There is no perfect solution for enterprises that suffer from patient access breakdowns because every healthcare facility and hospital experience their own set of challenges, pain points, and diverse populations. Here are a few questions to ask to help fix some breakdowns in your workflow:
- Have you received complaints from patients about limited appointment availability or had requests to extend office hours?
- Are long appointment wait times normal, or does this happen only on occasion?
- Has patient leakage become an issue within your facility? Have you noticed any direct impacts to your revenue as a result of patient leakages?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it may be time to consider ways to smooth your patient access workflow. As healthcare providers, you know that the patient experience begins as soon as a patient enters your door. The decision to centralize patient access is often a provider’s first significant step toward enhancing overall patient satisfaction and driving patient loyalty—a critical move as the industry continues its transition to value-based system of care.
Although there is no silver bullet that can easily solve providers’ patient access issues, several proven strategies can help protect the integrity of your enterprise.
Three Solutions to Address Patient Access Bottlenecks
- Prepare ahead of time. Repeat this mantra over and over again: “If something can be done ahead of time, do it.” In terms of preparation, this relatively simple strategy can radically transform the efficiency and accuracy of your patient accounting system. Ensuring patient data is correct can reduce the risk of time-consuming errors, plus gathering data will give front-desk personnel time to validate and confirm prior authorizations or address patient questions before their arrival at the hospital.
- Make patient scheduling system-wide. A lost appointment, or even a referral that results in a patient no-show, can cost a hospital system an average of $210, according to the Healthcare Financial Management Association. As a result, the missed appointment may result in a worsened clinical outcome for the patient. Many facilities don’t have a systemwide application or tool to help them coordinate patient scheduling or improve data collection from patients. Relying on an outdated or paper-based system could be costing your facility even more than you realize.
- Collect payments upfront. Instituting upfront collections is critical to the fiscal health of your facility, as is implementing customer-focused processes and goals to ensure the success of your patient registration staff. Consider offering extended training when new processes emerge to help more veteran staff and train newer employees, or brainstorm for new ways to incentive staff into obtaining upfront co-pays, coinsurance collection and deductibles.
Ready to enhance patient access solutions at your hospital? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.800.383.6278 to speak with one of our specialists about how you can mitigate patient workflow problems unique to your healthcare facility with our Patient Access, Community Bridge solutions and MEDHOST Business Services.
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