Thriving amid the transformation in healthcare
Part 1, Engaging the Changing Patient:
Clinic administrators are sandwiched in the middle between the challenges of today’s patients and burned out healthcare providers. However, the future is not so grim; there are many ways to engage your patients that foster both better outcomes and a better bottom line. The clinic administrator can help the office be better prepared. Here are just a couple of suggestions:
- Engage your patients regarding their health: Understand that patients today are more complex, because many have not had consistent access to routine healthcare. They will need more information on managing co-morbidities and it’s important to show that you can help them learn how-to be an active partner in their recovery and then manage their good health.
- Engage your patients on the new-normal of financial liabilities: Train staff on the front end to coach patients about the total cost of healthcare. Today’s high deductibles are really high, several thousand dollars, and in more and more cases should be collected up front, instead of following past practices where patients are billed after collecting from insurance companies. This brings with it a new sort of sticker shock to the patient and also a new sort of risk on the part of the practice. Many practices are just now realizing that their largest payer can sometimes be the patients, themselves. I call it screening patients before scheduling. Before care is given, these items are a MUST from each patient:
- Proof of insurance coverage
- Collect deductible, up front, and
- Have a credit card, on file, for each patient.
- Offer consumer financing options, in case a large deductible or co-pay out-of-pocket is not feasible for patients.
Patient communication is more critical than ever during this transformation in healthcare. Make sure that everything is in writing and that patient policies as well as reliable education sources are clearly communicated on your website, and other specific places. There is a lot of opportunity for successful patient engagement and the clinic administrator can lead the way.