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Managing the healthcare revenue cycle was a challenge even before COVID-19 hit U.S. shores. With the pandemic, providers now have the extra challenges of the need to minimize physical contact, potential financial stress for patients, and the ongoing fiscal challenges for providers themselves. But one upshot of the pandemic has been increased awareness of digital solutions to these problems.
The following are 3 keys for healthcare providers who want to optimize their revenue cycles in 2021 and beyond, both during and after the pandemic.
Streamline Verification of Patient Benefits and Eligibility
One of the primary hurdles in healthcare reimbursement is avoiding denials by payors. This means providers must ensure they accurately verify the patient’s eligibility for benefits, as well as the scope and extent of those benefits.
It has long been customary to conduct this verification during the patient visit. But benefit and eligibility verification can also be done before the patient visit, through patient pre-registration.
Pre-registration can cut down the risk of patient confusion about any amounts they will owe. In addition, it either streamlines or eliminates administrative tasks that usually occur during patient check-in. Not only does this increase efficiency for the hospital or medical practice, pre-registration also reduces the amount of time patients must be in the office – an obvious concern in the coronavirus era.
Help Patients Pay with Multichannel Payment Options and Automation
Providers should also look for methods of easing the way for patients to make payments simply and efficiently. One approach is allowing patients to pay via multiple channels, through convenient solutions using modern technology. Another complementary approach is to use automation to send patient reminders and even implement automated payment plans.
In terms of payment channels, online point-of-service (POS) payments should be a ready option. Online payments are another alternative that allows for real-time delivery of funds without the hassle and administrative burden of mailing checks – and without patients needing to be physically present. However, the prevalence of cell phones provides even more opportunities. A provider can implement systems for patients to pay via text message or over the phone, through a 24/7 payment system such as interactive voice response (IVR).
Digital automation can be used to send payment reminders and collect on payment plans. This increases payment flexibility for patients and cuts down on the amount of manual work for the provider’s staff.
Utilize Reporting to Formulate Strategies for Revenue Cycle Optimization
In optimizing your healthcare revenue cycle, any provider will need to analyze its patient and payment data in order to come up with overall strategies. This is where analytics and reporting are essential.
Which payment channels do your patients use, and which ones result in the most effective collections? What are the causes of payor denials? What are the denial trends? Questions such as these are difficult, if not impossible, for a busy provider to answer accurately without robust reporting. And if reporting is in place, it is ideal for those reporting tools to be customized to each provider.
While maintaining the health of their patients, providers must also maintain the health of their revenue cycles. Although this has been challenging during the COVID pandemic, various digital solutions such as those above can allow providers to thrive. To see how BillingTree can enhance your revenue cycle with superior healthcare payment processing, request a demo today.