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Communication Key to Patient Experience

Helping someone to understand the portion of a medical bill that will become their “patient responsibility” can be challenging and time consuming for healthcare providers.  Even though, on the surface, it doesn’t appear that this should be much of a concern to the provider; the reality is that it concerns them a great deal.  Why is that?

As a patient is moved along through the provider’s accounts receivable process, they often become aggravated with a system they do not understand.  The unfortunate reality is that frustrations with the health insurance industry are often taken out on the provider.  Recent surveys showed as much as 85 percent of those dissatisfied with the payment and billing process also gave healthcare providers low “satisfaction scores”.

That being the case, healthcare providers want to do anything they can to help the patient through the accounts receivable process.  This can mean explaining a patient’s deductible and co-insurance to them and how this will impact them financially; or, it could mean helping a patient to locate an insurance plan that is beneficial to them.  This standard of helpfulness can drastically improve the chances that the patient will say they had a satisfactory experience.

Obamacare has been a source of confusion for many since its inception.  Although the most recent open enrollment is said to have gone more smoothly than the previous year, it appears likely that the newly insured will have many questions for providers.  In 2006, after Massachusetts enacted healthcare reform, many hospitals doubled their staffing level for these departments and kept them at that level for at least a few years.

But locating, hiring and training staff members to fit the provider’s culture can be extremely time-consuming and costly.  Some look within their organizations for individuals that have the right skill set to work with patients at that level, however, others have successfully used business process outsourcing for this function and have reported high degrees of patient satisfaction.

“Mnet Financial acts as an extension of the provider’s billing department” said CEO of Mnet Financial David Hamilton.  “Our call center representatives are extremely well trained regarding health insurance.  They understand how healthcare insurance works, so they are ready, willing and able to help the patient understand as well” said Hamilton.  

“Because we only work within the healthcare world, our reps are well known for their ‘patient friendly’ approach to customer service” said Stacy Vink, Collection Manager of Mnet Financial.  “Our first priority with patients is to work with them to help them understand where they stand regarding their medical bill and how the amount they owe was calculated” said Vink.  

“Communication is the key to a positive patient experience” said Hamilton.  “Once our reps are able to fully explain where the patient stands, we can move forward with solutions for resolving their medical debt” Hamilton stated.  Accessibility and the encouragement of two-way communication clearly create a situation where both the patient and the provider find a greater level of satisfaction.

Last modified onThursday, 12 February 2015 19:06

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