The intense competition in the healthcare industry is triggering unprecedented benefits to the patient fraternity. While the quality of medical care has improved by leaps and bounds, patients now, have choices and alternatives just in case they feel deterioration in the perceived level of medical care. This sudden shift in favor of patients means physicians will now have to devise ways in not just attracting patients but also retaining.
One of the prime factors in patient-retention has always been the quality of medical care. However, with most of the physician practices conforming to the benchmarks in quality, support services are emerging as differentiators. Therefore, as much as keeping their quality of medical care unblemished, physicians will need to engage their patients with complementary services throughout their stay at the facilities. Consequently, a full-pledged and competent support staff becomes inevitable in complementing physicians’ efforts to promote retention and engagement of patients. Amongst chores of clinical and operational duties that these support staff attend, following are deemed more pertinent to the objective of patient engagement and retention:
- Scheduling an appointment:
Patients often feel it difficult to schedule an appointment with their doctors owing to doctor’s busy schedule. While it may be true that doctors are always pre-occupied with some medical emergency or the other, yet it is the duty of the support staff to accommodate slots so that patient need not go disappointed with not having to schedule an appointment with the doctor/s they feel more secure with.
- Making their stay comfortable:
Patients often complain of support services during their stay in the medical facilities. This will have a serious impact on patients’ decision to come back again. Therefore, support staff, along with administering clinical duties as per doctor’s advice, should also make patients feel at home.
- Follow up on the progress post discharge:
Most physician support staff deems it complete once the patients are discharged from the facility. But, medical care concern goes beyond that; patients will be happy if they are enquired of the progress post discharge. Moreover, it kind of restores their faith in the medical facility from which they had derived medical care.
Physicians would not have been concerned if they had only to assign these services as part of their endeavor to engage and retain patients. But, the fact that most of the support staff’s energy is spent on billing and negotiating claims with insurance companies, there is a likelihood of adverse impact on physicians’ main objective of patient engagement and retention to augment dwindling practice revenues. The thought of expanding the base of support staff to augment medical billing too is losing its relevance owing to heavy implementation cost associated with mandatory EHR, and the ensuing ICD-10 & HIPAA 5010 compliant clinical and operational practices.
In such a scenario, physicians would do well to entrust their support staff with only clinical functions, and outsource medical billing, and Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) services from competent and credible sources. Medicalbillersandcoders.com – being the largest consortium of medical billers and coders in the U.S – is resource-rich in dispensing valued-added services in medical billing and RCM. Its comprehensive suite of medical billing and RCM – comprising patient scheduling and reminders, patient enrollment, insurance enrollment, insurance verification, insurance authorizations, coding and audits, billing and reconciling of accounts, account analysis and denial management, A/R management, and financial management reporting – is ample proof of its competence.