Can Better Patient Statements Improve Your Revenue Cycle?
You already know the most successful medical practices enjoy high patient satisfaction and a healthy revenue cycle. It's only natural that you want your patients to be happy with their experience and provide you with an excellent recommendation. Besides that, it's also essential to maintain a healthy patient revenue cycle so that you can continue serving patients.
One way you can improve your revenue cycle is with improved communication and concise patient statements in accordance with HFMA's Patient Friendly Billing initiative. I'll share more about those patient statements in a moment, but first, let's take a moment to consider the practices who don't spend enough time on the business side and as a result, experience poor revenue cycle management. If you've ever encountered that, you know it can threaten to topple the health of the organization.
On the other hand, you might feel your practice does well at achieving both patient satisfaction and an efficient revenue cycle. Good for you! Maintaining the business side is not an easy task and one that requires dedication to staff training, metrics, consistency, and more. In fact, there are so many moving parts, it's no wonder that things fall through the cracks on occasion.
As you can imagine, there's often room for improvement in business practices, it's important to harness the discipline to evaluate them regularly and see where any gaps lie. In this post, we'll focus on your patient's revenue cycle.
According to the Healthcare Financial Management Association, high performing patient revenue cycles require the following five elements: people, processes, metrics, communication, and culture.
That's probably not surprising if you think about it. After all, running a successful practice starts with skillful hiring practices, setting appropriate expectations in place, establishing processes and metrics to make things run smoothly. It also requires keeping the lines of communication open so that potential issues are dealt with early before they become major concerns.
It's a lot to balance on top of your other responsibilities and sometimes it makes sense to outsource as much of it as you can and therefore free up your responsibilities to handle other matters.
Let's start with three questions that focus on best practices of the patient revenue cycle.
3 Questions for Your Patient Revenue Cycle
Your patient revenue cycle starts with patient scheduling and continues through successful payment. This sounds absurdly simple until you consider the amount of time that can lapse between those two dates. That time lapse of weeks and months is often due to poor communication, confusing insurance practices and difficult to read patient statements.
Here are three questions to ask yourself:
What percentage of your accounts receivables are past 120 days?
Are your write offs higher than the average practice of your size?
Do your patients understand their financial responsibilities of treatment before they incur them?
Knowing the answers to these and many more can improve medical collections at your practice.
For example, with more of the financial responsibility falling onto the patient, it's more important than ever that they understand their responsibilities at the outset with a good estimation of the fees.
When that's not clear and your accounting office sends patient statements that are confusing to the patient, they may not understand what they owe. Maybe it's due to miscommunication at the practice and sometimes their insurance has changed, either way, the patient may either ignore the bill for weeks, or call the office upset.
Neither of these are the desired outcome.
Improve Medical Collections with Easy-To-Read Patient Statements and Good Communication
Patient satisfaction starts with great communication. They want a friendly voice to schedule their appointment and find out any preliminary concerns before they come in. Then, a practice manager or other appointed staff member will go over the fees and what's not covered by their insurance plan. Your staff can share applicable financial assistance with your patients and provide accurate billing information.
When patients receive their bill, it should be a continuation of the patient-friendly experience they've had at your office. The bill itself should be concise, with due dates and online payment options clear and easy-to-read. Some patients may prefer their bill to be sent online rather than through the mail and that's easy to discover beforehand.
Each of these approaches can increase patient satisfaction and improve your patient revenue cycle because they'll be expecting the patient statement and already have a payment method worked out.
What if you could improve patient collections and streamline your entire patient revenue cycle by having your patient statements sent by us on your behalf? All you have to do is upload your financial report files and we can handle the rest, even integrating it as part of an Early Out or Extended Office Services.
Contact us to find out more about how we can improve patient satisfaction and your bottom line.
For more information about Halo AR Management, please visit www.haloarm.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
David Hirsch is a co-founder and principal of iQuantified Management Services, a medical collection agency headquartered in Aurora, Colorado, and of Halo AR Management, its partner group that specializes in Early Out, first-party recovery solutions. Both companies seek to distinguish themselves with personalized customer service and by preserving the respect between health care providers and their patients.