Best Practices for Optimizing Patient Registration
Optimizing patient registration is one important step in the journey to making your healthcare institution a more efficient entity. For example, an effective patient registration process is a critical aspect of minimizing denials. While the root cause of denials can occur anywhere in the revenue cycle, you’re more likely to see an issue at the front end, including the registration and eligibility stage. Optimizing your patient registration process will set your organization up for success and help improve your bottom line.
Inaccuracies in patient demographics, eligibility and coverage information can throw off your patient registration process. Read on for tips from Vyne Medical on ways to optimize the process from beginning to end.
Gather Information Before Service is Rendered
At its core, the patient registration process is not just a facet of customer service. It is also the first step in your patient’s experience with your health system. Keep in mind what’s at stake and train your staff to understand the concept as well. Doing so can help reduce the likelihood of skimming over any component of patient registration prior to rendering service.
When possible, information about patient demographics and medical insurance should be gathered before care begins. For non-emergency visits, healthcare institutions should request that information be completed online prior to the visit. If a patient arrives to an appointment without having filled out the required information, registrars can ask him or her to complete forms in person before seeing a healthcare provider.
Co-payments can also be collected prior to the rendering of services. Deductibles and all other amounts can be collected at “check-out” after patients have received care, but before they leave the facility. In any event, payment and insurance information should always be received before a patient exits the building, regardless of whether a follow-up appointment is scheduled.
Focus on Accuracy
Getting down the correct information about a patient is crucial to preventing problems down the road, particularly when it comes to handling reimbursement and preventing claim denials. Even gathering the wrong spelling of a name – or the incorrect responsible party on an insurance policy – can cause a future headache or worse, lead to patient safety issues.
Requesting a copy of the patient’s government-issued identification, as well as his or her insurance card, is an excellent standard to incorporate. Train your staff to double-check the information a patient has entered against any supporting documents to avoid errors. Technology can also be leveraged to automate the process of pulling data from faxed forms, eliminating errors that can originate from manual data entry.
Record Screens During Patient Registration
Misentering patient data can lead to a myriad of problems down the road. A key patient registration best practice is leveraging available technology to increase accuracy and maintain a complete audit trail of activity. Recording phone and in-person conversations with patients is a best practice to maintain an objective record of information provided by patients at each touch point.
Screen recording can also be implemented in registration areas to ensure patient data has been correctly entered into the registration system. Screen recording works by generating a one frame per second recording of a registrar’s computer activity while registering a patient. The recording can be paired with audio of the phone or face-to-face conversation to recreate the entire registration encounter. Having a complete record – including a video of what’s happening on-screen during registration – provides valuable information for root cause analysis, training and performance improvement.
Keep Patient Data in One Place
Linking conversations and documentation to the patient record is critical for later accessibility across your entire organization. Having a patient’s data in one place promotes more efficient scheduling, authorization, coordination, and reimbursement of care. Getting multiple mediums of data in a single platform can seem overwhelming, but with Vyne Medical’s Trace® platform, the process is seamless. Trace creates a more complete, digitized patient record and is available as a single-department or enterprise-wide solution.
A factor of growing importance: with Trace, remote employees can also capture and access information in a protected environment, giving them access to efficiently complete their work from virtually anywhere.
Pre-Script Your Staff Conversations
Do you have a script for your staff to use when interacting with patients during the registration process? Creating a script can help ensure that all the necessary points are covered and the data you need is collected.
You can take this practice a step further by monitoring the use of set conversation scripts. Implement technology to record calls with patients and capture delivery of important elements such as procedure instructions, self-pay estimates and copay requests. Insights collected from the review of these recorded discussions can help with quality assurance and future staff training.
Periodically Check Your Work
Quality assurance is paramount to a successful patient registration system. Consider your end-goal for improving your patient registration process. Below are several examples of benchmarks for improvement:
- fewer claim denials annually
- higher patient satisfaction results from after-visit surveys
- shorter wait times for patients, or visits that start closer to pre-set appointment times
- higher rates of pre-visit patient registration
- higher insurance verification rates
- greater volume of point-of-service payment collection
No matter what your KPIs are, it is important to define the data points you need to map, as well as the metrics you will use to measure improvement in each of your key areas. Performing periodic quality assurance, or “checking your work,” will show you exactly where your efforts are paying off, and where greater concentration may be required.
Electronic Patient Intake
Many patients are now looking for ways to safely and efficiently engage their healthcare providers while minimizing direct contact. A contactless registration system allows patients to import protected digital files electronically, including images and documents of medical orders, ID and insurance cards, and medication information.
Many health institutions are reaching their goals related to patient registration through the use of a comprehensive electronic patient intake platform. Keeping all the necessary information in a single place helps ensure every member of your team is on the same page throughout the patient’s journey.
With Trace, information uploaded by the patient is encrypted both in transit and on the server. Using this process, you can be sure unauthorized third parties won’t have access to the data.
Your organization can implement the above patient registration optimization practices through Vyne Medical’s Trace platform. Contact us to schedule a call with one of our Vyne Medical healthcare solution professionals today.
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