How patient access software streamlines healthcare delivery

Published: August 30, 2023 by Experian Health


Could patient access software be the ‘most valuable player’ in healthcare?

Experian Health’s annual State of Patient Access surveys show an upward trend in the use of digital tools and software to help minimize the hoops patients must jump through to access care. In the most recent, 46% of providers said they expected to increase their digital investment over the next six months. The business advantages around increased capacity, reduced cancellations, improved data accuracy and higher patient satisfaction make a strong case for investing in patient access software.

This article looks at how patient access tools can solve for some of the most stubborn problems in patient scheduling, registration and payments.

Finding the formula for frictionless patient access

Revenue cycle management comes down to minimizing service utilization while maximizing revenue potential. This starts with patient access. Efficient scheduling, intake and financial processes means more patients get better care, sooner – and providers get paid for their services without delay.

Patient access software includes a range of digital and self-service tools that allow patients to complete administrative patient intake tasks with ease. Appointment management, patient registration, patient outreach, and patient estimates and billing are common use cases for patient access software. These solutions use in-depth data and automation to pre-fill patient information, check data for accuracy and completeness, tailor patient communications and accelerate workflows. Advances in AI and machine learning are creating new opportunities to remove obstacles in patient access and boost patient satisfaction.

5 problems that can be solved with patient access software

1. Painfully slow scheduling operations

 Problem: Too often, patient access processes are complex and time-consuming. Over time, small frustrations from errors, delays, and repetitive manual tasks can cause a significant decline in the patient experience. It’s unsurprising that 56% of patients want digital options to manage care and speed things up.

Solution: Patient access software makes it easier for patients to see their doctor without delay. For example, rather than being forced to call the provider’s office and wait for an agent to check for an available slot, patients can use online scheduling software to book, reschedule and cancel appointments whenever suits them best. This also alleviates call center volumes, easing pressure on staff.

2. Error-prone registration processes

Problem: Manual intake and registration systems are vulnerable to quality issues, resulting in denied claims, increased admin costs and delayed access to care. Illegible writing, incomplete insurance information and missing forms mean patients and staff must spend more time going back and forth to find and fix mistakes. And at the extreme end of the spectrum, data errors can lead to medical errors, with life-or-death consequences.

Solution: Automated patient registration can pull patient data from reliable sources and fill out basic details ahead of time, reducing the need for manual data entry. Preventing avoidable errors in this way improves communication, workflows and profitability.

For example, Registration Accelerator is a text-to-mobile patient intake solution that allows patients to complete appointment registration from the comfort of home. The patient takes a photo of their insurance card and driver’s license, and then optical character recognition (OCR) technology automatically enters the correct information for insurance verification. The patient can review and sign authorization and consent forms, and confirm their appointments all at once, with just a few clicks.

3. Excessive (and growing) admin burdens and staffing shortages

Problem: Patient access is admin heavy. This wastes valuable staff time and resources and diverts attention from patient care. With healthcare staffing shortages reaching emergency levels and patient volumes on the rise, providers must find ways to manage workloads while maintaining output.

Solution: By automating administrative tasks and expanding self-service options, patient access software takes the pressure off busy teams. In Experian Health’s survey, 36% of respondents reported that technological improvements offset staff shortages, by making better use of staff time and lowering operational costs.

Automated prior authorizations are a good example of how digital tools can help tame the admin burden. This software generates real-time updates for multiple health plans, so staff no longer need to cross-reference individual payer policies and websites. It uses exception-based workflows and guided work queues to help staff prioritize their activities.

Patient access tools can also issue performance reports, so staff can continue to find ways to work more efficiently. Cutting-edge technology also offers a less obvious but equally important competitive advantage – helping providers attract and retain high quality staff.

4. A patient experience that falls short of expectations

Problem: Unnecessary administrative obstacles, unclear communication, and slow processes result in subpar patient experiences. More than 6 in 10 patients don’t think their experiences have improved much in the last few years, despite the wider availability of digital patient access tools. Providers need a solution urgently, given that 56% of patients would switch providers for a better patient experience.

Solution: With automation and self-service digital tools, providers can finally put patients in the driver’s seat and deliver the patient-centered experience that has been promised for years. Patients say they want access and payment experiences to be convenient and transparent, with specific examples including:

  • Accurate pre-care estimates
  • Payment plans
  • Digital payment options
  • A multi-purpose portal
  • Mobile access for scheduling, registration, communications and care

Alex Harwitz, VP, Digital Front Door at Experian Health, says that while this list may seem daunting, providers have reason to be optimistic about delivering a better patient experience:

“Patients want a lot from the digital front door, especially younger and digitally savvy consumers. Speed, convenience and compassion are through-lines in our patient surveys. As expectations increase, so does the pressure on providers to deliver. But the good news is that technology is advancing too. There’s a wealth of patient access software ready to help optimize the patient experience. And you don’t have to implement them all at once: Experian Health’s patient access tools are specifically designed to work independently or in combination, for hassle-free implementation.”

5. Missed revenue opportunities

Problem: Missed appointments, billing mistakes and operational inefficiencies lead to avoidable revenue leakage. A significant portion of denied claims occur earlier in the revenue cycle, so improving patient access processes should be top of the list when it comes to optimizing revenue.

Solution: Revenue loss in patient access comes down to data errors, poor analytics and workflow inefficiencies. By leveraging the right software, front- and back-office teams can collaborate to resolve issues and enhance decision-making. Digital tools can also improve the patient billing and payment experience, so providers get paid promptly.

Upfront price estimates, payment plan recommendations and one-click payment options can make it easier for patients to understand and pay their bills. Implementing transparent and empathetic billing procedures not only enhances patient satisfaction but also accelerates the collection process. With Experian Health’s Patient Payment Solutions, providers can collect payments 24/7 via mobile, web and patient portals.

Maximizing revenue opportunities while meeting the changing needs and expectations of healthcare consumers calls for smart patient access strategies. Find out more about how Experian Health’s patient access software helps healthcare organizations lay the foundations for a solid revenue cycle and a positive patient experience.

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