Slide Share: Six Steps to Energize Front Line Processes
In today’s new era of patient payments, the front office or patient access team is your front line and a key component of your healthcare organization’s success. Self-pay responsibility has risen drastically in the past decade, and in order to collect these payments, your organization must have two things:
An effective revenue cycle team is composed of both front- and back-office staff, and it’s important to make front office or patient access staff feel like they are part of the revenue cycle team rather than only responsible for check-in or scheduling. Make sure you empower your front-office or patient access team to answer payment questions rather than say, “That’s a question for the billing office.”
If your front-office or patient access team isn’t accustomed to (or comfortable with) asking for payment before or at the time of service, standardized processes will help them know what to say and do. Processes also facilitate consistency, which in turn promotes quality. Develop step-by-step proactive processes, beginning with pre-visit calls to confirm appointments and review estimates.
If the front-office or patient access team is scrambling to manually assemble an estimate, their time and attention can’t be spent on the patient. Therefore, they might be less likely to ask for payment. It’s also difficult to project credibility: Arm your front-office or patient access staff with the tools they need to ask for and collect patient payments.
Before launching new processes, hold a dress rehearsal. Ask the team to role-play the common scenarios they experience prior to and at the time of service. For instance: “I can’t pay that much money all at once,” or “Why doesn’t my insurance cover more?” or “Do I have to make a payment today?”
Restaurants and stores employ mystery shoppers to ensure staff adheres to their training. Like the role-playing exercise, mystery shoppers should test your front-office or patient access staff with common scenarios to determine how well they adhere to patient payment processes. You’ll be able to use the results to focus additional training efforts.
Set financial goals and establish a rewards program. Track metrics such as the weekly or monthly number of times staff collected payment during pre-visit and at time of service. If possible, monitor amounts collected by each team member so you can reward individual efforts. Use overall metrics to reward team efforts and acknowledge success.