Nearly all medical practices face the complex challenge of ensuring patient satisfaction while maintaining the engagement and well-being of their staff. The reputation and success of a practice hinges on continuous improvements being made to heighten patient satisfaction, however the service provided by the front office staff at each practice plays a significant role in ensuring performance goals are regularly exceeded and quality patient care is delivered.
To foster an environment that strengthens the importance of both increased patient satisfaction and staff fulfillment, it is important to first look within. Outlined in this article are three simple tips from Greenway Health that providers can implement for their front office staff members to boost staff morale and patient satisfaction.
Emphasize the importance of excellent customer service
According to MGMA, 52% of medical groups report scheduling or customer service as the top front desk training challenge. While great customer service is extremely important for medical practices, it is not always top of mind. The front office staff are the first people to connect with patients, so their focus should be on creating an excellent experience. Take the time to train front office staff on how to properly greet patients, handle requests, and communicate successfully.
To take it a step further, try cultivating a patient-centered approach. Encourage the front office staff to actively listen and show genuine interest in patient concerns. Additionally, consider implementing enhanced accessibility tools to the current healthcare service offerings like online appointment scheduling, patient portals, and telemedicine. By simplifying these front office administrative practices, patients will appreciate the user-friendly and accessible nature the practice has to offer.
By Marvin Luz, senior director of revenue cycle management transformation, Greenway Health.
The move to value-based care not only impacts the approach providers take to serving their patients, but it also changes the way they document, account for, and bill patients — quickening billing cycles and creating a need for better cost containment.
Timely revenue cycle management (RCM) is essential for success in this new healthcare realm, but many practices still handle billing as if they were in the fee-for-service age. This leads to critical mistakes that cost them in the long run, including:
#1 – Lack of a defined process
Billing glitches originate in several areas of practice operations, especially during busy times. With many patients coming in and out of the office, important information may be miscommunicated, overlooked, or even lost. Practices must standardize their billing processes as a “cycle” that is clinically driven and embraced by staff.
#2 – Neglecting critical information
While managing every type of information contained in documents that practices require may seem overwhelming, providers must embrace this task to optimize revenue opportunities. For example, when organizations understand the nuances of payer contracts, they are in a better position to fully leverage payment and negotiations. Equally important is staying on top of edit reports, explanation of benefits forms, and other claims issues, while also making sure denied claims are reworked and resubmitted in a timely manner.
#3 – Failing to follow up
Providers employ a variety of strategies to improve collections, including appeals, tracers, collections letters, and payment plans. While these tactics are a good first step, many fall short due to lack of follow-up. Research conducted by Greenway Health found that only 62 percent of practices review delinquent claims, while just 59 percent of secondary claims are filed due to back office time constraints. Often, by the time a practice realizes a patient or payer has not responded, it’s too late to collect the money owed.
#4 Drowning in detail
Details are important, but when billing practices become all about them, organizations can neglect the bigger picture revenue opportunities. For example, if practices look for trends, such as repeated claims denials for the same services or claims that are denied for registration errors, processes can be reworked to avoid those common errors to occur in the future.