Combating the lack of training for staff and patients
Revenue cycles’ rising complexity and the shift toward value-based care make it harder for healthcare organizations to provide staff members the training necessary to succeed. As a result, employees are left to figure things out on their own. More and more, front-office staff is being called upon to help educate patients as to their responsibility and collect balances due, which requires advanced training in customer service, conflict management and collections processes.
Patients, too, may be unaware of crucial information related to their care, such as their financial responsibility versus their insurance provider’s, the total cost of their care or how to use the tools their provider has available to make it easy for them to pay their bills.
The good news? Tackling training may be the easiest, fastest and least expensive improvement you can offer. Start by ensuring each team member understands how every aspect of the revenue cycle organization fits together, and get staff members working with well-explained processes and common goals.
From there, making sure teams receive training appropriate for their current role—and the role they aspire to next—will keep employees in the know and on the job.
For patients, it’s important to inform them of their financial responsibility as early as possible, preferably at pre-service. This helps give them time to plan accordingly. Make them aware of their payment options, including automated payment plans, and note their preferred method of payment. Show them how to use your digital payment tools.
Start with the right tools and processes
While much of today’s revenue cycle chaos can be tamed through automating processes to ensure a steady revenue stream, technology is only part of the answer. It also takes regular, thorough training that includes both front-office and back-office staff.
Perhaps most importantly, it requires an ongoing commitment to understanding what patients want and need, and then finding effective ways to meet those demands.
While these solutions won’t change the fact that our industry is facing some very interesting roads ahead, they certainly will help make your patients’ experience with your organization more satisfying—and will help you srengthen your bottom line.