The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the healthcare industry to adapt, and to adapt quickly, accelerating more efficient and engaging patient access processes. Many of these modern trends in healthcare have evolved with the purpose of transitioning manual and contact-driven operations to a variety of digital alternatives. The key problem these transitions work to solve is centered on better enabling healthcare providers to meet patients where they are, rather than where we would normally expect them to be.
Below, we highlight several emerging trends in healthcare revenue cycle management discussed in our latest podcast episode on the new era of revenue cycle with Scott Phillips of Texas Health Resources, and Michelle Fox from Health First. You can listen to the podcast below or continue reading for the condensed version of the insights they share based upon their hands-on experiences over the last year.
Changing Roles for Changing Times – The Positive Impact of “Work from Home”
When the pandemic arrived in the United States, immediate decisions had to be made about who could and could not work from home. Along with those decisions arose additional considerations – how would productivity be managed in that new environment? How could managers ensure enough contact to get their teams the support, education, and resources needed to do their jobs? Did employees have the right technologies to make the transition?
Through real-world experience, many hospitals found that productivity went up, quality of work improved, and interpersonal office friction declined when workers were given the work-from-home option. To ensure strong connections, leaders leveraged technology to help maintain the collaboration and connectivity their teams rely upon when working together in the same space.
As a result, many revenue cycle employees working from home were able to find success by leveraging digital solutions to enable assess to data and enable consistent workflows. From recorded phone calls to paperless faxes, and entirely electronic documentation, patient access professionals can obtain and organize all the information they need to help ensure seamless patient experiences from the comfort of home.
Digitizing Patient Engagement – New Strategies for Virtual Connections
Virtual visits and telehealth were just the start of a digitally transformed healthcare system. The need to reduce face-to-face interactions and crowded waiting rooms also spurred the development of new solutions for patient engagement. Paperwork that used to be completed in waiting rooms can now be sent and received through a protected electronic delivery system, giving patients the ability to engage more actively as registrars for their own care.
To implement such changes successfully, organizations leveraged new technology to record and organize phone calls, paperwork, and consent forms, while implementing additional communication avenues to ensure patients could receive and deliver the necessary information. Text and email communication quickly became paramount in enabling patients to access the information required to make the best possible decisions regarding their healthcare.
When implemented, industry leaders found these digital engagement solutions helped to shore up hospital workforce inefficiencies and boost overall productivity. Now, patients can schedule appointments, provide consent to care, upload insurance cards or IDs, and even pay for their care – all from the comfort of home and at their convenience. A large portion of patients, some 70 percent, preferred these entirely digital solutions.
But what about that other 30 percent of patients for whom digital engagement solutions aren’t the preference? Scott Phillips of THR emphasizes the need for options in today’s consumer-driven healthcare environment. Hospitals should be sure to provide patient access avenues to fit each person’s unique needs by integrating fully digital solutions where they make the most sense but maintain the ability to perform the same tasks face-to-face. These efforts result in more dynamic and flexible processes that put the patient first.
Adapting Point-of-Service Collections
Point of service collections are another area where the status quo is quickly changing with the times. Leading hospitals are beginning to re-think the way financial exchanges occur – transitioning from a simple collection to an open financial discussion. Not only is the payment collection step confusing, but for the average consumer, benefits can also be difficult to understand. New trends are designed to give patients the assistance they need in navigating this space.
Now more than ever, the need to walk pre-admission patients through their financial journey is a monumental step involved with the overall patient experience and collection of payment. Providers should focus on creating partnerships with patients, offering financial counseling and educational discussions so patients have a full understanding of their financial responsibility before care is administered.
Registration platforms and similarly helpful technologies, paired with a new school of thought, can help patients and healthcare providers alike gain clarity surrounding their financial situations. Armed with the right information, patients gain a better understanding of their coverage options, and as a result, the number of canceled appointments is drastically reduced.
Final Thoughts from the Experts
In conclusion, experts encourage hospital administrators to maintain flexibility in their approaches to revenue cycle management.
Be sure that every decision is made with a focus on your patients and meeting them where they are. The pandemic has taught us that organizations can make these changes quickly by embracing technologies, leveraging proven partners, and encourage teams to think outside the box and to push the limits. Most of all, be the team your patients need you to be, and they will reward you in kind.
Stay Ahead of Your Revenue Cycle Management Needs with Vyne Medical
Keeping up with the latest advancements in revenue cycle management is no easy task, but Vyne Medical is here to help you solve communication and information exchange challenges. No matter when, where, or how these communication challenges occur, we have the tools you need to capture data from any exchange and make it available at the point of need.
If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you keep up with the latest trends in healthcare revenue cycle management and other challenges facing your team, reach out today to speak with a member of our team!