Individual takes on healthcare issues from ABILITY leaders

How to Master Webside Skills for Telehealth Success

For many practices, a successful transition from in-person to online care is about much more than finding the right virtual care platform. It’s also critical to consider updated regulations regarding telehealth, patient access to and literacy of technology, and building webside manner skills.

Webside manner” is the technology-conscious approach to meeting with patients online. It’s a new skillset for many healthcare professionals across specialties and organizations – to share their medical knowledge via a computer or phone screen in a way that is simultaneously tech-savvy and mindful of the patient’s experience, while still delivering quality care.

For providers who are looking to get more comfortable practicing in a digital space, we’ve identified the top five tips to master webside manners.

1. Set the scene

It’s best to take all virtual appointments from the same place every day and to make sure the dedicated area is ready for an online meeting.

Take a look at the wall or backdrop behind you. Is there too much art hung up or items on a shelf that could be distracting to your patients? Are there bright colors, big windows or moving objects? Any of these things can take away from your virtual meeting simply by being in the background.

The ideal setting for a telehealth appointment is one where there are no more than a few items visible to the camera other than yourself. This ensures you are the focus, not the art, plants or books behind you.

2. Know your angles

Once you’ve identified the best place in your home or practice to conduct telehealth visits, it’s good to know where to place yourself in relation to the camera.

Too close can be a little awkward or intimidating. You don’t want your face to take up your patients’ entire screen in their view. Too far and you become less of their focus and risk sound quality if the microphone can’t easily pick up your voice.

The best place to be in relation to the camera is centered, about a foot away. Also make sure that you are not backlit; it’s better to have lighting in front of you so that your face and expressions are clear. Avoid backlighting or dim lighting.

3. Take your time

In addition to pre-visit preparations, remember to take your time during each session. Patients are navigating this new setup, too. Those seeking mental health may have heightened levels of anxiety or stress. Elderly patients may need a little coaching on how to work the virtual meeting tool you’re using. Children may have trouble focusing and those who are caregivers for others may have many questions throughout the session.

Everyone is navigating this new setting together. While most patients and their families will be comfortable using the technology, many people may wonder if they’ll receive the same level of care they’ve come to expect. Give each patient your full attention throughout the session, be mindful of their unique needs and make the conversation more than just a medical assessment.

4. Practice and train

If you have a comfortable background, good angles and enough time for each patient, you may just need a bit of practice. Getting better at running a telehealth visit is like any other skill – it improves with repetition.

Once you’re satisfied with your telehealth skillset, share it with others. Take time to walk your scheduler, admin and/or biller through the platform you’re using. Show them the whole process. While some aspects of the visit may be more pertinent to their responsibilities, having a general understanding of your overall telehealth processes will be helpful for everyone in your practice as virtual visits become more widely used.

5. Continue to improve

We understand it can be challenging to be both the care provider and the producer or tech support for telehealth. Even with an easy-to-use virtual care platform, there will be learning opportunities that continue to arise as you, your patients and your staff get more comfortable with telehealth.

As such, your webside skills will evolve. The more you use telehealth and establish simple processes from scheduling to capturing payment for virtual visits, the more confident you’ll be in not just the medical assessment you provide, but in the way which you’re caring for patients.

For support in establishing a successful, stress-free telehealth experience, connect with our team to make your virtual visits the best they can be.

Avoid postal delays with paperless claims and statements

The U.S. Postal Service is experiencing delays in mail delivery across the country. At the same time, Americans everywhere – especially vulnerable populations, such as elderly people and those living with comorbidities – are being asked to stay home. As a result, many of your patients have very real anxiety over when (or whether) they’ll receive their medications.

According to a recent article from NPR, “Nationally, an Ipsos poll found that 1 in 5 Americans got medication through the mail in the past week, and 1 in 4 of them experienced a delay or nondelivery.”1 And patients aren’t the only ones impacted by lagging deliveries. Commercial and private mail services have been affected, creating concerns for small and medium-sized businesses that rely on mail delivery services.2

If your organization relies on paper claims submissions and patient statements, you could be facing longer A/R days and more work resubmitting lost claims. Likewise, with delivery delays, paper statements and bills may not reach patients in a timely manner, making it more difficult to capture patient payments.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has told the U.S. Senate that the Postal Service will not implement any changes in service until after the election.1 This could mean that more delays are on the horizon. Even if you have not yet experienced issues with lost or late mail, upcoming changes to U.S. Postal Service delivery programs may lead to more delivery issues in the coming months.

So, what can you do? Instead of bracing yourself for longer days in A/R, why not take advantage of this time to go paperless? With the right technology, you can:

  • Give patients the option to receive their statements online via email
  • Electronically upload claims attachments
  • Submit claims online instead of by mail

Want to learn more about applications that can help you accelerate A/R and avoid postal delays? Read about ABILITY CHOICE All-Payer Claims and ABILITY EASE All-Payer, or request a demo today.



  1. “Postal Service Slowdowns Cause Dangerous Delays In Medication Delivery,” Paige Pfleger, NPR, August 25, 2020. Accessed September 10, 2020,
  2. “Are postal service delays hampering small business?” KTTN News, August 13, 2020. Accessed September 10, 2020,

ABILITY and design®, ABILITY®, CHOICE® and ABILITY EASE® are trademarks of ABILITY Network, Inc.

Insurance discovery: The revenue recovery tool your organization needs

For many healthcare organizations, strong financial performance requires more than clean claims and efficient patient payment processes. A commitment to efficiency, accuracy and ongoing innovation are also essential for a healthy bottom line.

To help capture every dollar earned, many healthcare leaders are adding coverage discovery software to their revenue cycle management toolbox. When executed well, this can lead to better financial outcomes – just one of the many benefits possible with an effective discovery approach.

The following is a closer look at three key results available by implementing a strong coverage determination strategy.

Maximize reimbursements

It’s no secret that having multiple streams of income supports positive financial performance. By better identifying additional billable insurance coverage from third-party payers, providers can create an innovative new way to realize revenue.

To best leverage this channel, it’s worth going beyond the traditional practice of tracking down missed revenue opportunities manually after the point-of-service. Instead, a technology-driven approach can uncover missed insurance on self-pay patients, charity or bad debt in a more simple, effective way.

In fact, providers using ABILITY COMPLETE Coverage Discovery, on average, receive an additional 20% of insurance identification1 to maximize reimbursements. They’re better able to identify additional coverage for Medicaid, Medicare and commercially insured patients, capitalizing on both primary and secondary coverage to most accurately bill for – and receive – payment.

Simplify the intake process

As beneficial as coverage discovery can be for recovering bad debt, it’s also effective for front-end improvements. When staff is better equipped to identify all applicable coverage – primary and secondary, public or commercial – the lifecycle of each claim is likely to be shorter and smoother.

Additionally, the time that would have been spent re-working each inaccurate claim or tracking down the potentially lost revenue afterward, is now saved.

Improve the patient experience

By easing the financial burden on patients, better coverage determination allows healthcare providers to improve the overall care experience.

Identifying coverage helps providers create relief for patients who may be dealing with personal financial challenges. It’s a welcomed addition, considering 14% of Americans live in a household facing challenges with paying healthcare bills2 and an estimated 39% of Americans aren’t able to pay a $400 emergency expense without taking out a loan.3

Take the first step to better results

When viewed holistically, effective insurance discovery is about much more than improving short-term finances. It’s a strategic method to ensure better long-term outcomes across your entire organization, from care delivery to revenue cycle management

To learn how ABILITY COMPLETE Coverage Discovery can help your organization succeed, contact our team at 866.662.0512.


1ABILITY internal reporting; average of customer results.
2 “Problems Paying Medical Bills, 2018,” Amy E. Cha and Robin A. Cohen, National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, February 2020,
3 “2 ways hospitals can help Covid-19 patients with their bills (without suspending billing),” Rachel Matthews, Advisory Board, March 30, 2020,


ABILITY and design®, ABILITY® are trademarks of ABILITY Network, Inc.

Observations from Two Days of FHIR

By Jimmy Lu, Senior Software Engineer

I’ve always known FHIR was going to be a powerful tool in interoperability in healthcare, but it wasn’t until I arrived at FHIR Connectathon 16 in San Diego a few weeks ago that it really cemented itself in my mind. The FHIR Connectathon is a development program that brings together FHIR spec-creators, implementers, and aficionados to explore interoperability via live-testing scenarios. Read more

ABILITY joins CommonWell Health Alliance to support interoperability of data

Today, health data that is not readily available is either not utilized by providers – leading to gaps in the patient’s care history – or relies on patients to manage it individually by asking providers to deliver it manually to other providers. Lack of data across care providers can also lead to duplication of testing and treatment, creating an inefficient and expensive experience, which can harm patient care. Read more

Medicare analytics

5 ways to use analytics to improve the Medicare RCM workflow

The Medicare fee-for-service payment model continues to undergo significant changes, making it extremely difficult for healthcare organizations to accurately predict their Medicare reimbursement levels. In response, healthcare providers have started using a number of new technologies—you’ve probably heard buzzwords like “big data” and “predictive analytics”—to positively impact their revenue cycle. Read more

Providers large and small feel challenges of interoperability

There were two clear themes at HIMSS this year: interoperability and reducing readmissions. Acute and post-acute providers are busy putting frameworks into place to make sure they’re preparing for these challenges.
Read more

Responding efficiently to scrutiny of claims

Responding to ADRs can be incredibly time-consuming. At ABILITY, we’ve found that approximately 50 percent of organizations are still using paper to transmit medical documentation to their MACs. Read more

Exciting Growth at ABILITY

Thank you to Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges; Cecile Bedor from the Greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership; Kevin McKinnon, from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development; and Elyse Ruiz, representing U. S. Senator Amy Klobuchar.  We had a great event celebrating our partnership with Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota to support our growth and  leadership in healthcare. The ceremony “cut the ribbon” on our new 8,500 sq. ft. expansion in our Minneapolis office. All our special guests assisted with the $500K job incentive package that is helping fuel the growth of ABILITY as we create over 170 jobs over the next 2-3 years.

Bud Meadows

Celebrating Customer Service Week

Today marks the beginning of Customer Service Week! If you are unfamiliar with this tradition, we at ABILITY believe it’s worth sharing. Customer Service Week has been a nationally recognized event since a congressional proclamation in 1992, and is now observed by thousands of organizations around the world. Read more