How Technology Can Reduce Call Volume Bottlenecks
Appointment scheduling can be a chaotic and sometimes messy process for many community hospitals. Think about all the pre-registration activity that occurs with every appointment:
- Scheduling staff members to check insurance eligibility
- Verifying pre-authorizations
- Confirming Medicare or Medicaid
- Checking to see if an appointment is medically necessary
Meanwhile, hospital staff are also trying to juggle inbound scheduling calls and payment or missing information inquiries.
The Call Volume Impact
YourCare ContinuumTM works to reduce the amount of time your staff spends on the phone, time which could be better spent on vital pre-registration activities. It can be hard to focus on core tasks when the phone is ringing off the hook, meaning things can fall through the cracks, such as patients being scheduled for medically unnecessary appointments or other care that is not reimbursable for that hospital.
Take lab work, for example: If a procedure isn’t covered, a hospital may choose to absorb the cost. However, when it comes to more resource intensive procedures like MRIs, which may be too expensive to cover, reimbursement errors due to scheduling mistakes can quickly sour the patient experience and have a negative effect on their overall perception of that hospital system.
In addition to the reimbursement issue, turning patients away can hurt a hospital’s image and lowers patient satisfaction, by creating a confusing and inconvenient healthcare experience.
The Benefits of Call Reducing Technology
While the inherent difficulties of call volume management are significant, YourCare Continuum addresses many of those problems by reducing the need to place a call in the first place—on both the patient and staff ends. When scheduling a call is unavoidable, the high level of visualization offered by an electronic solution usually means less time on the phone.
Reducing the need to call and cutting down on call times have residual benefits that directly impact your bottom-line and community perception—improved reimbursement through clarity and increased patient satisfaction through convenience.
A 2017 research paper on the hospital of the future from Deloitte discusses how digital technologies effectively address obstructions in the short term, explaining that transforming the experience at discharge, where “hospitals frequently stumble … particularly when it comes to efficiency and patient satisfaction,” can help community hospitals solve for this central scheduling bottleneck.
Breaking Down Bottlenecks
During the clinical discharge process, critical medical and financial information can be automatically shared with a hospital’s system, effectively eliminating the need for a series of calls to set appointments.
The future of technology in the electronic health record world is bright. Digital solutions that can incrementally improve call volume management for a community hospital already exist. In fact, YourCare Continuum allows clinics to help patients set appointments without making phone calls, decreases call volumes, and enables central scheduling staff to spend more time on crucial pre-registration activities.