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Technology Revs Up Revenue

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, May 24, 2011

Wouldn't it be nice if someone gave you $206,817.63—simply because you asked for it? Well, that's more or less what happened at the Houston-based Richmond Bone & Joint Clinic.

"We were missing a big opportunity at our check-in desk to address balances in advance of the patient's visit," says CEO Juliet Breeze, MD. "So we would check the patient in and because the check-in people were so busy, they would sometimes forget to talk to the patient about the balance that we already knew was due."

The practice installed check-in kiosks that are integrated with its payment management system. The kiosks alert patients to current and past balances—they can pay with the swipe of a credit or debit card. Patients who don't pay can't complete the check-in process without speaking to a financial counselor.

At the end of the first year, collections were up nearly $207,000—a 5% increase. Breeze says she's also saved on the cost of sending out paper bills and on salaries, as fewer FTEs are needed to staff the front desk now.

The clinic is one of many healthcare organizations that is using technology to increase revenue and reduce costs before the patient ever sees the doctor.

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