What are YOUR New Year’s resolutions for your revenue cycle?

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Revenue Cycle

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HealthWare Systems Blog

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Revenue Cycle

Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Have you set any New Year’s resolutions for your revenue cycle?

The new year is upon us! The following are a few resolutions you’ll want to consider for improving your revenue cycle, along with the ActiveWARE products that can help you reach these goals.

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Revenue Cycle


Resolution – Financially Clear Patients Prior to Date of Service

Facilitator is a pre-arrival workflow solution that can streamline prior authorizations. And not only does Facilitator automate financial clearance steps, but it also verifies insurance and medical necessity in real time and searches for unreported coverage.

Resolution – Reduce Technical Denials

ActiveDEFENDER monitors the entire patient encounter to prevent errors that lead to reimbursement denials, delays, and underpayments. (Read here how ActiveDEFENDER reduced bad debt by 50% at Bon Secours Charity Health System.)


Resolution – Improve Collections

Facilitator can simplify collections with one-click access to a consolidated view of patient responsibility that includes prior balances (across multiple sites), out-of-pocket costs for the current visit, and qualifying discounts.

ActiveASSIST can help you better manage your self-pay population and ensure that you as the provider are “payer of last resort” by exhausting all other funding options for patients first (e.g. government-funded programs and charitable sources).

Resolution – Increase Patient Satisfaction

All ActiveWARE products create improvements that increase patient satisfaction. But one factor that especially affects patient satisfaction is patient wait times. ActiveTRACK is proven to increase patient satisfaction by reducing both registration and clinical patient wait times. In fact, ActiveTRACK reduced patient wait times by 75% at an acute care facility in the Chicago Suburbs.

Resolution – Reduce Paper Use and Costs

Our digital transformation solutions greatly reduce paper use and costs. For example, ActiveXCHANGE, our digital order management solution, eliminated 1.3 million pages per year at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

There are many cost benefits of electronic healthcare forms as well. With ActiveFORMS, there is no need to pre-print and store forms or waste money destroying old pre-printed versions that can no longer be used due to new updates. Instead, forms are instantly and electronically delivered wherever a patient presents and can be printed on-demand if a physical copy is necessary. And if not, you can go paperless with electronic signature.

Resolution – Perform a Health Plan Audit

An annual health plan audit can help you maintain compliance with payor contracts and ensure your front desk staff are prepared to collect the appropriate co-pay or deductible from each patient. If you’re not already, resolve to conduct a health plan audit at least every year.

What are YOUR New Year’s resolutions for your revenue cycle?

Have you set New Year’s resolutions for your revenue cycle?

 

What are your New Year’s resolutions for your revenue cycle? Chances are, one or more of our ActiveWARE products can help. Contact us today to learn more… and have a Happy New Year!


By Stephanie Salmich

Reducing patient uncertainty: Healthcare providers connect puzzle pieces.

Reducing Patient Uncertainty: 6 Areas to Address

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Reducing Patient Uncertainty: 6 Areas to Address

Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Reducing patient uncertainty should be a high priority item for healthcare providers.  Feelings of uncertainty can affect the patient experience and lower patient satisfaction.

Most of us are uncomfortable with uncertainty and many visits to healthcare facilities are made with the purpose of diminishing it.  Patients seek out your facility hoping to find answers to health questions; the last thing they are looking for is even more confusion.

Reducing patient uncertainty: Healthcare providers connect puzzle pieces.

Reducing patient uncertainty can vastly improve the patient experience.

Below are 6 areas that can either increase or decrease patient uncertainty.
By reducing patient uncertainty through addressing these areas, providers can greatly improve the patient experience:

1. – Online Presence:

A strong online presence and positive online reviews can aid in reducing patient uncertainty by helping patients become more familiar with your facility and organization before they even visit.  Utilize your website and social media accounts to their full advantage.

For example, a study published in the journal Health Communication found that video biographies for primary care physicians were more effective in reducing patient uncertainty than the standard text biographies that most providers post on their websites.

2. – Wayfinding:

Navigating their way around an unfamiliar building can increase patients’ anxiety over their hospital visit.  Wayfinding solutions (such as digital signage, mobile apps that guide patients around your campus, and touchscreen kiosks that print wayfinding maps) can ensure that patients and their visitors don’t get lost, all while reducing patient uncertainty about finding their destination.

3. – The Waiting Room:

The waiting room offers numerous opportunities for reducing patient uncertainty surrounding many topics.  In the waiting room, uncertainty about wait times can be just as frustrating as the actual waiting.  Patients’ family members face uncertainty as well, about how long they’ll be waiting, about the details of a procedure, and about the outcome for their family member.

A patient tracking board and real-time text updates can be instrumental in reducing patient uncertainty and lowering waiting room anxiety for patients’ family members.  Patients can better gauge how long they’ll be waiting, and patients’ family members know their loved one’s status at each stage (e.g. “in prep,” “in surgery,” “in recovery”) of the encounter.

4. – Interoperability:

Patients should not have to face uncertainty regarding whether their doctor has all the information he/she needs to properly care for them.  Yet, only 46% of hospitals had required patient information from outside providers or sources available electronically at the point of care according to research posted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

With odds like these, patient uncertainty about transfer of medical records or if a physician’s order/referral will be received in time is warranted.  Reducing patient uncertainty can be accomplished by ensuring your facility can electronically send, receive, find, and integrate/use all necessary health information.

5. – The Discharge Process:

Researchers have created a new tool called the Uncertainty Scale to measure patient uncertainty and predict hospital readmissions.  Some of the major themes they’ve found in their work include patients’:

  • “Lack of clarity regarding self-management, such that patients are unsure how to deal with symptoms at home”
  • “Lack of self-efficacy, manifesting as patients not knowing where to go for help for certain symptoms”
  • “Lack of clarity about the decision to seek care, meaning that patients do not know which symptoms are serious enough to warrant seeing a health professional”

Improving patient education during the discharge process can help in reducing patient uncertainty about self-care, where to seek help, and when it is necessary to seek help, as well as lower readmission rates.

6. – Payments:

Patients want price transparency and as wise healthcare consumers, they have the right to be informed about the use of their healthcare dollars.  Confusion about health insurance and how much money they owe for health services, even after they’ve received a bill, is a source of patient uncertainty.  Patients may have great clinical outcomes, yet, if they are surprised when the bill is larger than expected, their satisfaction surveys will reflect low scores.

Providing estimates for out-of-pocket costs upfront, helping patients with insurance issues, preventing insurance-related errors, and helping patients identify and apply for financial assistance opportunities can all help in reducing patient uncertainty about cost.


Uncertainty is unfortunately a common experience in healthcare for those with undiagnosed conditions and symptoms for which an explanation is unclear.  The six areas outlined here are within your control; by reducing patient uncertainty in these areas, your facility can greatly improve the patient experience.


By Stephanie Salmich

Support Your Physicians: An administrator and doctor shake hands.

Support Your Physicians by Asking These 3 Questions

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Support Your Physicians by Asking These 3 Questions

Posted on Friday, March 30, 2018

National Doctors’ Day (March 30th) provides a great opportunity to reevaluate the steps your facility is taking to support your physicians who work so hard for you and your patients.

Support Your Physicians: An administrator and doctor shake hands.

Happy National Doctors’ Day!

Here are a few questions to consider when assessing how well you support your physicians:

 

Are You Fueling Your Physicians’ Sense of Purpose?

One of the best ways you can support your physicians is by encouraging their passion, whether it be for medicine, for helping patients and their families, for serving the community, or any other meaningful reason they have for doing the work they do.

Fostering a sense of meaning in work can improve employee engagement, reduce physician burnout, and lower employee turnover.  According to Forbes contributor David K. Williams, the secret to helping employees find meaning in work is communication:

“If leaders focus on communicating the company’s mission, and the employee’s place in the success of that mission, they can have a significant impact on the overall level of fulfillment of their employees.”

He suggests that leaders “frequently discuss the meaning of the organization” and recognize employees for their personal contribution to that meaning.

 

Are You Making Your Physicians’ Jobs Easier or More Difficult?

Physicians are extremely busy.  Is the technology you provide them helping or hindering their time management?

Time-consuming and cumbersome administrative tasks and paperwork can overwhelm physicians and distract them from the reason they became doctors in the first place:  to help patients.

Alleviate physician stress by implementing solutions that:

1. Eliminate lost physician orders

2. Facilitate the sending, receiving, finding, and integrating of critical data to achieve interoperability

3. Prevent reimbursement issues

4. Provide real-time communication across departments

Are You Investing in Your Physicians?

Do you provide opportunities for your valuable physicians to learn and grow in the vital roles they fill for your organization?  Millennial healthcare employees may especially appreciate opportunities for growth and development, continued training, and education at work.  You can also support your physicians by offering or funding mindfulness training, empathy training, and emotional support programs to help prevent or reduce physician burnout.

Again, National Doctors’ Day is TODAY (March 30th)!  Now is the perfect time to rejuvenate your commitment to support your physicians with these suggestions.  And remember to celebrate the physicians who have made a difference for you and your family by personally thanking them and honoring them each March 30th for the hard work they do all year long.


You can also find ideas for promoting other health observances throughout the year here, and a detailed calendar of this year’s health observances and recognition days here.


By Stephanie Salmich

A group of Millennial healthcare employees appears with the blog title: Attracting and Retaining Millennial Healthcare Employees (Part 2)

Attracting and Retaining Millennial Healthcare Employees (Part 2)

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Attracting and Retaining Millennial Healthcare Employees (Part 2)

Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A group of Millennial healthcare employees appears with the blog title: Attracting and Retaining Millennial Healthcare Employees (Part 2)

Using gamification and social media in healthcare can help you in attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees.

In Part 1 of our 2-part blog about attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees, we discussed two strategies to help you improve employee engagement and employee retention among the ever-increasing largest share of the U.S. workforce: promoting your mission and investing in education.

Here are two more suggestions for attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees:


Embrace Social Media in Healthcare

Social media in healthcare can be invaluable for attracting Millennial healthcare employees.  For example, Hospitals & Health Networks reports that All Children’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida uses social media to engage potential new hires with stories, images, and videos that highlight what it’s like to work at their facility and live in their city:

“At All Children’s, a new nurse blogs about her experiences behind the scenes. The transport team writes a periodic series about their adventures. The hospital home page features ‘Shift Change,’ a one-minute video with action music that includes fast-paced scenes from a single day at All Children’s mixed with shots of Central Florida night life and beach sunsets.”

Exceptional internal communication is also essential for retaining Millennial healthcare employees.  Many Millennials desire more feedback from their managers at work and are accustomed to instantaneous communication.  Commit to increasing the amount of feedback you provide in order to improve employee engagement, and ensure you have a system in place that enables real-time communication among employees and departments.

Utilize Gamification Strategies

Millennial speaker Ryan Jenkins describes gamification as “the use of game design techniques and mechanics in a non-game context to solve problems and engage users.”  He provides the gamification examples of tracking frequent flyer miles, credit card points, and fantasy football scores and explains the attraction:

“When humans achieve new levels in games, the brain releases dopamine which prompts excitement, encourages exploration to try new things, and helps combat the stagnation caused by failure. The reward-motivated behavior induced by dopamine is the key to increased employee engagement, overcoming challenges, and increased innovation through exploration.”

Incorporating gamification features like competition, rewards and incentives, point scoring, and real-time, instant feedback into the workplace may appeal to Millennial healthcare employees (who grew up playing video games and games on their mobile phones) and can improve employee engagement for all generations.

For instance, try implementing tools that monitor registrars’ patient encounter accuracy relative to their peers, and provide performance incentives to improve employee engagement and recognize accomplishments.  This will create a fun, competitive atmosphere and provide Millennial healthcare employees with the feedback they crave.

As noted in Part 1 of this blog, most Millennials want the opportunity to learn at work.  Gamification can be used to improve employee engagement with training and online learning as well.


Many Millennials want to work in healthcare; according to a survey of 18,000 Millennials, about 40% plan on working in medicine or health-related fields.  Healthcare facilities that consider the values of this generation of workers in their efforts to improve employee engagement and employee retention will have the most success in attracting and retaining Millennial healthcare employees.

These strategies, embracing social media in healthcare and utilizing gamification, along with those outlined in Part 1 of this 2-part blog (promoting your mission and investing in education), will appeal to Millennial healthcare employees and lower your turnover rates for this group of workers.

Editor’s Note:  This is Part 2 in a 2-part blog series.


By Stephanie Salmich

Employee Satisfaction: A healthcare employee smiles at her desk.

3 Healthcare Solutions for Improving Employee Satisfaction, Engagement, & Retention

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HealthWare Systems Blog

3 Healthcare Solutions for Improving Employee Satisfaction, Engagement, & Retention

Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hospitals are continuously looking for ways to increase patient satisfaction and loyalty to their facilities.  But recent research suggests that attending to employee satisfaction first will ultimately lead to greater patient satisfaction and retention as well, thanks to the theory that loyal employees will create loyal customers.

Consider the following healthcare solutions to help you increase employee satisfaction and, consequently, patient satisfaction with your staff, your facility, and the overall patient experience.

Automate Workflow to Save Staff Time and Improve Efficiency


Your administrative staff members have a lot of responsibility.  They are accountable for gathering all the necessary information and documentation that affects whether your hospital is paid or reimbursed for services delivered.  How many times has a staff member forgotten to obtain a patient signature on just one form that eventually led to a back-end denial or rework for staff later on?  If your staff currently rely on memory to determine every document that is needed for every situation for every type of patient, in order to meet every government regulation and payer-specific requirement, there is an easier way.

An electronic healthcare forms solution can eliminate the potential for human error by automating the forms selection process, ensuring the right documentation is completed every time and anywhere a patient presents.  Furthermore, patient demographic data can be pre-populated on electronic healthcare forms with forms automation, saving your staff time from having to handwrite this information on every form.  This solution can automatically produce bar code identifiers on forms as well, eliminating the need for blue cards or a manual labeling process.

Electronic healthcare forms and forms automation can relieve many burdens from your staff, allowing them to devote more attention to delivering friendly customer service and a stress-free patient experience.

Limit the Frustrations of Rework with Deficiency Management Tools


Employee Satisfaction: A healthcare employee smiles at her desk.

Implement healthcare technology solutions that will improve employee satisfaction.

There is nothing more irritating than finishing a job, only to have to redo it due to errors or missing information.  Healthcare solutions that enforce data and documentation standards during registration can improve patient encounter accuracy by assisting registrars in capturing correct and complete information from the beginning, for every patient registration.

Preventing errors during registration can save employees from the hassle of rework that must be completed to fix earlier mistakes.  You can further improve employee efficiency with a deficiency management tool that continuously monitors each patient encounter, during registration and beyond, and flags errors and routes them to staff for resolution before they can snowball into lengthy rework down the road.

When it comes to employee satisfaction, it’s important to provide your staff with the proper tools to help them do the best job possible and take pride in their work.

Engage Employees with Incentives and Recognize Achievements


But don’t stop at improving employee satisfaction; be sure to address employee engagement as well.  Engaged employees are not only happy with their jobs, but also aware of their own impact on the organization’s reputation and are motivated to positively contribute to it.

Engaged employees feel appreciated by their managers.  Recognizing employees for their achievements can go a long way in showing them they are a valued part of your team.  One way to measure registrars’ accomplishments is by monitoring their level of patient encounter accuracy relative to their peers.  Consider healthcare solutions that provide managers with performance report cards for all registrars, and start an incentive program that rewards those with the top scores.  Often the motivation behind incentives has more to do with being acknowledged for hard work and with the healthy sense of competition they create, than with the actual reward received.


When employees are engaged, their positive attitudes and strong work ethic can have a favorable influence on patient satisfaction.  But if employees are not engaged, they may begin to explore other options for employment.  And remember, patients also have options when it comes to where they obtain care.  Implementing healthcare solutions like the ones mentioned above can help you increase both employee satisfaction and patient satisfaction, improving your retention rates for both groups.


By Stephanie Salmich