Educating patients on how to navigate the billing process is essential in creating a positive patient financial experience.
April 23-29 is patient experience week, and HealthLeaders is helping to celebrate by spotlighting the hard work revenue cycle leaders put into creating a positive patient financial experience at their organizations.
During HealthLeaders’ Patient Financial Experience Summit last week, Mary Neal AVP of revenue cycle at Ochsner Health, and Savanah Arceneaux, director of pre-service and financial clearance at Ochsner Health, chatted with me during a summit session about how to create and streamline patient education resources in order to increase patient satisfaction among challenges such as the No Surprises Act.
Between complex billing statements and good faith estimates, revenue cycle staff have a lot on their plate when it comes to helping patients navigate these multifaceted and arduous statements. And at a time when a poor financial experience can negate a five-star clinical experience, revenue cycle leaders are under more pressure than ever to streamline processes for their patients.
So what are the keys to remedying this? Neal and Arceneaux say it ties back to patient education on all aspects of the revenue cycle, but payer and cost education can make the biggest difference.
“In recent years, payers began shifting more financial responsibility to the patients, and that's been a big challenge. This has really prompted us to look at our long-term strategic vision for how we can make this experience more consumer friendly by opening that digital front door and giving patients various options for them to gain resources and education on their plans,” Arceneaux said.
This has led Ochsner to embrace services and technology that get them closer to the patients and make that connection before they even come in for their visit.
“It can be challenging being a patient-centered organization while we are attempting to collect what is being owed to us, so we want to be able to do this while involving our patients at every step. We want them to be financially informed prior to their visits so that they are feeling satisfied when they come in,” Arceneaux said.
Another way of doing this is providing education around their good faith estimates as well.
“If you can get in touch with the patient two, three, or four weeks ahead of their service and provide them a proactive estimate of their service cost, that allows a lot of time for our staff to research questions, maintain a dialogue about pricing, and help the patients understand,” Neal said.
“It really helps to break things down for the patient prior to services rendered, so you can avoid the ‘here's your bill, this is what you're stuck with now.’ When that happens, there's a little bit less recourse and it can make the patients feel powerless since they've already had these services rendered,” Neal said.
Make sure to watch the entire session here.
Interested in improving the patient clinical experience too? Make sure to also check out the educational session, How to Improve HCAHPS Scores, which features Ghazala Sharieff, MD, MBA, corporate senior vice president of hospital operations and chief medical officer at Scripps Health as well as Brooke Horne, MPH, executive director of patient experience at Providence.
Sharieff and Horne discuss a range of issues related to improving HCAHPS scores. Two of the top topics are improving physician and nurse communication scores.
Amanda Norris is the Associate Content Manager of Finance, Payer, Revenue Cycle, and Strategy for HealthLeaders.
April 23-29 is patient experience week, and HealthLeaders is helping to celebrate.
At a time when a poor financial experience can negate a five-star clinical experience, revenue cycle leaders are under more pressure than ever to streamline processes for their patients.
So what are the keys to remedying this? Revenue cycle leaders at Ochsner Health say it ties back to patient education.