Increase Patient Volume with a Patient Tracking System
Posted on Monday, October 28, 2019
A patient tracking system offers numerous benefits that can help you increase patient volume, serve more patients, and generate more revenue. HealthWare’s patient tracking system, ActiveTRACK, is proven to do just that.
ActiveTRACK can increase patient volume and revenue while improving patient access to care.
Here are just a few ways our patient tracking system can increase patient volume:
Provides Real-Time Data
ActiveTRACK monitors patient arrival, registration, patient wait times, and clinical transitions to detect bottlenecks in real-time. This enables facilities to proactively adjust resources and staffing needs – rather than waiting until an end-of-shift report or patient complaint to react to issues that may be limiting the number of patients who can be seen.
ActiveTRACK also quickly identifies no-shows so that the facility can call these patients as soon as possible to try to get them in the same day or to reschedule.
Improves Patient Throughput
Facilities that are equipped to address bottlenecks in real-time operate more efficiently and greatly improve patient throughput.
In addition to finding bottlenecks, ActiveTRACK improves patient throughput by lowering patient wait times and registration wait times. In fact, it reduced wait times by 75% at an acute care facility in the Chicago Suburbs.
Our patient tracking system also notifies porters, clinicians, and staff regarding patient status and needs and can link the valet service to the discharge process. This ensures patients are not sitting around waiting for their vehicles, but that their vehicles are waiting and ready to go as soon as they are – vastly improving the discharge process and making a bed available for another patient much sooner.
Detects Scheduling Deficiencies
An acute care facility in the Chicago Suburbs used data produced by ActiveTRACK to significantly improve scheduling in the CT Department. ActiveTRACK showed that the average exam without contrast took 7.5 minutes and the average exam with contrast took 20 minutes. Yet, when scheduling these appointments, the facility allotted 15-30 minutes per exam.
Reducing the time allocated to each exam gives the facility the opportunity to schedule and perform 2-4 more exams per day.This equates to an increase of $1.9 to 3.7 million in potential revenue per year.
91% –The percentage of physicians who say the prior authorization process postpones patients’ access to necessary care.
28% –The percentage of physicians who say the prior authorization process has resulted in a serious adverse event for their patients (e.g., “death, hospitalization, disability/permanent bodily damage, or other life-threatening event”).
86% –The percentage of physicians who describe prior authorization burdens as high or extremely high.
Almost 2 Business Days (14.9 hours) –The average length of physician/staff time that is devoted to prior authorization requirements per physician per week.
36% –The percentage of physicians who have employees who work solely on prior authorization tasks.
Clearly, health systems face many challenges related to preauthorization. Patient safety is compromised when care is delayed. Patient and physician satisfaction are at risk as patients endure frustrating waits for treatment and physicians deal with administrative duties that disengage them from their medical work.
And not only can each prior authorization be costly, but excess costs are also incurred in the forms of extra clerical staff and rework when prior authorizations are denied and must be resubmitted.
According to CAQH CORE, 88 percent of prior authorizations are completed either partially or completely manually; and, the majority of preauthorization issues are related to manual processes.
Appealing to Millennial patients can help your facility keep up on the latest healthcare trends.
Appealing to Millennial patients is becoming increasingly important to a healthcare facility’s revenue cycle. Not only do they number 83.1 million and make up over 25 percent of the U.S. population, but Millennials are also driving new healthcare trends.
“We found that Millennials tend to want to have access to care right away, they want it immediately and they want to be able to see a doctor quickly . . . When they feel well, they don’t want to go to the doctors, and they don’t. So then when they feel unwell, they’re like I want to see a doctor right away and not wait for weeks for an appointment.”
Unfortunately, this trend has serious consequences. While many Millennials are health-conscious, they may be missing out on recommended eye exams, blood pressure screenings, PAP smears, STD/STI screenings, mental health screenings, and IBS/digestive exams, as well as failing to get vaccinations on time.
In order to help ensure Millennials receive the care they need, heed the healthcare trends that are appealing to Millennial patients. The following are a few ideas to help get you started:
Don’t Waste Their Time
Wait times – As noted, Millennials don’t want to wait for care. The following common scenario is definitely not appealing to Millennial patients: first waiting days or weeks for an appointment, then waiting 20-30 minutes in the waiting room, THEN waiting in the exam room even longer before the doctor actually shows up. To prevent this situation from occurring, implement a solution like ActiveTRACK, which can lower wait times by 75%.
Telehealth – Offering telemedicine appointments is another way to help Millennial patients save time, something they highly value. Millennials are technologically savvy and accustomed to immediacy and convenience, so telehealth options may be attractive to them.
Simplify the Financial Aspects of Healthcare
Payment plans – One factor that may be keeping Millennials from accessing healthcare is the high cost. Offering payment plan options so that they don’t have to cover the cost of a large bill all at once can help Millennial patients afford the care they need.
Price transparency – Millennial patients want to compare costs between providers and obtain out-of-pocket estimates before receiving care. They also want to understand their bills before they pay them.
Health insurance confusion – Many Millennials are confused about their health benefit options and medical bills. Clearing up their health insurance confusion can really help you stand out from your competition. An easy place to start is by educating patients that many plans cover annual physicals at no cost.
Stay Technologically Relevant
Online payment options – Millennials are more likely than older generations to pay their bills using technology or mobile devices and may see paper bills as inconvenient and outdated.
Interoperability – It is hard for a generation that grew up with constant technological progress to understand how healthcare has been unable to keep up. In other aspects of Millennials’ lives, data can be instantaneously transferred with a click of a button. Interoperability in healthcare will be expected too, and there is technology that can help you achieve it.
In other industries, Millennials are used to having many choices. They expect companies to offer convenience and respect their time, provide competitive and transparent pricing, and keep pace with changes in technology. Health systems can learn from these consumer-centered practices that are standard in other markets. Plus, these practices are becoming more attractive to other generations as well.
Appealing to Millennial patients will help your facility keep up on the latest healthcare trends, attract a large group of potential patients, and boost your revenue cycle.
4 Ways to Build a Culture of Patient Advocacy at Your Facility
Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2019
How can a healthcare facility practice patient advocacy? Of course, patient advocates offer wonderful support to patients. But providers can create a larger culture of patient advocacy at their facility as well by tackling a few key areas.
Here are 4 ways hospitals can support their patients and build a culture of patient advocacy:
1.) Address The Social Determinants of Health
Create a culture of patient advocacy with Patient-First Technology like ActiveASSIST.
Supporting your patients’ social needs is an incredible form of patient advocacy. It can also lead to better health outcomes and lower healthcare costs for your facility.
2.) Offer Financial Assistance Screening
A lot of patients don’t realize that financial assistance may be available to them. Many hospitals have changed their financial assistance policies to include not only the uninsured, but the underinsured as well.
Notifying patients of which programs they could qualify for demonstrates a great deal of patient advocacy. What really goes above and beyond, though, is facilitating the entire financial assistance process on behalf of your patients!
By exhausting all other payment options first, you also ensure the provider is payer of last resort.
3.) Alleviate Stressors Surrounding Costs and Payment
Larger-than-expected or difficult-to-decipher medical bills, as well as health insurance confusion, are major sources of frustration for patients. They can also result in unpaid medical bills and medical debt, or cause patients to forgo some health services altogether.
Reducing patient uncertainty concerning the financial aspects of their care would help you foster a culture of patient advocacy. Ensuring patients are financially cleared before arrival, generating estimates and identifying potential out-of-pocket costs, and setting up payment plans are all ways you can assist patients in this area.
What a perfect time to share educational materials and classes related to health insurance and financial assistance with your patients. Perhaps the best way to advocate for your patients is to help them develop the skills they need to advocate for themselves!
Each of these areas provides you with excellent opportunities for patient advocacy. Plus, there is a bonus: supporting any of these endeavors can ultimately improve your bottom line as well.
Practicing patient advocacy will help you support your patients, improve the patient experience, and offers financial benefits for all parties involved. Developing a culture of patient advocacy can truly pay dividends.
The Social Determinants of Health & Their Effect on Health Outcomes
Posted on Friday, August 17, 2018
The social determinants of health are increasingly on the radar of health professionals and health systems. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) even recommends this information be included in patients’ medical records.
Hospitals can utilize screening tools to collect patient data concerning the social determinants of health. While a provider may not be able to resolve all social issues faced by a patient, identifying them can help inform healthcare decisions. (Providers should also have a list of resources that attend to social needs available to provide the patient when asked.)
When health systems consider the social determinants of health when caring for their patients, all parties benefit. Patients have better health outcomes, communities improve, and health systems become advocates for their patients (improving patient satisfaction) while saving money. The social determinants of health not only impact the health of patients, but also the health of a hospital’s revenue cycle.
Social factors that influence patients’ health & healthcare decisions include:
Employment – A good job can provide a patient and his/her whole family with health benefits and insurance. Unemployment negatively affects physical and mental health.
Income – A steady paycheck allows a patient to pay for many of the other factors in this list, such as adequate housing, nutrition, and transportation, as well as healthcare costs. (Financial assistance screening tools can help patients find out if they qualify for charitable programs to help offset the cost of care, and enable hospitals to facilitate the application process for their patients.)
Housing – Poor living conditions increase the risk of infectious disease, injury, chronic illness, pest and mold problems, and indoor air pollution. And each year, 1.48 million Americans have no home at all. (Here are some examples of how hospitals can help meet patient housing needs.)
Violence – The area in which patients live also can affect their exposure to violence or abuse. Victims or witnesses to acts of violence may experience mental, physical, and/or economic consequences that affect their overall health.
Nutrition – A lack of consistent access to healthy food can negatively impact health outcomes and increase the risk of many adverse health conditions. Over 12.7 percent of U.S. households were affected by food insecurity in 2015. (Read our previous blog for more information on how to reduce patient malnutrition.)
Transportation – Access to reliable transportation can govern a patient’s access to medical care. Approximately 3.6 million Americans miss or postpone medical care due to transportation issues. (Check out these ideas for addressing patient transportation needs.)
Social Support – As reported by NPR, in a recent nationwide survey conducted by Cigna “nearly 50 percent of respondents” said “that they feel alone or left out always or sometimes.” Two in five respondents “felt like ‘they lack companionship,’ that their ‘relationships aren’t meaningful’ and that they ‘are isolated from others.’” Patients who feel unsupported are more vulnerable to poor health outcomes. (Read how physician empathy can generate better health outcomes.)
Language/Culture – Culture influences our beliefs about health and healthcare. A patient’s ability to communicate with health professionals may be impeded by language barriers.
Education –According to the CDC, people with higher levels of education are more likely to choose healthy behaviors and refrain from unhealthy ones. People with lower levels of education are more likely to be obese and more likely to smoke.
Sex/Gender – Many health conditions affect men and women differently and certain treatments may be more or less effective depending on the sex of the patient. Plus, men are less likely than women to see a doctor for a specific health concern, preventive healthcare, or a standard annual exam. (Consider these tips for improving male patient engagement.)
The social determinants of health are key to improving health outcomes and the revenue cycle.
It’s not difficult to imagine how the above factors might influence one another. The social determinants of health are interconnected and work together to impact a person’s health and healthcare decisions.
Patients whose social needs are unfulfilled are more likely to utilize healthcare resources at a higher cost (including the Emergency Department), be readmitted, miss appointments, and have poor health outcomes.
Educating your patients and their caregivers about preparing for a doctor’s appointment can benefit all parties involved. Patient preparation for doctor’s appointments improves patient engagement, produces better health outcomes, saves doctors time, keeps appointments on schedule, and improves the revenue cycle.
These tips for preparing for a doctor’s appointment will benefit both patients and providers.
Provide your patients with these tips for preparing for a doctor’s appointment:
1. Complete all forms before you arrive. – Call ahead and find out if there are any forms you need to fill out before your appointment. Instead of completing documentation in the waiting room, fill it out at home. This ensures you have plenty of time to finish without delaying your appointment. Plus, at home you will have access to any documents and information the forms ask for, which can be hard to remember on the spot. Also, don’t forget to bring your photo ID and insurance card (especially if you have a new Medicare card).
3. Anticipate questions the doctor is likely to ask.– If you prepare answers ahead of time, you can conduct a more efficient appointment and avoid wasting precious minutes trying to recall when your symptoms started, for example. You can find a list of common questions here.
4. Write down your questions in order of priority.– It can be easy to forget questions if you haven’t created a list. Start by asking the most important questions first, to make sure you get to them. Bring a pen and paper to write down the doctor’s answers.
5. Practice what you want to say. – Taking the time before your doctor’s appointment to state your concerns out loud can help you remember them and stick to the point. It can also make you more comfortable discussing personal and potentially embarrassing matters with the doctor so that you can resist any temptation to stretch or withhold the truth, which will impede your care.
6. Bring someone with you to the appointment. – This is especially useful if you are preparing for a doctor’s appointment that involves a serious, emotionally difficult issue. A friend or relative can remind you of the concerns you want to address, bring up appropriate follow-up questions, and remember the doctor’s answers and instructions, freeing you from these burdens during what can be an emotional time.
Patient preparation for doctor’s appointments is mutually beneficial for both providers and patients. These tips for preparing for a doctor’s appointment can help your patients maximize their limited time with the doctor and ensure they cover everything they wanted to discuss. Preparing for a doctor’s appointment also keeps patients on schedule, allowing providers to serve more patients and improve the revenue cycle.
Addressing Health Insurance Confusion to Improve the Patient Experience
Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Patients can become overwhelmed by health insurance.
Health insurance confusion is a major barrier to a good patient experience.
Hospitals are no strangers to the headaches that come with insurance reimbursement issues. Dealing with health insurance is hard enough for staff trained in the subject. Imagine the confusion your patients must face when they receive a medical bill or attempt to estimate what a medical service will cost them.
Acknowledging health insurance confusion and making this aspect of a patient’s visit easier can improve the patient experience and has many advantages for your facility, too.
In fact, a recent study by Lavidge had consumers rank healthcare marketing phrases by preference, with the phrase “We will handle all insurance matters for you” coming in second place. If you can make and fulfill this claim, you’ll attract and keep more patients and increase patient satisfaction.
But don’t stop there; consider going a step further by helping your patients apply for financial assistance as well. Many patients are unaware of the programs available to them, or that they may qualify for assistance. Think of how much more you can improve the patient experience if you simplify insurance AND the financial assistance application process for your patients. (HealthWare’s ActiveASSIST is a great tool for managing and tracking the entire financial assistance process.)
Happy Patient Access Week & Thank You to All Patient Access Professionals!
Posted on Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Celebrate Patient Access Week!
Patient Access professionals are extremely important to healthy revenue cycle management and are often the first people patients encounter at any healthcare facility. During Patient Access Week we celebrate their hard work and great value to the healthcare industry.
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
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.