Healthcare consumerism has been a trend on the rise for many years, but has never been more relevant than in the COVID-19 “new normal.” Since millions of patients are dealing with financial struggles, loss of insurance, and an overall sense of apprehension when it comes to resuming care treatments, they are extremely particular around where and how they receive care.
Right now, it’s imperative for practices to make patients feel like they have control over their healthcare, which means having the right tools in place to deliver a streamlined financial experience, convenient and efficient self-service options, and transparency around pricing and financial support. To meet these demands, physician practices should leverage the expertise of a proven revenue cycle partner that has the knowledge, technology investments, and process improvement experience needed to drive next-level revenue cycle performance and exceed patient expectations.
This article will cover three key advantages of a revenue cycle partnership and how these relationships allow practices to achieve patient satisfaction goals amid the market’s consumer-driven environment.
Many practices try to handle all revenue cycle work internally, typically through a central billing office with manual processes and limited resources, which can often result in significant backlog when it comes to charge capture and payment posting. With a revenue cycle partner, practices can rely on advanced technology and a larger staff who specialize in key areas, such as billing and coding, to determine where gaps and opportunities exist to enhance internal operations and maximize reimbursement.
A qualified partner knows how to apply automation technology to key revenue cycle processes that affect a practice’s bottom line, such as claims and correspondence management, to remove errors and decrease overall expenses. While automation can certainly create efficiencies, due to the complexity of the revenue cycle, a large amount of work still needs to be handled by human staff members, (e.g., payer contracting), adhering to value-based programs and coding updates. A revenue cycle partner who offers a model that allows digital and human staff to work in tandem is the best way to generate widespread efficacy and ensure all processes are handled efficiently.
A technology-driven revenue cycle also eliminates patient frustrations since they spend less time circumventing administrative roadblocks, such as denials, inaccurate bills or misplaced information that can prolong the care process. With the right people and technology in place, patients can also receive more personalized service from staff members who no longer have to spend countless hours managing all aspects of the revenue cycle and can focus more time on the patient.
COVID-19 introduced patients to a new kind of financial experience – one that allowed them to manage appointments electronically and receive care much more quickly when they arrived for an appointment. With patients becoming more accustomed to this convenience, practices need solutions that will help them further build out their digital front door strategy. A revenue cycle partner that offers a patient experience platform provides practices the ability to connect with patients in a safe, contactless way from wherever they are located.
Through integrated technology, patient experience platforms allow patients to easily self-schedule appointments, complete pre-registration and make payments, all from their preferred digital devices. In addition to this user-friendly functionality, patients can also receive pre-service out-of-pocket estimates, so payment responsibility is clearly communicated upfront, allowing patients to appropriately plan for the financial side of their care. Practices can also strategically use the platform to send valuable on-demand messaging, such as appointment reminders with links to self-schedule, as well as memos about safety procedures or telehealth offerings. With the right partner, providers can meet the demands of consumerism head on and make the administrative side of healthcare more manageable.
With many Americans still facing unemployment, more and more patients either need to secure supplemental funding or establish alternate plans to pay for the care they need. A revenue cycle partner can help practices create end-to-end financial clearance processes to determine what financial assistance is needed upfront prior to service taking place. By combining best practices with the right automated workflows and training for staff members, the right partner can help practices:
Having the right financial clearance program in place is a key strategic advantage because it further engages patients in their care and increases overall loyalty since practices are providing crucial financial assistance when it’s needed most. Financial clearance programs also give practices the most accurate financial information for every care encounter and help them secure payment for those services, creating a win-win situation for both patients and providers.
With concerns around the safety of receiving care and the subsequent financial implications continually increasing, practices need to make immediate and lasting changes so they can provide reliable, convenient and compassionate services to patients. Instead of taking all of this on internally, practices should establish a revenue cycle partnership that gives them access to the right people, technology and best practices – enabling differentiation amongst consumers and allowing them to focus on their core competency of providing superior patient care.