The most crucial financial and operational headaches of a healthcare provider that can lead to money as well as time lost are timely collections. For instance, according to a recent survey it has been observed that patient collections for 74% of providers are taking more than a month. The receivables of patients indicate their primary revenue concern for two-third of providers.
What Is Patient Engagement?
It is a partnership between the clinical professionals and patients with whom they connect. Practices communicate and engage the patients in their care & patients share to manage their conditions as well as making decisions.
Doctors and nurses aren’t able to reach out and give options or information. Patients are not engaged if they don’t contribute and respond to manage their health.
Additionally, it is also not enough for a patient to reach out to a doctor or bring questions and collect information for them. Patient engagement doesn’t build if a provider is not encouraging healthy habits, stimulating patient involvement, and providing education.
Both sides need to commit and communicate regularly for patient engagement to thrive.
Significance of Patient Engagement in Healthcare:
Healthcare providers are professionals since they feel patients must follow their piece of advice. Various researches show if patients play a role in making decisions, they can form a strong commitment and greater understanding to health or healing maintenance procedures.
It can be cost-saving and you can yield improved patient outcomes if the patient engagement rate will be higher. According to a previous study, patients were divided into 2 teams.
One team received enhanced support from the providers while the other team received usual support. Across multiple metrics, this report shows the outcomes generated from patient engagement.
This study revealed that both provider and patient can impact patient outcomes and healthcare costs through patient engagement.
Current Problems with Patient Engagement:
Ranges of factors like the proliferation of high deductible plans force patients to assume a high amount of their own medical bills. Consequently, it can lead to an increase in patient financial responsibility.
Moreover, there are many factors associated with patient collections that lead to additional problems with paper-based, manual processes. In various ways, many practitioners fail to keep pace with advanced technology.
For example, according to the survey, 73% of practitioners utilize manual procedures and paper for check-in. And 88% of providers rely on paper-based or manual transactions to collect the financial responsibility of patients. Or only 23% of practitioners provide statements electronically.
Therefore, the inability of providers is costing patients to engage them more. Furthermore, patient engagement relies on two major elements: understand the needs of patients as well as connect patients with the resources that help them to fulfill those needs.
In the payment process, patient engagement plays an important role. Providers can enhance their collections by taking the steps to better engage their patients.
There are many challenges behind improving risk management strategies and achieving patient engagement in your medical practice. Hence, for a successful patient engagement barriers can arise from both providers and patients.
Barriers on the Patient Side:
Patients hesitate to seek proper treatment due to high medical costs.
Patient’s Cultural Background:
They feel uncomfortable asking advice or medical questions.
Some patients hesitate to take the necessary steps for improving their health due to a lack of motivation.
Patient’s Education Level:
The lower level of education may cause a hurdle for patients to understand the medical treatments, processes, and data.
Barriers on the Physician Side:
Lack of Modern Technology:
Often providers fail to get familiar with the advanced technology due to multiple factors.
Lack of Time:
They lack the required time to allocate more than 10-15 minutes due to increased practice, administrative burden, and other duties.
Lack of Training:
They do not have proper training of new online tools and investing in training costs their practice more money.
Lack of Patient Feedback:
The patient is left feeling overwhelmed while the provider may feel they have provided appropriate medical education. Miscommunication may become commonplace without asking your patients what they think.
Strategies to Improve Patient Engagement:
- Encourage patients to be involved and well-informed in maintaining/improving their health. Maintain patient-provider relationships with clear and frequent communication.
- Provide patients with peer support when they are diagnosed with life-altering illness or other major health challenges.
- Between a provider and patient, there must be a shared decision-making process. It helps you to build trust with your patient and ensure them that their preferences, as well as needs, are understood.
- Give your clients access to user-friendly patient portals where they can easily submit their queries to their physicians and view their updated health information.
- Utilize visual aids to clarify the patients about healthcare decisions in the form of videos and diagrams. Provide both patients and their families proper informational content and materials about the treatment options/outcomes. This enables patients to have a clear view of the care they are receiving.
When an interaction between a provider and a patient occurs. It can enhance the ability of the patient to engage with the healthcare system and improve the patient experience.
Moreover, advanced technology and innovations have enabled the practices to access health services or data and enhance delivery. A practitioner must ensure the coordination of care across the continuum.
Moreover, there are the following steps that help providers to mitigate the potential damage to revenue while helping patients get the care they need.
Develop a Price Transparency Plan Now:
- Educate your staff on how to have efficient financial interaction with their patients. This may include soft skills like compassion and listening.
- Keep your staff updated with the upcoming and current legislation for further process improvements.
- Help your patients better understand the healthcare costs by recommending them self-service tools.
- Ensure your administrative staff understands and communicates the information to patients. Leverage tools so patients can understand their responsibility.
Create a Patient-Centric Collections Strategy:
- Provide flexible payment plans.
- Offer multiple ways to pay such as digital payment tools, online payment portals, and automated phone systems.
- Use communication tools for payment notifications according to the customization of each patient’s preferences.
- Create statements that are concise, clear, and easy to understand.
- Create a consistent patient financial experience by ensuring all departments are following the same collections practices.
Choosing the Best Partner for Your Practice:
Professional medical billing specialists can provide a full suite of value-added services and innovative solutions to improve patient engagement. You become able to enhance patient care through analytics, coordination, care management, decreasing the costs of the care delivery.
Partnering with industry experts can help providers elevate the patient’s financial experience, improve price transparency, and achieve their collections goals more effectively and fastly.
The best vendors should be able to:
- Work with providers to strategize, launch, and maintain all facets of the financial journey of patients.
- Provide actionable insight by delivering in-depth analytics for continuous improvement.
- Offer technology that integrates seamlessly with workflows and existing systems of providers.
- Manage the entire collections process by providing a comprehensive suite of solutions from eligibility confirmation to patient estimates to payment options.
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