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• Higher rate of up-front collections: Self-service tools – such as online portals, mobile applications and kiosks – enable patients to conveniently view and pay healthcare bills. Because patients are better informed about fi nancial responsibility, they are more likely to pay when the payment screen appears. T e result is faster transactions, which help speed the revenue cycle and lower bad debt incurred because of missed payments.

• Improved patient satisfaction and loyalty: Providing self-service software enables hospitals to simplify the registration process and decrease wait times, meaning staff can be better utilized to answer questions and solve problems. Creating a better patient experience results in a more satisfi ed, loyal patient who is more likely to visit the hospital again.

• Additional revenue sources: T e time savings realized when hospitals use self-service software enables staff to handle more registrations and providers to see more patients each day. T is increase in effi ciency allows hospitals to schedule more patient visits and collect additional revenue.

Technology can never replace the knowledge and experience of staff , but self-service tools can augment staff eff orts. By improving convenience for patients and optimizing staff time, hospitals can transform their revenue cycle processes to meet the fi nancial challenges of today and the future.

insights without incurring large up-front investments or system maintenance headaches.

Expertise: Recent innovations have leveraged the subscription model of cloud-based solutions and applied it to analytic advisory services – essentially creating a “pay-as-you-go” model to tap into needed expertise.

Companies that are combining cloud-based comparative analytic solutions with subscription-based advisory services are making analytics aff ordable for even the smallest provider organizations. T is new approach to analytics enables a greater number of organizations to identify opportunities to increase their margins, whether it’s by reducing claim error rates, implementing more efficient denial-management strategies or leveraging industry statistics to understand how their performance measures up against peers.

Ric Sinclair, head of product, ZirMed

Use patient payment estimations to streamline RCM T anks to higher deductible plans, a greater number of

Brian Fugere, chief operating offi cer, RemitDATA

Leveraging analytics to boost revenue cycle performance Healthcare organizations are increasingly using analytic solutions to monitor their revenue cycles and to pinpoint areas where they should focus their eff orts to maximize performance. Some organizations, however, are reluctant to evaluate analytic solutions due to budget limitations or concerns that they don’t possess the in-house expertise to eff ectively use the solutions. T ese are legitimate concerns, but analytic solutions come in many fl avors, and recent innovations are improving their aff ordability and ease of use. For example: • Functionality: It’s important to distinguish between business intelligence (BI) and comparative analytics. BI solutions are designed to collect, maintain and organize key performance indicators, such as accounts receivable days and internal performance metrics. In contrast, comparative analytics solutions leverage the concepts of BI, but provide further insights by contextually comparing data against peers and other benchmarks.

• Deployment: Both BI and comparative analytics solutions can be deployed via a cloud-based model, which enables organizations to benefit from data

www.healthmgttech.com

uninsured patients and larger co-pays, more of the money owed to providers is coming directly from patients’ pockets. Increasing patient responsibility is making it tougher for providers to collect what they’re owed, and in many cases, neither the provider nor the patient knows exactly how much the individual will owe at the time of service. While getting reimbursement from insurance companies can be diffi cult, collecting from patients has historically been one of the biggest challenges hospitals and practices face, and it has become too signifi cant a portion of total revenue to overlook. Communicating strategically with patients is essential for successful patient payment collection. To use patient estimates to boost revenue performance, follow these best practices: 1. Make sure estimations are accurate. Look at plan specifics, deductible balances and payer payment histories.

2. Carefully train staff on how to talk to patients about what they owe. T is can be a delicate conversation but, handled properly, it can actually enhance the patient- practice relationship.

3. Collect as soon as possible, at or before the time of care.

4. Notify patients early and often of their expected payment responsibility, allowing patients to make informed decisions, have accurate expectations and prepare fi nancially.

5. Offer ways to help patients meet their financial responsibility, such as setting up a payment plan that meets their budget. Patients that stay out of debt and avoid external collections agencies pay off their balances sooner, improving the provider’s cash fl ow and bottom line.

HMT HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY June 2013 11

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