The month of February is a time for cultivating relationships and appreciating others. But, have you ever considered how building the relationship between your front-office staff and your patients can add to your bottom line year-round? By mobilizing your non-clinical staff to be even more efficient with your patients’ time, you can increase the productivity of your practice significantly. Seeing an additional 2-3 patients a day at $80 in revenue per patient could mean an extra $5,000 per month – or $60,000 per year! It turns out, showing your patients a little TLC can also pay!
How should you accomplish this? Divide the patient experience into three stages: the pre-visit, the office visit, and the post-visit, and encourage your staff to optimize each one. Here’s how:
- The Pre-Visit: The patient experience begins with the first call. The key to making the most of the pre-visit is to collect as much patient information as possible over the phone before the patient comes to the office for their appointment. A receptionist with a friendly demeanor should take the patient’s insurance, payment information and past medical history information while scheduling the appointment. The receptionist should also remind patients that payment is due at time of service. If the patient is scheduling an expensive procedure, suggest a payment plan that will be adjudicated at time of service. If done properly, the pre-visit kicks off the revenue cycle before the patient even sets foot in the office. By having most of the important information on file ahead of time, you can eliminate needless waiting time during your patient’s visit. Not only will patients appreciate your office’s respect for their time, they will appreciate understanding their payment obligations ahead of time. You will increase your revenue because you’ll have time to see more patients who are prepared to meet the financial policies of your practice.
- The Visit. Make it easy-breezy for patients. The patient visit should be focused on patient health and the opportunity they have to spend quality time with you, their provider. Because your staff has taken steps to optimize the pre-visit, you’ll be able to transform the dreaded “waiting room” into a “welcome center,” a place where patients are greeted and then quickly ushered to the exam room to begin their visit with you. Train your staff to warmly acknowledge patients even if they are busy with other tasks — we all know that eye-contact and smiles are important! Hire staff who are well-versed in customer service and give them opportunities to train the rest of the staff. Take cues from other industries by implementing the use of scripts and other methods to standardize the patient experience. Is your front office staff empathetic, patient, and trained on the latest in billing and coding? If not, these are all opportunities for additional staff training and career growth for your employees.
- The Post-Visit. Tie up loose ends. By this point, most of the hard work has been done. Before the patient leaves the office, instruct staff to make it standard practice to ask them if they’re clear on any clinical instructions you have provided, or if they need more information or clarity. The goal is to cater to patient concerns and alleviate any areas that waste time, so that you can see more patients who are happier and healthier, thanks to you.
Want more info on this topic? Check out Privia’s new podcast, The Break Room. In the first episode, We chat with Maureen Clancy, Privia’s Vice President of Revenue Cycle Management, on how to create a high performing practice.