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Improve Revenue Cycle Management with Patient-friendly Medical Billing

by | May 11, 2016 | Blog, Medical Billing

Patient-friendly Medical BillingIn a time of rising health care costs and increase in patients’ financial obligations, it’s only fair that patients understand what they are paying for and why. For physicians, adopting patient-friendly medical billing practices improves revenue cycle management. By making billing statements more clear, concise, accurate and patient-friendly, physicians can also expect to improve their reputation, and gain more word-of-mouth referrals and positive customer reviews on social networks.

According to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), the benefits that accrue from patient-focused healthcare billing include:

  • Greater patient satisfaction
  • Better informed and more medically compliant patients
  • More accurate medical billing statements
  • Fewer patient queries about billing statements
  • Improved collections of billed amounts
  • Faster collection of patient balances

A medical billing company can provide physicians with valuable support to increase patient collections and help them heir manage revenue cycle. On their part, physicians need to adopt best practices to collect patient balances without confusing or annoying them.

Patient-friendly Billing Tips

Effective communication: A customer-friendly billing process is one which ensures that patients are informed about their financial obligations both before and after treatment. Communication can be improved by arranging for dedicated customer service personnel to answer patients’ queries about billing. Educating patients about their responsibilities to meet their financial obligations is also important.

Clear and concise communication: Financial communication should be presented clearly and in a manner that it is well understood by the patient. Avoid complicated medical terms in the billing statement. Hospitals and physician practices can improve clarity by consolidating all the balances due from a care event into a single, consolidated statement. Multiple bills can be confusing and lead to slow or no pay.

Accuracy: Physicians’ offices should have a system in place that can provide patients with an accurate estimate of their total out-of-pocket costs. Relying on professional medical billing services will help avoid errors, duplication and incomplete information in financial statements.

Take patients’ needs into account: All administrative processes and communications should take the needs of patients and their families into account. Patients should be informed of their financial obligations at the time of admission or registration. In a 2014 TransUnion survey, 75% of the respondents said that pre-treatment estimates of out-of-pocket costs would improve their ability to pay for healthcare. Informing patients about their benefits and coverage for specific medical procedures before the service is provided is an essential part of the insurance verification and pre-authorization process. It is best to avoid communication of financial information during the consultation.

Accepting payment in installments will make things easier for patients who have difficulty paying the entire balance immediately.  Payment flexibility also helps physicians collect balances, which would otherwise be difficult to get.

Coordination with insurers: Information about patient balances should be collected in coordination with payers and other providers to ensure efficiency.

Internal Audits: This is important to optimize internal processes. Relying on an established medical billing company to manage patient enrollment and entry of demographic information would make the registration process efficient and help validate information in the practice management system.

Professional Support to Improve Patient Satisfaction

Outsourcing billing tasks to a reliable medical billing company can help. These companies have dedicated and knowledgeable personnel who use proven methods to create a better medical billing system and make it more patient-responsive. With a reliable partner, physicians can improve revenue cycle management, cut collection costs, and reduce bad debt.

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