More on Billing and Collections

Mayo Clinic exec: Good billing lifts patient experience as cost and care merge

Patient satisfaction has become much more tied to costs as consumers pay more out-of-pocket for their healthcare expenses.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

ORLANDO -- According to Yvonne Chase of the Mayo Clinic Arizona, solid revenue cycle strategies can improve the patient experience from the point of access to post-discharge.

"Pre-service and communications set the tone for the entire encounter," Chase said during the Healthcare Financial Management Association 2015 National Institute conference Tuesday.

Chase recommends a phone call after the bill has been sent out to see if the patient has questions.

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They can't always answer the questions, she said, but it helps ensure that whatever good feelings the patient has received from their clinical care isn't lost when they open the bill.

[Also: Healthcare Finance at the HFMA Annual National Institute 2015]

Patient satisfaction has gained attention as consumers pay more out-of-pocket for their healthcare expense and shop around for care.

Citing a recent survey, Chase said 93 percent of patients who liked the billing process were satisfied with the clinical, whereas those unsatisfied with billing reported 63 percent satisfaction with their clinical care.

"There's nothing more important in healthcare than being empathetic," said Chase, who said she now understands the experience first-hand.

Chase, Section Head of Patient Access and Business Services, recently became a patient for hip replacement.

A good patient experience begins at access with an estimate of what services are covered by insurance and what is not.

"We've really struggled with this, getting the patient some estimation of what they're paying out of pocket," she said.

Patients want prior authorization done, prior to coming in, she said.

Topping the list of the ten most common patient complaints are wait times in scheduling and in the waiting room, unsympathetic or uncaring staff, lack of coordination of care, poor or ineffective treatment, and billing problems, she said.

To make sure healthcare providers are giving and getting clear and accurate information, calls are recorded, she said. This includes referrals, calls with physicians, pricing hotline estimates, patient calls on the nurse hotline and customer service calls.

Twitter: @SusanMorseHFN