Break The Bottleneck: 5 Reasons to Embrace Electronic Patient Registration
Accurate medical and financial information are vital to providing good care to patients and important for enabling a medical group or health system to get paid for the care they provide. Registration and check-in are also two of the worst bottlenecks to patient flow, adding significant time for patients in the waiting room while they write down the same information that likely already exists in the EHR. Filling out countless pieces of paperwork with a germy pen and a grimy clipboard irritates patients and the daunting pile data-entry makes for disengaged employees who know there are better processes and better ways to contribute to the organization.
This is why Relatient developed eRegistration, an electronic pre-registration and check-in process that streamlines patient flow by allowing patients to complete their paperwork ahead of the appointment, like medical and family history, current medications, and insurance coverage, and submit all of it to the clinic prior to their visit using their phone or preferred mobile device. Patients can then check-in from a mobile device, notifying the office that they are waiting and ready to be seen.
eRegistration has the potential to change more than the patient flow in a practice, our customers tell us that digitizing patient intake is helping them retain their current patients and even draw new patients their organizations. If that seems too good to be true, take a look at these five reasons to embrace an electronic registration process.
It’s drives patient satisfaction. 97% of patients are frustrated by long wait times and on average, patients begin to feel like their time is being wasted after 20 minutes in the waiting room. It doesn’t take very much paperwork for a patient to rack up an extra 20 minutes in the waiting room, which means they are already irritated by the time they are shown to an exam room. eRegistration eliminates this manual process, so patients can get in and get out seamlessly.
It reduces denials. When registration information is incomplete or inaccurate, it complicates and delays reimbursement because it will ultimately result in a denial. Medical claim denials are time-intensive and require significant staff resources to resolve—think hours on the phone and on-hold with insurance in order to understand what was missing in the original claim. eRegistration gives healthcare organizations the opportunity to verify coverage and obtain financial clearance before the patient arrives for an appointment. Identifying gaps in patient information and coverage before the patient walks through the front door also means staff has the opportunity to gather missing information while the patient is easily accessible—preventing a denial and its costly rework.
It’s the most critical piece of the revenue cycle. Prior authorizations for ambulatory care are on the rise but often practices don’t learn that a patient’s insurance requires prior authorization until they register a patient or bill for the service. The result can include a denial, disruption in care, rework, and unreimbursed care. This means eRegistration has the potential to directly impact your bottom line because registration forms submitted electronically, before the patient’s appointment, gives clinic staff an opportunity to identify and complete the prior authorization requirements. This results in approved claims, reimbursement for the care provided, and better financial health for the organization. Better financial health means more resources for patients, everyone wins.
It protects patient privacy. It’s long been accepted that keeping patient health information on paper forms opens healthcare organizations up to the risk of breaking HIPAA and allowing PHI to end up in the wrong hands. First generation electronic registration vendors outfitted their customers with patient self-registration kiosks to ease the burden of filling out papers and to eliminate data entry, but this solution overlooked some key pain points of the patient journey. A mobile first eRegistration and Check-In process offers patients better privacy because they can complete all their forms from their own mobile devices and also because they can complete the process in their home, office, or any other location rather than being forced to complete it in the waiting room of the clinic or medical office.
It reduces overhead and allows you to better utilize your staff. Accurate patient information is so important that many healthcare organizations are paying full-time employees to manually enter patient data into the EHR. Eliminating the manual registration process means employees can shift their focus from menial data entry to patient-facing tasks that have a greater impact on a patient’s experience in the clinic. The better utilization of these FTE’s drives higher patient satisfaction, greater productivity, and helps eliminate non-value added tasks.