3 Changes That Deliver a Greater Patient Experience
As a healthcare provider, nothing is more important than the care you provide your patients. As a healthcare financial leader, nothing is more important than creating a healthy, sustainable, and profitable organization. Both goals rely heavily on the ability of your organization to provide patients with the healthcare experience they expect--and deserve.
In order to deliver the ideal healthcare experience, leaders must analyze their current processes and identify areas where change can impact greater outcomes. We explore three areas to begin your assessment.
1. Changing core processes
Effective change management begins at a high level. Leaders take a bird’s eye view of the core organizational processes and dive in from there. Core processes within a healthcare organization could include revenue cycle operations, patient flow, workflows, and patient care, for example. From each of these, a more granular analysis will begin to uncover where challenges and obstacles lie.
Let’s take a look at revenue cycle operations, for example. A deeper dive into the revenue cycle process could expose a wealth of information about the financial health of your practice. Data about outstanding patient balances, claims denials, and average days in A/R could reveal that this core process needs restructuring.
Outsiders’ perspectives are effective in identifying areas of weak performance. In a financial health assessment of your organization, for example, bring in leaders from other areas to lend their opinion and expertise. In the end, a healthy revenue cycle is not only important to the success of your organization, but to the health of your patients.
2. Changing culture
Equally important to assessing core processes for change, assessing the overall attitude and culture of your organization is critical. Organizations suffer when a weak culture exists. Culture can take many forms in a healthcare organization. It applies to the attitudes of employees and the organizational structures in place, and it greatly affects your patients’ experiences.
To gauge how your patients feel about their healthcare experience--from first check-in to long after their visit--take a pulse survey. A short survey will give an idea of where patients feel their experience with your organization could be improved. It is also easy to administer and collect if you use the proper technology.
If cultural change is holding you back from delivering the experience your patients expect, then find ways to change it. Culture is something that every organization should take stock of on a regular basis. It matters to you and your employees, and it matters to your patients.
3. Changing your toolset
While you assess areas that need improvement in your core processes and organizational culture, think about what tools are holding you back from delivering a greater experience. In an assessment of revenue cycle operations, consider what tools you are currently using, how effective they are, and if other tools exist that could deliver better results.
Patient-facing technology has become essential in the healthcare revenue cycle. Due to the complexity of health insurance plans today, patients have a greater need to be involved and engaged in their entire healthcare experience--particularly the financial experience. Patients feel a sense of relief when they understand what their benefits cover and their financial obligations. They are more inclined to make payments when they receive transparent communications of their benefits and are provided with convenient payment methods. Convenience and transparency have therefore become tenets to live by when delivering a quality healthcare experience.
Evaluate your current toolset. Prioritize a plan for change. Identify technology that will improve the healthcare experience--for your organization and your patients.
The biggest obstacle in change management is not identifying areas of change, but in implementing plans to change. Change management relies on leadership’s ability to prioritize plans for change in areas that will have the greatest impact on the patient experience. The patient experience--from patient care to patient billing--is the key to the health of your organization and your patients. Keep patient expectations top of mind when embarking on any course of change.