Increasing patient engagement and reducing care costs (both for patients and providers) are two of the primary goals for many healthcare facilities – and it turns out the two go hand in hand.
Though electronic medical record software has helped practices streamline workflows, automate healthcare revenue cycle processes, and better manage patient care, health IT systems cannot revolutionize the healthcare industry on their own. Medical professionals must also make a greater effort to engage patients and make them more active participants in their health.
The reason this is important is that patient engagement is proven to reduce costs and improve quality of care – both of which will benefit your practice’s healthcare revenue cycle in the long-term. Here’s how:
Empowered patients are more likely to follow treatment plans than those who are apathetic – and patients who do so tend to get better faster. Patients who fail to adhere to their specified treatment plans, on the other hand, have a higher likelihood of being readmitted to due to infections and other complications. This can end up costing your practice more money or result in a delay in payment, as the care costs might not be covered by the patient’s insurance.
In order to improve care, healthcare organizations can also provide:
Educational resources: Practices can make materials available online through an online portal, for example, or physicians can send email newsletters to patients with pertinent information. These resources help make patients more aware of their health condition and educate them on how to treat it. Both are low cost solutions that can increase awareness and reduce readmissions.
Self-service options: Making check-in kiosks available in the waiting room can significantly benefit patient engagement, as it gives patients a more participatory role in the healthcare process. Check-in kiosks also allow patients to view their billing statements and make payments. This makes it easier for patients to pay their bills and also frees up staff for other tasks.
Is your healthcare organization using other patient engagement tactics for the benefit of medical accounts receivable? Share them with us.
Amanda Guerrero is a content writer specializing in EHR, healthcare technology, and Meaningful Use. In addition to maintaining her own health IT-related blog, she contributes to websites such as HealthTechnologyReview and HITECHAnswers.net.