Encouraging Front Office Staff to Embrace Patient Revenue Cycle Tools: A Three-Step Approach
Stop me if you have heard this one before:
You: a smart and savvy medical provider who has spent some time investigating revenue cycle management tools for your medical practice and made the decision to adopt a software-based solution. Now, your front-office staff ho-hums the entire deal and doesn’t utilize the technology to its full capacity. How do you encourage them to buy into changing the way your revenue cycle is handled?
Step One: Discuss the Challenges in the Current System
Before introducing a patient revenue cycle solution to your front-office staff, encourage a frank and open discussion regarding possible challenges in the way your practice currently manages the revenue cycle. Make note of the top complaints and anxieties of your employees, then address them directly as selling points your new patient revenue cycle solution offers when introducing the new system.
Employee Concern: Your current check-in processes are inefficient and lead to lines of annoyed patients crowding the office.
Solution:: Multiple studies have shown that strategically-placed kiosks can speed up check-in and registration processes by up to 50%, reducing office congestion and lessening front-office staff stress.
Employee Concern: Verifying patient demographic and insurance coverage information takes time away from other important front-office tasks.
Solution: Patient revenue cycle solutions actually work as digital assistants for your front-office staff by taking over tedious tasks such as demographic information verification, insurance coverage checks, and payment processing. When the burden of tiresome administrative tasks is removed, support staff can devote more time and attention to patient engagement.
Employee Concern: It can be awkward and upsetting for support staff to request large and/or unexpected payments from patients.
Solution: With a patient revenue cycle solution in place, employees are no longer saddled with making awkward patient payment requests. An effective solution will prompt patients for co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance amounts and communicate patient payment responsibilities including residual balances transparently and privately.
Step Two: Address Change Anxieties
Employee Concern: Let’s face it—change is hard. Adopting new technology can be especially intimidating to employees. Front-office staff may be understandably worried that changing to a new patient revenue cycle management system will take too long to adopt and learn, resulting in an unwelcome disruption in workflow.
Solution: Any effectivepatient revenue cycle solution will seamlessly integrate with your current Patient Management System (PMS) through a quick installation process offering a user-friendly interface. In addition, the solution should have the ability to be customized with your practice’s visual branding, ensuring a cohesive patient experience.
One important point to note regarding the adoption of a new software-based patient revenue cycle approach is that the workforce (and therefore your front-office staff) is increasingly dominated by millennials, a generation who appreciates and even expects technology to manage most aspects of their daily work responsibilities. It is very likely that millennial employees will enjoy better job satisfaction and engagement when you adopt a software-based RCM solution.
Step Three: Provide Incentives
The ultimate goal of the first two steps listed here is to communicate the benefits of a patient revenue cycle solution while at the same time making employees feel heard and valued. Now is the time to turn your front-office staff into ambassadors who will introduce the system to patients and encourage them to use it.
First, take the time make sure that each support staff member understands how the patient revenue cycle solution works and why it is beneficial for patients.
Second, it is absolutely crucial to use incentive programs to reward support staff who publicize the new system and “sell” it effectively to patients. You may choose to provide individual rewards such as gift cards for gas or restaurants, or you could opt for group incentives that reward the staff for working together as a team to promote use of the new system. Experts suggest that non-monetary team rewards work best. For example, you might have staff work towards a special group outing such as a team dinner.
By following this three-step approach, medical providers can ease the change-related concerns of support staff while improving patient net collection rates and medical practice operating income.