The Impending Patient Experience Movement

Revenue Cycle Management Solutions to Address Financial Aspects of the Patient Experience

“Patient Experience.” The term itself may be fairly new in the healthcare industry, but the meaning behind it has been around a long while.

Fifteen years ago or more, providers referred to it as “patient satisfaction” and conducted phone and fill-in surveys to gauge how those who received care in hospitals and health systems felt about their treatment. Next the industry took up the cause of “customer service,” directing staff to perceive patients as customers and to employ the tenets of great guest assistance. Turns out, those previous incarnations of this concept were just stepping stones on a path that is, at last, becoming a paved highway within the healthcare industry.

Today, the idea of “patient experience” is more important and meaningful than ever. Many providers are addressing the totality of patients’ interactions with their institutions, from pre-registration to discharge and beyond, as a paramount issue. Even after all the surveys, customer service programs and pep talks, the patient-institutional provider relationship remained less than satisfactory, and as the market has morphed to become a more consumer-driven arena, there’s no denying the essential nature of great patient experience in every point of contact and care as well as policy and procedure.

A new focus in the healthcare industry is making the patient experience a formally organized, institutional priority. In 2010, the industry experienced the inaugural Patient Experience Summit, as well as the launch of the first Association for Patient Experience. An October 2010 study on the topic by HealthLeaders Media indicates that 72% of providers have heightened the priority of patient experience from just a year ago. These milestones herald an industry-wide awakening. Patient experience is now officially a C-suite standard, a guiding mindset for every decision made and a defining differentiator for an institution in its field.

In the past, patient satisfaction programs were often maintained by the marketing department, perhaps supported by an interdepartmental committee that fielded inquiries, complaints and survey results. In today’s patient experience movement, the entire institution is involved and fundamental, foundational changes are occurring in all corners of hospitals and healthcare systems. There’s simply no stone that can be left unturned when seeking to provide the best experience for patients.

One important area that could be overlooked when improving the patient experience is the financial side of healthcare. Both insurance plan coverage and patient billing and payment are areas that should be highly impacted by the new movement, especially in light of the nationwide shift to Consumer-Directed Health Plans (CDHP). Because increasing numbers of patients have greater responsibility for the compensation for their care, if not all the responsibility, the industry has already started evolving to accommodate today’s consumer-patients. Providers are relying on responsive innovations to make financial communications and payment alternatives more patient-friendly, with the ultimate goal of better experiences all around.

Emdeon’s related services are excellent examples of current innovations to assist providers with the financial aspects of the patient experience. As a leader in Revenue Cycle Management Solutions, Emdeon has developed an array of services to boost providers’ administrative capabilities in the CDHP era. Just as the patient experience movement addresses the full circle of care, from pre-access to post-discharge issues, Emdeon’s solutions offer 360°, end-to-end solutions to help providers improve their patients’ overall financial experience at their facility.

Emdeon Pre-Encounter Analytics: Enables providers to help "triage" patients' financial situations before they arrive by quickly and accurately obtaining eligibility and benefits information. Batches of patient data for the next day's scheduled patients are sent to Emdeon before the start of business thereby eliminating any manual work and delays at the time of patient registration.

Emdeon Assistant: Simplifies patient registration through real-time automation of patient eligibility and benefits information verification tasks. Emdeon Assistant easily interfaces with most existing registration systems and channels efficient search requests to contracted carriers with responses generally returned in seconds minimizing patient registration wait times.

Emdeon Patient Responsibility Estimator®: Delivers quick access to estimates of patients' out-of-pocket expenses so providers can clearly inform patients of expected costs and collect or hold funds during scheduling, registration, at time-of-service or at check-out.

Emdeon Quick Pay: Provides convenient, real-time processing of physical and electronic patient payments during Patient Access to collect and process co-payments, deductibles, pre-payments, financial responsibility estimates or even outstanding balances before service.

Emdeon Patient Connect: Allows providers to leverage integrated patient billing solutions, print, online and point-of-service collection tools, to simplify, clearly communicate and automate remaining patient balances.

These Emdeon solutions represent the financial side of a more deeply integrated approach now being employed to achieve better patient experiences before, during and after service is rendered. Going far beyond initial customer service strategies, these patient-focused solutions extend fundamentally practical, compassionate support and true empathy for patients. Adding these kinds of services within the revenue cycle, providers are able to incorporate the concept of “patient care” beyond the clinical environment, into what was once perceived as impersonal, administrative interactions.

Discover Revenue Cycle Management Solutions to enhance the financial side of the patient experience by visiting us online or calling 877.EMDEON.6 (877.363.3666) today!

Want to get more involved in the patient experience for the industry? Join the Association for Patient Experience, a non-profit, multidisciplinary think-tank of healthcare representatives committed to advancing patient experience within their organizations. Email for additional information.

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