New Solutions for the New Year

New Solutions for the New Year
Discover Tips and Tools to Achieve Your Revenue Cycle Goals for 2010

The New Year is almost here, but are the 2010 resolutions that you have in mind for your healthcare organization “same old, same old”? With the turn of the calendar brings changes to health insurance plans, altered benefits and renewed deductibles. Are you repeating resolutions to improve cash flow, clean up your registration processes and better connect with patients on matters of payments and collections—just like last year?

Here are some solutions to help you achieve your 2010 revenue cycle resolutions.

Resolution: Help frontline staff improve efficiency and get more accurate information
Solution: Invest in training and incorporate intuitive, interactive tools to guide staff to success throughout the registration process

In 2010, invest in training so frontline staff can better perform registration procedures. As the industry continues to evolve to Consumer-Driven Health Plans (CDHPs), frontline staff must effectively obtain accurate, usable and thorough information from patients. With the constant rise in CDHPs, patients are acting more like payers making them responsible for a larger percentage of their healthcare costs. Getting the best, most complete patient data is core to increasing cash flow and the overall health of your revenue cycle. Prioritizing the training of frontline staff will ensure long term success. These core members of your team need the knowledge and skills to not only use the tools of technology but to effectively engage patients at the point of access.

Equipping frontline staff with proper tools to use throughout the registration process is also important in the New Year. Seek out the most current technology solutions for Patient Access, especially those with simple interfaces designed to logically and quickly guide the registration process to capture pertinent patient information. Consider integrated solutions so that information attained at the first patient encounter is not isolated, but instead connects seamlessly with other aspects of the revenue cycle and throughout the entire span of a patient’s care.

Resolution: Communicate better with patients about services, financial responsibility and billing and payment up-front
Solution: Create proactive payment responsibility estimates and incorporate clear, concise statements and collection options

To finally break through the barriers of communicating with patients about costs and payments associated with care in the New Year, providers must move to a more retail approach to communicating healthcare costs. While providers are ultimately in the business of administering healthcare, there’s no negating the importance of positively, proactively communicating with patients about their expected costs and your billing and payment practices. Informed patients are not only more likely to pay in a timely manner, but they are also more likely to trust your entire staff throughout their encounter.

Start the New Year off by keeping patients informed incorporating the most accurate, thorough cost estimation tools possible up-front. Likewise, find patient billing and payment solutions, in particular patient statements and online payment tools, that are easy to use and created with consumer recipients in mind to address the back-end of your revenue cycle. Because today’s administrative and financial information is highly likely to be patient-facing, all facets must be easy to read and understand so as not to overwhelm or intimidate patients, but to clearly communicate financial responsibility.

Resolution: Increase point-of-service collections, reduce AR days and improve cash flow
Solution: Use technology to give frontline staff confidence to collect and patients alternatives to pay conveniently

As already mentioned, the role of frontline staff has never been more important and the necessity of up-front collections is certainly a big reason why this is true. Just as patients need accurate estimates in order to pay confidently, staff must have accurate information in order to effectively request and capture those payments during the registration process. Some of the aforementioned technology assists staff with up-front collections which can contribute to increased cash flow and reduced AR days.

Also, by providing patients with consumer-oriented payment alternatives such as credit and debit card payments, payment plans and online billing and payment, you will also make great strides in acquiring payment faster, shortening your revenue cycle and reducing your cost to collect. Consumer-oriented payment alternatives make it simple for patients to pay their bills, keep track of their accounts and assess remaining financial responsibilities. Moving this way in 2010 not only helps your patients, but this also helps your healthcare organization with AR days reduced as collections are positively impacted.

Emdeon’s suite of solutions are designed to help you easily navigate 2010’s changes in health insurance plans, deductibles and benefits. We’re resolved to guide providers into the New Year and always seamlessly Simplifying the Business of Healthcare. As the calendar brings change, let it also bring changes in how you do business. Make this your opportunity to tap into Emdeon solutions for all of your revenue cycle resolutions.