With the ubiquity of social media and the ease of global connected-ness, it’s easy to think that long wait times are not a nuisance to patients. After all, the vast majority of people these days seem content spending time with their smartphones, tablets, and other devices.
Yet, a long patient wait time is not good. It’s poor practice management. So, while it’s true that at least a modicum of wait time is expected when patients visit your office, why not take advantage of that time to engage your patients?
You may be thinking that this is a great idea. But you also might be wondering how to do it. You and your staff barely have enough to time to see all of your scheduled appointments in one day as well as do all your in-house medical coding and billing – where are you going to find the time needed for patient engagement?
We have a solution: outsource your medical billing duties.
Many medical practices that do their own medical billing and coding often find that they don’t have time to properly engage patients and keep them proactive about taking care of their own health.
But by outsourcing this to a professional medical billing and coding company, you’ll find that your patient management will improve. You and your staff will have more time to devote to other parts of the practice that will improve your patients’ experience as well as your bottom line.
Furthermore, with more than many years’ of experience helping the practices with their medical billing and coding, Coronis can actually help you develop a plan that will enable you to provide patient engagement that’s focused, helpful, and enjoyable.
Even the smallest attempt at patient engagement will improve the quality of their experience and your practice management. This helps patient retention and increases profitability.
Here are 5 ideas to consider for engaging your patients:
Many practices consider this almost as an afterthought – and it shows. Yet, this is what patients will notice later when their friends and family ask about their experience with you.
You don’t have to go overboard in this realm, as simple things are usually all that’s needed. For example, make sure to keep a variety of magazines in a wide range of genres so people always have something to read.
A television and free WIFI access are virtually mandatory these days; not having either is like having a Stone Age practice. You might provide drinking water or even coffee and tea.
A little bit goes a long way.
Patients are busy, so why not provide pamphlets or brochures reminding them of how to take care of themselves when dealing with a specific condition or which preventative steps they could take to protect themselves from future health issues.
Examples include the following:
- You might provide reminders of how to protect against sun damage on their skin
- You could provide information on the dangers of not taking insulin as a diabetic
This not only provides value and knowledge but also subtly motivates them to be proactive in their own behavior.
This is another overlooked idea but it shouldn’t be; consider the times you realized after a patient left your office or after you submitted a claim that you didn’t have the correct or updated information.
Patients move or change phone numbers frequently, so take this opportunity to update a patient’s address, phone number, email address, and insurance information. While your patients wait, you might offer them a chance to review and/or update their information.
This is invaluable but you have to be ready to receive criticism as well as to respond to patient feedback. Perhaps have patients fill out a survey or maybe allow them the chance to drop feedback in a suggestion box.
You’ll have to be all-in on this, though. An unresponsive doctor or staff will likely make any patient good will disappear, especially if there is a problem.
Patients might have many questions, especially on medical billing issues. So, be prepared to help them if they have questions such as the following:
- Outstanding balances
- Financial assistance
- HSAs (tax-deductible health savings accounts)
- Treatment plan schedule
The Benefits of Outsourcing Your Medical Billing
Deciding to outsource your medical coding and billing isn’t easy, especially if you’ve never done it before or haven’t even considered it until now.
However, there are many benefits that will improve patient engagement and practice management. Among the most important are that your reimbursements will improve, which leads to an increase in your bottom line.
Here are a few more benefits:
- Reduced testing and diagnostic costs
- Fewer elective surgeries
- Patients more likely to better follow prescribed treatments
- Greater patient satisfaction
- Better patient knowledge and understanding of their health
- Patients make more, positive health-related behavior changes
- More transparency, which leads to a higher level of trust