Medical Billing Book Review: If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 1/2 Things You Would Do Differently

Fred Lee, the author of If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9.5 Things you would do differently, has great story-telling talent and a unique combination of first-hand experience working at hospitals and Disney. This book compares the workflows and cultures at both and teaches us how to design modern hospital patient interactions for success. It turns out that his lessons are directly applicable to my physical therapy billing software business.

Whenever a medical billing service owner comes to me for “billing software” they usually mean software to manage what they had. I, on the other had, want to understand how their service is designed and delivered and what the practice owner (their customer) and the patient (their customer’s customer) would expect. It seems to me that if the billing service is sub-par, outdated, or not profitable, we should consider redesigning it before automating it. I believe that the worst you can do to a poorly delivered service is to scale it up and exacerbate an already negative customer experience by delivering it faster to more customers. This often does not sit well with billing service owners who see my expertise limited to selling my software and see my questions about their business approach and growth, compliance, and convenience as needlessly intrusive.

You would think that a billing service owner has a much more difficult customer than Disney; the risk of client loss is higher; the medical billing environment is much more complex with many more non-standard situations. At Disney, the customers start our happy and excited instead of upset and underpaid. They stand in lines but not worried about their insurance claims, patient referrals, or compliance. They take a ride that’s duplicated a million times while every new payer is a unique experience. Meanwhile practice operations, technology, and legal costs are growing. Disney looks like a picnic compared to the nightmare the billing and practice managers face every day in a hostile payer environment over which we have very little of the kind of control we would have at Disney.

This book is practical and profound. Instantly useful.