Staying one step ahead: How data and analytics can help predict patient responsibility and improve collections

Published: February 11, 2014 by J. Scott Milne

There aren’t too many situations in which an individual purchases a product or service, but is NOT asked to pay for it right away. Healthcare, however, is somewhat unique in that regard, often avoiding a retail-based experience where patients receive service, but pay quite some time later, whether in full or the balance.

Not surprisingly, this approach often times adversely impacts healthcare organizations in many ways. Best-case scenario, patient payments, while unpredictable, are received, but not in a timely manner and after a good deal of effort on the collections staff’s part. Worst-case scenario, the organization is left holding the proverbial bag, forced to write off bad debt, when payment could have been received if handled differently. In between, there are poor cash collections, increased revenue cycle costs and lower patient satisfaction.

Organizations can avoid this perfect storm with a more precise approach to optimizing patient revenue. By leveraging tools that empower and improve upfront financial counseling communication, healthcare organizations stay one step ahead by accurately predicting patient responsibility payments and enhancing pre-service collections. When fueled by data and analytics, these tools offer a powerful two-pronged approach to minimizing risk and driving revenue:

  1. Avoid patient payment delays. Without knowing what insurance companies allow, many providers postpone collections until payer reimbursement is received. Healthcare organizations should instead have access to the latest contract terms, payment rules and fee schedules in order to identify patient and payer responsibility much earlier in the revenue cycle.
  2. Increase time-of-service collections. By proactively using patient payment data and current payer contract terms to calculate the amount owed by the patient at the time of service, organizations can effectively collect either a portion or all of that payment upfront.

In the end, data-driven estimates of patient payment responsibility allow healthcare organizations to capture more revenue at the right time and boost cash flow. An added bonus is enhanced patient satisfaction because there are no confusing bills or ongoing collections calls, enabling a more personal experience for the patient.

Hospitals have an opportunity to use data and analytics to improve the revenue stream and patient satisfaction. Learn about how Experian Healthcare Patient Responsibility Pricer can improve your collections on the front end of the revenue cycle and enhance the overall the patient experience.

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