Collecting information during patient registration is time-consuming, but its importance cannot be overstated. This is the first key step in building meaningful relationships with patients. It allows you to establish a personal relationship, but there is also a hidden benefit: enabling automation.

Automation is the cornerstone of healthcare’s future for all providers large and small, including hospital systems, large practices, all the way down to single providers. Automation has become affordable for even small offices, benefiting not just the practice and billing company, but the patients themselves. In fact, the entire healthcare system profits from automation. 

Let’s take a closer look.

Fewer errors

Automation eliminates common errors associated with manual processes, such as illegible handwriting, lost paperwork, or miscommunication. Data validation and verification ensure that information is consistent and reliable while scanning insurance cards and driver’s licenses speeds up data entry and greatly increases accuracy.

More time and resources

By handling routine tasks such as appointment scheduling, sending reminders, billing, and reporting, automation frees up valuable time and resources. This gives your staff more time to dedicate to patient care—which is, after all, the core value add of our industry. By reducing the workload and stress on your staff, automation improves service quality  while at the same time improving job satisfaction.

Comprehensive service

Automation takes a lot of the logistical hassle out of patients’ lives by streamlining services. Patients get easy access to an overview of their visits and payments and can pay their bills online with just a few clicks. Alerts and reminders arrive on the patient’s phone instantly, with minimal effort from staff.

Patients like automation, too

Research shows that patients expect to get a text or email reminder about their appointment, and 59% even prefer it over a phone call. According to an infographic by Spot On, when consumers receive an SMS appointment reminder they are 95% certain to keep the appointment. Surprisingly, 34% of patients 65 and older also prefer text message appointment reminders, despite the general belief that older patients are resistant to new technology. Overall, 48% of respondents preferred text messages for appointment reminders.

Billing processes can have far-reaching impact

Automated balance reminders allow patients to pay quickly online with just the click of a button. The data shows that 90% of texts are opened immediately upon receipt, which bodes well for rapid payment. And 62% said they would prefer to pay their bills via an online patient portal.

But there’s more to it than just fast payments. The survey also suggested that bad billing practices could have long-term consequences. Over 36% of respondents said they would consider switching healthcare providers if they have a poor experience with billing. The good news is the vast majority of Americans—a whopping 97%, according to Pew Research—own a cellphone, mostly smartphones. And the cellphone has become a crucial tool for revenue cycle management in healthcare.

It’s clear that many patients are ready to move towards increased automation and are aware that it will drastically improve their healthcare experience. But the upside isn’t just for your patients. Let’s look at how automation can impact your bottom line.

Minimum effort, maximum reimbursement

Retaining quality staff and keeping them satisfied is a top priority in any practice or billing company. The cost of turnover is way too high to risk having an unhappy worker. Medical billers, front office staff, and practice administrators can use their time more effectively if they are not spending hours on time-consuming repetitive tasks. Valued staff can then focus on patient care or complex billing issues that need human intervention, including rescuing potential lost revenue. Not only does this increase job satisfaction for workers, it enables better service—at a lower cost.

In one study, a practice that implemented appointment reminders saw no-show rates plummet from about 21% to about 7%. If the average appointment brings in $200 in revenue, and a provider sees 250 appointments per month, this 14% drop in no-shows translates into a hefty $84,000 per year in additional revenue. 

While this is a theoretical calculation, it represents the actual savings that could be incurred by one individual practice. With the right safeguards to ensure the accurate recording of patient information, this practice is firmly on the path to continue to enjoy this increased revenue.

At this point, you might be asking yourself where to begin. We recommend following these steps:

Appointment calendar

Determine how your staff spends most of their time. Tedious processes like scheduling can be simplified and streamlined to minimize clicks and improve clarity. A solid investment in building calendar settings can save a huge amount of time.  

We recommend these key useful features : 

  1. Appointment Types. Customizable to accommodate provider scheduling preferences, as well as determine the right appointment criteria. Front desk staff can provide patients with this information so they know what to expect when scheduling their appointments.
  2. Appointment Shells. Provide visibility for complicated Builds and provider availability, offering a “one and done” scheduling model that saves everyone time, week after week.
  3. Appointment Slots. Outline specifics of how each provider wants their day formatted, including a template with an easy-to-use standard.
  4. Scheduling Rules. Based on Slot Type, Appointment Type, and days of the week. They also include recurrence limitations. These rules eliminate the guesswork of determining appointment availability for both the scheduler and the patient.

Appointment reminders

These take a load off of staff immediately by improving efficiency and drastically reducing appointment no-shows. Appointment reminders can utilize mappable fields to provide customizable messages to patients, a friendlier and more personal alternative to manual recall lists. Appointment reminders also ensure compliance with insurance companies by communicating patient care plan needs accurately and effectively.

Balance notifications

Implementing automatic balance notifications is an economical way to immediately reduce staff effort and increase your collection percentage. If patient information is collected correctly, balance notifications ensure that you have the best chance of getting paid for the services provided. Also, patients appreciate transparent billing practices that eliminate any surprise expenses and give them the confidence that they are being fairly billed. 

Conclusion

In short, incorporating patient information collection and automation into your medical practice or billing company is a win-win for both healthcare providers and patients. It improves practice efficiency, enhances patient care, and ultimately leads to better healthcare outcomes. By starting small with appointment reminders and balance notifications, you’ll be ready for any new technology that comes your way. Set your future up for success by learning more about automation today. 

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