Revenue & Avoiding Penalties Through Value-Based Care Delivery.

 

 

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