Ambulatory surgery clinics, hospitals, and providers nationwide are dealing with a variety of revenue cycle management challenges. Many of these obstacles are incited by the increase in consumerism with additional emphasis on patient satisfaction and the transition to value-based payment models.
Because of the factors in healthcare policy changes in recent years, patients are being forced to become more involved in their care. Consumers have ultimately become the new payer as the high-deductible health plans continue to increase.
“The patient is becoming increasingly more demanding and increasingly more responsible for the cost of care.” – Keith Slater, vice president of business development at Change Healthcare
How is the hospital revenue cycle process involved in shaping the customer’s experience? Can providers improve patient satisfaction by leveraging revenue cycle management technology? Let’s take a deeper dive in an attempt to answer these important questions.
Increase Patient Satisfaction by Improving the Financial Experience
During a recent executive roundtable at Becker’s 8th Annual Meeting, Matias Klein, vice president of product management at Change Healthcare, explains that consumerism in hospitals is being driven by the mandated transition to value-based care. The result is that patients are expecting a more retail-like experience from healthcare systems, providers, and hospitals, and organizations must adapt otherwise their finances may suffer.
While the overall patient experience is critical, one are that leaves the biggest impact on this outcome is billing and payment. According to Mr. Slater, who was also present at the roundtable discussion, “If the bill a patient gets isn’t what they expect…that could be the last impression they have of your organization. You can’t not look at the process.”
A recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review summarized the conclusions from the rountable discussion on how to accomplish greater satisfaction by improving the revenue cycle process. The two main tips derived from the discussion included:
- Healthcare organizations need to set clear payment expectations upfront, to leave the patient without surprise later. This is accomplished with open communication and smart use of access management revenue cycle technology such as pricing estimation prior to care and simple processes for bill payment that includes several options for payment collection (i.e. credit/debit card, cash. ACH payments, etc.). Modern Healthcare recently published an article with a focus on better patient billing practices, in which they state: “In an era when patient satisfaction and patient engagement matters, billing has emerged as a major factor driving the lasting impressions that will determine if that person decides to use that provider again.”
- Using data analytics to implement meaningful changes and improvements in processes. It’s important for providers to take a deeper look at patient behaviors and preferences in order to improve the customer experience, and data analytics makes this possible. According to Klein, “If you don’t have good analytics, you can’t predict behavior and you can’t improve patient experience.