Healthcare organizations, like all businesses, face continued uncertainty as they navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A recent McKinsey & Company report on the “next normal” aptly states, “Clearly, the online world of contactless commerce could be bolstered in ways that reshape consumer behavior forever.” As we enter another wave of coronavirus infections and patient anxiety continues to increase, healthcare organizations need to provide ongoing reassurance. When up to 1 in 5 patients would switch providers for one that demonstrates better COVID-19 safety , providing touch-free processes has become more urgent.
One of the most visible processes that is ripe for change is patient pre-registration and intake. The standard paper-based process has long been a point of frustration for both patients and health system staff. Typically, patients are asked to arrive early for their appointment to fill out a clipboard full of forms. Even when the patient has already provided information during prior visits, they must still write in demographic and insurance information, fill out various forms and sign consents. Patients then make their payments at the registration desk or after the fact through a portal or by mail. Health system staff must then transcribe all the information from paper into the digital medical record, a process fraught with errors and omissions that slow down billing and reimbursement.
The good news for healthcare providers is that self-service technology can support a contactless approach that improves patient and staff safety during the pandemic and delivers additional benefits. During the pandemic and after things return to something closer to normal, health systems can use a patient engagement platform to offer patients self-service pre-registration and intake tools they can use on their own internet-connected devices.
Check out our infographic for four reasons why this is such valuable technology.
Additionally, consider the lasting benefits to health systems that extend across the enterprise to a wide range of departments and specialties, for both in-person and virtual visits:
Pre-registrations are completed more accurately, earlier in the revenue cycle. Simply giving patients the means to complete pre-registration and intake forms in advance results in higher completion rates and eliminates the need for staff to transcribe the information. In addition, by presenting patients with information they provided at prior visits, they can quickly confirm or update information, which improves accuracy and completeness. Insurance and identification card images are easily captured as well. Remembering patients’ information from visit to visit and offering this level of convenience can boost patient satisfaction scores as much as 40%.
Patients and staff save time and reduce in-person contact. A mobile, self-service process for pre-arrival tasks and check-in is faster and requires less effort for patients and staff alike. By avoiding unnecessary in-person contact and streamlining the process, the focus can be on the clinical aspects of each visit. From the health system’s perspective, the amount of time staff spend on repetitive, administrative tasks can be reduced by up to 50%, freeing them up to provide personalized, concierge-level patient service and for other higher-value activities.
Patients are more apt to make payments at the time of service. By making patient payment information and options a seamless part of the intake process, patients are more likely to make their payment right away, resulting in co-pay collections rates of up to 90%. Moreover, patients can easily review all balances and payment options at once, making it easier for them to clear outstanding balances, resulting in higher patient yield.
Providers see more patients more efficiently. Having pre-registration and intake tasks completed before arrival and making patient check-in quick and efficient allows clinics to operate more smoothly overall. As a result, clinics using this process run on schedule 80% of the time, which enables them to see more patients and generate more revenue.
As healthcare organizations continue to navigate the uncertainty ahead, accelerating digital front door initiatives sets the stage for long-term growth. A mobile, touch-free pre-registration and intake process not only gives patients confidence to come back for in-person visits, but also streamlines the process and improves financial performance across a wide range of settings, including virtual care.
Content written on behalf of R1 RCM.