Featuring: Susan Milligan | Director, Patient Experience
Patient experience has a critical impact on patient retention and overall satisfaction of patients and providers.
As care delivery options increase and patients become more selective about their choice of healthcare providers, patient experience is becoming increasingly important to consider across all touchpoints in the care continuum, not just clinical.
Ensuring a positive patient experience means not talking about financial obligations or payments upfront, right? Wrong.
There is a common myth that if healthcare organizations implement best practices for revenue cycle, like collecting at the point of service, patient experience scores automatically drop.
The truth — if you lead with empathy, engagement and empowerment you’ll successfully improve point-of-service (POS) collections while simultaneously improving patient satisfaction scores.
Discussing financial liability with patients upfront isn’t just about telling them how much they owe — it’s about helping them be informed about their financial responsibility, helping connect them to financial aid, determining if they are eligible for discounts and helping them set up payment plans if needed.
Nothing will kill patient experience faster than getting a bill two weeks after you’ve been seen and not knowing it’s coming.
Confusion leads to failure to pay and adds unnecessary stress to the patient. A successful point of service conversation results in payment and provides education to patients.
6 Tips to Improve Your POS Collections + Patient Experience
01 Develop an overarching vision to implement or increase overall POS collections, and ensure there is strong executive support.
02 Plan interdepartmental initiatives to ensure an associate- and patient-centered implementation including stakeholders from across the organization, not just patient access teams.
03 Set standards and expectations for leaders and associates to drive accountability, consistency and overall program adoption. Provide process documentation and scripting for all locations and areas to ensure consistent conversations are taking place.
04 Establish cohesive training and education so teams fully understand the program. Empower your associates to be subject matter experts. Ensure training covers patient experience, service recovery, insurance verification, benefits and POS scripting.
05 Ensure the right tools are in place. A real-time eligibility tool integrated in your HIS provides real-time answers to key questions — Is the patient eligible for insurance? What’s the deductible? What has the patient already paid?
A patient liability estimator is critical to provide real-time estimates on out-of-pocket liability instead of just collecting on remaining deductibles or strictly co-pays.
Thorough reporting ensures you can track how far you’ve come, where your opportunities are and where to focus efforts with reports like daily collections, missed opportunities and estimate accuracy. Ensure you’re monitoring collections and patient experience so neither degrades.
06 Focus on real-time resolution — don’t let patients leave unhappy.
The most important thing is to never abandon the efforts.
Stopping once you start can be damaging to your organization’s reputation. Making these conversations part of your daily routine, supporting financial advocacy for patients and clearly outlining benefits prevents unwelcome surprises and creates a positive experience for your patients.
Susan Milligan, CHAM, CRCR, is the patient experience director for Ensemble Health Partners. Informed by her experiences in healthcare and as the mother of a child with Down syndrome, she is passionate about helping healthcare organizations improve their patient experience through empathy, empowerment and engagement.
These materials are for general informational purposes only. These materials do not, and are not intended to, constitute legal or compliance advice, and you should not act or refrain from acting based on any information provided in these materials. Neither Ensemble Health Partners, nor any of its employees, are your lawyers. Please consult with your own legal counsel or compliance professional regarding specific legal or compliance questions you have.