From appointment scheduling to physician and nurse contact to healthcare revenue cycle management patient representatives, the root of patient complaints is poor communication.
Rev cycle management collections aren’t separate from the patient experience - they’re central to it. That means best practices to strengthen healthcare payment processes can benefit every part of the process.
We’re big fans of the folks at Bill Gosling Outsourcing, so we teamed up with them for a webinar to talk through how improving what call center agents do when communicating with patients about healthcare debt touches all parts of the process.
Benefits to clinicians
While outsiders might think the patient experience begins and ends inside the exam room, rev cycle teams know it all connects.
“Keeping the customers happy leads to a virtuous cycle, where, if you keep the customers happy, they will pay. And they’ll be likely to recommend friends and do the things that you ask them to do as a provider,” said Shantanu Gangal, CEO and Co-Founder of Prodigal.
Benefits to administration
Finding better solutions, Gangal explained, is about margin improvements that have a larger impact on the company and on medicine as a whole.
“A lot of the back office stuff is about the cost center and your ability to do things efficiently. Your ability to have the team focus on the most valuable things drives productivity that you can plow back into investments on research and the medical side.”
On the flip side, when payments and billing goes awry, it can damage reputations at best, and lead to formal complaints and legal action at worst.
“Serving patients ineffectively is bad enough, but if it leaves a bad taste in their mouth, that has ramifications around optics, around changing patient expectations, and around legislation on surprise bills,” Gangal said.
Benefits to patients
In a recent post about managing healthcare RCM challenges, we mentioned ecommerce has trained patients to expect frictionless financial experiences.
That means finding ways to improve rev cycle ops in order to improve patient satisfaction. Notes on previous calls, for instance, can have a huge impact on the quality of communication.
“Incomplete notes lead to where a patient feels that they are repeating the same thing again and again to five different people, and none of them have any idea what has happened in the conversation so far, lead[s] to a bad experience,” Gangal said.
Software that can automate and standardize notes is not only a time- and effort-saver, but guarantees agents will be able to find clear information quickly to inform and improve their conversations with patients.
Benefits to call center leadership
It’s not news to anyone that hiring is tight right now. And that also makes training and retention complicated.
Steve Copeland, VP of Sales at Bill Gosling Outsourcing, explained, “The most important thing that we drive with [software] is a reduction in ramp time. You can ramp them up and make them productive really, really, quickly, and that transforms how you can alleviate some of your hiring constraints.”
“The good thing is machine learning is at a point where you actually completely can replace a lot of the drudgery that accompanied the back office in many of these roles, and essentially have machines do the heavy lifting. So you can support the same book of business with maybe half or one-third of the headcount,” Gangal added.
Benefits to agents
Patient customer service representatives and RCM collections agents have a tough job, and it keeps getting tougher, Copeland said, especially due to new regulations coupled with shifting patient expectations.
“Call flows are getting more tricky, they're getting more specific to making sure that the specific segment of the company's patients or members are getting handled in a very specific way. There’s no longer a cookie-cutter approach. And that has actually increased training time of the agents and put more stress on the agents.”
Bill Gosling Outsourcing leans heavily on technology to help agents - coaching them and automating note-taking - allowing representatives to guide the conversation and connect with patients without administrative distractions.
Getting to the win-win
Partnering with a leader like Bill Gosling Outsourcing that uses Prodigal’s human-led, AI-powered consumer finance products is a win for everyone in the healthcare revenue cycle.