No question about it, we are living in a digital era. Technology has improved and shaped nearly every facet of society and industry. One of the biggest drives for improved technology in healthcare is the recent push towards more patient-centric care models.
There are several steps that a healthcare provider can take to significantly increase the amount and timing of cash collections from patients and at the same time increase patient satisfaction. In essence, embracing newly developed technologies and strategies in patient “order to cash” processes, healthcare providers can emulate the payment efficiencies of traditional and Internet-based businesses.
Strategies to collect cash
Consider doing business with your hospital from a patient’s perspective. Are you as efficient in handling the financial part of the patient services as you are with the quality of the service?
Consider the following:
- Implementing or expanding automation of the Order-to-Cash (O2C) cycle. (Quote/O2C normally refers to the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) process of taking a patient request for services, providing the service, generating a patient invoice, and then collecting payment.)
- Standardize your procedures for patient service quotation and order management.
- Integrate order entry, credit, billing, and collections.
- Investigate benefits of event management and automated alerts.
- Centralize patient risk information in a single location.
How Technology is Used to Increase Patient Satisfaction
Modern Healthcare recently reported on an emerging trend where doctors are using the technology built into the patient portals to allow patients access to read their own doctor’s notes. While most physicians that work in health centers that put this idea into practice were skeptical before going live with this system, many, such as Dr. Michael Conroy, chief medical officer of Sacramento-based Sutter Medical Foundation, were surprised that no negative outcomes have been reported since the new system implementation. Dr. Patrick Cawley, is the executive director and CEO of Charleston, S.C.-based MUSC Health. This facility is one which recently began piloting open note access within a small group of physicians, and this is what he had to say about the change:
“It’s really all about quality and patient satisfaction, and the most important thing is patient engagement. You can do a lot to educate a patient, but unless they really want to work with you, meaning engage with you, it’s hard to get that patient better.”
Healthcare is a service but also a business. Managing your cash flow is critical to the cost of service but also a component of patient satisfaction in terms of customized payment plans to fit your patient needs.