NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s report, “Top Challenges for Medical Practices: Results and Observations from the 2015 Practice Readiness Survey”, a survey of nearly 500 healthcare professionals and the common problems of practice management they anticipate to be most challenging in 2015. Download the full report
Thinking about post-visit communication with patients, which of these common problems do you feel will be most challenging to your practice in 2015?
Here is how survey participants responded along with some additional thoughts on the top three ranked answers:
#1 – Limited staff to focus on A/R accounts
Top answer for: Cardiology, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics
Staff time limitations were a recurring theme throughout the Practice Readiness Survey. Specific to past due balances, many organizations have adopted a blended strategy of automated and manual outreach in which staff members or agents focus on high-dollar accounts or those with a lower propensity to pay. Automated notifications are delivered to early-stage, low balance and higher propensity to pay accounts, covering the “low hanging fruit” while offloading these contacts from the to-do list of manual calling teams.
#2 – Low recovery rates from A/R accounts
Top answer for: Family Practice, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Urology
Respondents in many specialties listed this as their top challenge over staff bandwidth concerns. Much work has been done in recent years to establish best practices around the scripting of communications to accounts throughout various stages of the A/R cycle. It is recommended to experiment with scripting of outreach to past due accounts to make sure patients are aware of convenient payment options, clear up any confusion about amounts owed and build a sense of urgency into the need for action. Alternatively, partnering with vendors who have established best practices in A/R communication scripting can potentially be a more successful approach.
#3 – Inefficient communication of test results
The two most challenging factors here are heavy inbound phone traffic and creating “phone tag” between providers and patients. Inbound phone traffic often occurs when anxious patients call the practice to learn test results before those results are available. Practices often spend valuable time fielding these requests that distract from other important tasks. Since results are not left on answering machines or voicemail, phone tag between the staff and patients in hopes of a live conversation can be a challenge as well. Practices have cited success in providing patients with self-driven online access to their results as a means of overcoming these challenges.
Additional challenges listed:
- Increasing functionality and usage of our patient portal
- Following up to gauge patient satisfaction with their visit
- High volume of patient follow-up calls