We know you’re reading this to find out how to improve your revenue cycle, but a quick question first. Wrong appointment schedules, duplicate electronic records, denied insurance claims: what do these three problems have in common? If you guessed ‘medical practice,’ you would be right. However, the answer we’re looking for is ‘patient identity errors.’
Errors in patient identity contribute to denied claims, appointment mix-ups, and so on. According to a 2018 study by Triple Tree, about 50% of denied medical claims occur during patient registration. Another industry survey reports 12% of patient records are duplicates. Subsequently, these patient identity errors result in the loss of revenue, or at least a slow revenue cycle.
3 Ways to Minimize Patient Identity Errors to Improve Revenue Cycle
To reduce patient identity errors and better your revenue, you must improve your patient identification systems to collect accurate data. Outlined below are some helpful strategies.
1. Collect Accurate Data from the Get-Go
Imagine a mix-up in patient identity that leads to diagnosing a patient with bacterial pneumonia when they just have the flu. Maybe not as disastrous, but patient identity errors during registration can have a similar impact on your bottom line. Inaccurate and incomplete data can lead to confusion of patients, their addresses, and even bill collection. For instance, inaccurate insurance details of a patient can result in a claim denial, and medical bills can be sent to the wrong address. In the end, you expend additional resources to locate correct information or simply write-off the revenue you’re unable to collect.
Yes, stretched thin staffers can and do result in unintended errors. However, you must put systems in place to ensure the collection of accurate patient data during registration. It’s way cheaper than resolving the discrepancies in patient identity which can sum up to a hefty sum annually; think what operational upgrades could have been done instead! And, a 2018 Black Book Survey revealed that resolving problems associated with duplicate patient data could cost medical providers an additional $1,950 per patient!
2. Automate the Data Collection Process
Minimizing patient identity errors that lead to revenue loss is a lot easier when you automate all your data collection processes. An automated platform can streamline the registration process and reduce errors that occur when data is collected manually. Also, it can simplify your data and present them in visuals that can be reviewed and interpreted at a glance.
Furthermore, with the right automated tools, updated data will reflect automatically across all interoperable health systems when errors are fixed, unlike when they are fixed manually. Hence, automation enables all your staff to access the same information in real-time, thereby preventing repetitions and conflicting information. For instance, say a medical doctor adjusts or corrects a patient’s CPT code, it would automatically reflect in the billing office.
3. Monitor and Analyze Patient Data and Pattern
Monitoring and analysis are vital ways to prevent patient identity errors before they occur. Additionally, they can help test your existing systems for better patient identification and ensure they’re working well. You can monitor multiple accounts across your revenue cycle, and with data analysis insights, determine the exact point in your revenue cycle where you’re losing money due to patient identity errors.
For instance, say you notice an increase in late payments when monitoring your revenue cycle. Analyzing the pattern can help you discover the type of patients that are paying late. Are they out-of-pocket patients, on Medicaid, or have employer-sponsored insurance? Then, with further analysis of the patients’ data, you can find errors on time and prevent negative impact revenue consequences from occurring.
Bottom Line – Enhance Patient Experience
Overall, a better patient identity enhances your patient experience. Outstanding patient experience includes not having to resolve denied claims due to errors, or receiving the wrong treatment or being turned over to a debt collection agency. It is common for collection agencies to hear from patients “Why am I just now receiving a bill? That isn’t even my address!”
Given the growing number of self-paying patients today, your medical practice would not thrive with a patient identity system that stresses patients. Many self-paying patients wouldn’t stay loyal to your practice if they have to deal with the consequence of patient identity errors every time. Therefore, develop a comprehensive patient identity strategy – not only to improve your revenue cycle directly, but also to enhance your patient experience.
Click to learn how adding this strategy can help enhance the patient experience.