May 24, 2013 6:33 am
Building a well-structured site is an art that should be based on strong scientific strategies to give you the desired business success. However, in our quest to find the best linking strategies we tend to look more outward rather than inward. Have you ever thought how internal linking can be strategically utilized to make your site a success? If you haven’t, it’s time you considered this effective though often ignored tactic.
Internal linking involves adding links from your own content. This SEO technique helps to establish site architecture and spread link juice.
Finding the Best in Your Website
“Best” can be defined as those website pages that give you maximum revenue. Once you have identified them, the next step is to link them to other pages you want to promote. This acts as indicators which tell search engine crawlers that those pages are important. It helps channelize the vital link juice to the right spots. Though building internal links might be tedious, you will find that it’s in every way worth the effort.
Help Visitors Go to Key Pages Using Main Navigation
You can skillfully use your main navigation to direct users to go to the key pages, by adding keyword rich links. A simple method is placing your most important pages at the top of the list. You should remember though that Google recommends not using more than 100 links on any page. A page usually gets only one link and adding more than one link doesn’t give your SEO any additional spike.
Internal Linking via Breadcrumb Navigation
Adding keywords in your breadcrumb navigation or sub-navigation is a wonderful internal linking strategy. Remember how Hansel and Gretel used breadcrumbs to navigate back to their homes? That’s exactly the intent of using breadcrumb navigation when it comes to large websites. But you can go one step ahead and also utilize the right keywords, making it a better and more effective trail line for your traffic to find your most profitable pages.
The Good Old Sidebars – a Great Way to Link
YouTube has made the best ever use of sidebars. It is a good old fashioned way of linking up the important pages. When the sidebars are prioritized based on related content, with good stuff staked above and presented in a format that is eye-catching but not overshadowing the main content, it helps to enhance the linking.
Internal link building is an underrated technique that has tremendous potential. In fact, many experts have pointed out that it is one of the most overlooked SEO techniques. Make sure that your SEO marketing gives this strategy due importance. Your SEO provider should utilize internal linking techniques effectively to give you the desired edge against competitor websites.
May 22, 2013 9:24 am
Social media has influenced every walk of life. Everybody from a housewife to a high profile business executive relies on Google search to find the information they need. People depend on online sources for information related to healthcare check ups, and many medical websites and forums provide really useful information and guidance from expert physicians.
According to a study put together by Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group on how social media influencing healthcare reveals interesting information:
- More than 90% of people ages 18-24 said they would trust health related information on social media sites. In 2012, about 31% of adults searched for health information on their smartphone.
- Up to 44% of the patients who depend on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media forums for health related data say that they would share their experience in a medical establishment such as a hospital or a clinic, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. Forty-two percent said they wouldn’t hesitate to post comments about a physician, doctor, nurse or healthcare service provider on social media sites.
- More than 60% of doctors are of the view that the quality of healthcare can be improved through social media.
Doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers stand to gain a lot from social media when patients give positive feedback and good reviews. However, they must be very careful when posting or sharing health related information on social media sites. Sensitive healthcare information should be kept private and confidential in accordance with HIPAA laws.
It’s clear that hospitals and medical practices should harness the power of social and mobile to build relationships with their prospective and current patients. Leading outsourcing companies offer a full array of social media optimization services and mobile app services to help healthcare facilities build their online image and reputation.
May 20, 2013 5:06 am
There is an increasing focus on the quality of care, whether its prevention, early diagnosis of illness, or therapeutic services. HEDIS ((Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set), created by NCQA (National Committee for Quality Assurance) grew of the need to improve the level of care. HEDIS is currently the most widely used set of performance measures in the managed care industry.
Adherence to these performance measures is important for both payers and providers. A managed care plan that complies with the NCQA norms is an indication of its quality and value. To receive credit and reimburse claims for the well-care HEDIS measure, physicians’ practices need to code services provided using the right CPT® and ICD-9 codes.
HEDIS includes 75 quality measures across 8 domains of care. For 2013, Medicare Advantage Organizations (MAOs) and other relevant organizations must submit audited, summary-level HEDIS data for plan services covered in 2012 (the measurement year) to NCQA. Ensuring compliance before the June 13, 2013 deadline can be quite challenging. You would need to have a big team of certified and experienced coders working on your project. Whether you are a payer or physician, the best way to enhance payment integrity, appropriate coding, and proper reimbursement, is to entrust the task to an experienced service provider. A professional company can help you resolve your NCQA compliance challenges by first mobilizing and aggregating all the relevant clinical data. All relevant procedures are accurately coded using ICD-9 or CPT codes to ensure complete and accurate claims.
Sometimes, appropriate services are provided but not captured by claims data due to improper coding or failure to submit a claim for rendered services. The right service provider can overcome such issues with professional HEDIS medical chart reviews. Partnering with the right HEDIS coding company can definitely increase the volume of claim data.
May 17, 2013 7:08 am
Based on an official statement by the American Medical Association (AMA), Medicare will be accepting care coordination CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) codes to compensate for the management of patients who are recently discharged from a healthcare facility such as a hospital.
The AMA has created the new medical codes 99495 and 99496 based on various suggestions made by experts in the healthcare community. These codes will permit the effective reporting of the time spent on care plan discussion, involving patients in community services, transferring them from inpatient settings and avoiding readmissions.
To support physicians who are engaged in emerging healthcare models such as patient-centric medical homes, and accountable care organizations, the AMA called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) last year to adopt new medical codes to cover and support these emerging patient-care services. According to AMA, Medicare accepting these new care coordination codes signifies the importance of the services these codes cover in improving the overall quality of healthcare. It recognizes the importance of the services involved in helping patients transition from one healthcare setting to another, as well as the work of physicians working in emerging models of care.
Correct awareness of these new codes is necessary when carrying out medical coding activities. Physicians can approach a reliable medical coding company that has skilled and experienced coding professionals to provide solutions that will ideally meet your coding requirements. They will assign the codes correctly to the appropriate care coordination services ensuring accurate reimbursement. To complete the assigned task within the deadline with high accuracy and quality, they utilize state-of-the-art technologies and are proficient in ICD-9-CM, CPT, and HCPCS codes and standards, insurance and governmental regulatory requirements, and payer-specific coding.
May 15, 2013 8:41 am
More and more people are literally taking their health into hands as they use their digital mobile devices to look for healthcare information and purchase medical services. Medical web browsing is making the healthcare experience more convenient and personalized. A recent study points out that there are already 13,000 medical mobile applications available and that the global mobile medical market will be worth $38 billion by 2016. So this is indeed the right time for healthcare providers to optimize their medical websites for mobile digital devices.
- A mobile medical website helps to remove geographical barriers so that healthcare providers can interact with their patients from anywhere.
- Your patients do not face time restrictions or time barriers to schedule appointments and wait in queue for visits. Smartphones and quality medical mob apps allow you to provide quick diagnosis. You can also get expert opinions from peers wherever you are.
- Mobile medical websites help monitor your patient’s health continuously and also ensures an insight into the patient’s well-being.
- Including an online map and driving directions in your mobile website helps patients to easily locate your hospital and the place of your practice.
- A well structured and organized medical mobile website has the potential to attract more targeted visitors and convert these visitors to potential patients.
The best solution is to find a professional healthcare business process outsourcing company that designs mobile medical websites and medical apps. The right firm would offer customized solutions at affordable rates to streamline the usability of your website and attract more targeted traffic.
May 13, 2013 6:39 am
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions among healthcare service providers about the functioning of the RAC (Recovery Audit Contractors). The RAC system was created to help CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to identify improper payments by government insurance programs.
The AMA (American Medical Association) has pushed to introduce reforms to the fee structure, leading to many improvements. The AMA continues its efforts to reduce the load of the RAC audits on physicians.
In December 2012, CMS published a list of myths that physicians had about the functioning of RACs. The purpose of this publication was to dispel the fear and do away with the misconceptions about RAC auditors.
Accurate medical code is necessary to avoid RAC (Recovery Audit Contractors) audits. Other ways physicians and healthcare practices can steer clear of the unfavorable audit net are:
- They can begin by auditing their billing or coding department, billing service, and third-party vendor. Billing and coding service providers would be glad to get their work audited, and if they are not, it could be an indication that something is wrong.
- Avoid overcoding and undercoding. Overcoding would certainly lead to an RAC audit while undercoding can affect your revenues. A professional medical billing and coding company can help you avoid these undesirable issues.
- Payers such as Medicare have separate guidelines to reimburse midlevel providers (MLPs). Practices that use physician assistants or nurse practitioners to provide patient care should be aware of these rules.
With reliable medical billing and coding services, there would be no reason for the healthcare facilities to fear RAC audits. A professional service provider would have coding specialists with extensive and up-to-date knowledge of compliance with CMS requirements.
May 10, 2013 7:34 am
Affordable Care Act or Obama HealthCare will provide tax credits to the low/middle-income group of Americans, thus helping them purchase insurance through state-run insurance exchanges. The coverage will be effective from January 2014. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that by the year 2016, at least 24 million people will get insurance through the state-run exchanges, and another 12 million will continue to get individual coverage outside of them.
The new form released this week for individuals who want to apply for coverage from private insurers is only around three pages long. This is a remarkable improvement compared to the 21 page draft version introduced earlier this year. The revised application requires individuals to provide information such as social security number, citizenship, job and income details, and current health coverage. The information provided will be cross checked by other federal agencies.
The second important aspect the form takes into consideration is, filing based on need basis. So if you want to apply for family coverage then you have to fill out the 11 page application with additional details. If you don’t need any financial assistance, then a four page form is what you need to fill up and you don’t have to disclose your income either.
These forms are the latest attempt to make the state-based health insurance exchanges ready for open enrollment from October 1 of this year. Consumers can submit the required information via the paper forms, by phone or online and get a quick response (within a week or two) as to whether they are eligible for the expanded Medicaid coverage. If they are eligible, the responses will also explain what kind of subsidies applicants qualify for.
The form released will be used in the 33 states with federally managed exchanges. The other 17 states that chose to design their own exchanges will also receive the form.
May 8, 2013 10:08 am
The latest reports from CNN IBN highlight that Affordable Care Act or Obamacare will provide health insurance subsidies to millions of Americans next year. The report is based on the analysis carried out by a consumer advocacy group named Families USA. According to them, about 26 million citizens are eligible for Obamacare subsidies. Most of these individuals will be from working families with an annual income between $47,100 and $94,200. Young adults in the age range 18 – 34 will comprise more than a third of the eligible group.
Now, let us take a look at the Affordable Care Act. As per this act, tax credits are allowed for low and middle income consumers who purchase health coverage through insurance exchanges run by the state. Even though the enrollment will start in October, the coverage for insurance plans offered through state-run-exchanges will begin only in January. Those who want to buy individual plans can choose from four coverage levels namely Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. The premiums and expenses for these levels will be different from each other.
The federal subsidies will be attached to the cost of the corresponding insurance plan depending on the place where consumers live. Insurers will soon submit to the government details of their plans and premium costs to be offered in exchanges. The details will be revealed to the consumers during the enrollment in October. The estimation of Family USA is that if a family of four earns $94,200 and purchases a ‘Silver’ plan carrying $12,500 annual premium, then they can get a subsidy of $3,550. As a result, the cost of premium will be limited to 9.5% of the family income.
People who do not have government health insurance (Medicaid or Medicare) or an affordable insurance plan may get help for paying their premiums according to this act. But, such kind of assistance is given for those having income up to four times the federal poverty level. Also, the subsidies for insurance plans will be paid directly to the relevant insurance company.
The Congress Budget Office estimates that about 6 million citizens will be able to claim subsidized coverage with an exchange next year. They also expect that it will grow to around 22 million by 2017. The government holds it mandatory for all Americans to carry health insurance as on January 1, 2014. Those who fail to do so will have to face financial penalties. It is predicted that uninsured people may prefer to pay the fines if coverage through the state exchanges turns out to be confusing or expensive. If fewer healthy individuals decide to enroll, the coverage will prove to be more expensive for everyone, especially in the light of the fact that most of the enrollees will then be individuals with greater medical necessities.
May 7, 2013 6:34 am
Change is in the air, and every soul in the healthcare industry can feel it. More patients are going to be covered under the healthcare reform law. But then, won’t it skew the ratio between patients and doctors? It will. A sudden rise in more patients will lead to physician shortage and mounting pressure on physicians to be more productive.
Now let’s consider another important change — the electronic health record (EHR). It’s a utopian concept that aims at systematic collection, organization and sharing of the health information of patients across different healthcare settings. When this ideal concept hits the plains of reality it turns into a physician’s nightmare. More patients and rigid templates are a perfect recipe for the degradation of documentation quality. And when this happens, you can also expect more delays and denials as regards medical claims.
The problem lies with the rigid templates of EHR with drop-down menus, check boxes and templates to enter information. This not only hampers physicians’ workflow but also takes away the flexibility to report complicated or unique conditions. Earlier, physicians just had to dictate the medical data, the transcribers would create transcripts for the same and everyone was happy.
Physicians need a viable choice, an alternative that would allow them to easily report the complicated circumstances. It should be flexible enough to enable them to take advantage of both the templates and dictation. This innovative model wherein dictation becomes partial can prove to be really advantageous. Physicians can enter certain types of information such as current medications, dosage etc. using the check boxes, templates and drop-down menus in the EHR, and dictate more detailed information such as patient history, treatment plan and such other facts. The virtues of EHR technology can thus be combined with traditional medical transcription or speech recognition for the best results.
The possibility of partial dictation will encourage physicians to adopt the EHR system because it retains the time-honored dictation method, which they are comfortable with. This can reduce their learning curve significantly and help ensure enhanced patient care. This unique system will also have a positive effect on healthcare documentation specialists who are experiencing layoffs and cutbacks. With their specialized documentation skills they can keep the pressure off the physicians’ backs and help in ensuring quality documentation and lesser claim rejections.
EHR indeed has many benefits for patients. But patients are not the only side to consider. There is an all important physician’s perspective too, that of the individuals who render the service. Without taking their interests into consideration, any change can be a namesake change only.
May 3, 2013 3:04 am
The healthcare industry is discovering the potential of search engine optimization (SEO). Just as any other industry, healthcare providers have realized that they need to be ‘seen’ online as most people now rely on the internet to research, find, purchase, and recommend healthcare services. The dominance of the Web has fuelled the popularity of email marketing, mobile apps, and social media marketing in the medical arena. Here are some of the new directions that healthcare marketing is taking in 2013.
- Quality content is a major element in SEO web design and this holds good for medical websites too. Most medical websites feature blogs, articles, ebooks and white papers but these have become commonplace, often failing to catch the interest of site visitors. Medical marketers are now adopting new tactics where they include pep up the optimized content with multimedia such as audio, video, animations, infographics, and images. This has greatly enhanced visitor experience.
- Search on smartphones and tablets have taken precedence over desktop search. So physicians are getting their websites optimized for visibility on digital mobile devices. Moreover, mobile apps are now being increasingly developed to enhance physician-patient interaction. Mobile apps can help contact patients via messages, reminders, appointment scheduling, and much more.
- Medical SEO professionals have now developed a new SEO strategy called retargeting which is used to target users with healthcare services in which they have shown interest. Retargeting tracks people who visited a particular website and displays your ads to them when surf other sites on the web. Medical professionals can use this to reinforce their brand and encourage their targeted traffic to return to their website.
Medical marketers in a professional medical SEO company are well aware of the current developments and trends in the industry and know how to utilize them in the best interests of their clients.