Hospitals' Lean Journey Starts with Baby Steps

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media , April 11, 2011

The collection process wasn’t any less manual either. Collection calls were made and payment information was taken over the phone. Then, the collections employee brought the information to the cash office, and it would be entered into a credit card terminal. If the card was rejected, the file would go back in to collections. If the card was accepted staff had to mail the patient a receipt for the transaction.

Kim Denhof, business manager for NOCH’s extended care services, says “just going to the bank, from start to finish, was 45 minutes every day and two people had to be involved in the process.”

Moreover NOCH lacked the ability for patients to pay online, via debit card, or to set up recurring automated payments. In short, posting, reporting, and reconciliation processes were rife with inefficiency.

As with our diet scenario, NOCH recognized that this was an easy area to take a first step at improving process. The hospital added a patient payment and remote deposit software program from InstaMed, and saw a 44% boost in collections. Plus it saved 20 hours of staff time each week.

“The individual who was responsible for making the deposit before now does it remotely, and it’s freed them up to work in our accounts receivable and outstanding accounts issues,” said Denhof. 

Additionally, Oomen says patients who pay over the phone now receive a receipt via email instantaneously and they can complete the transaction while the patient is on the phone. They also can set up recurring payments with a debit card.

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