Ask 'star' registrars: Educate struggling staff

A team of patient access specialists consisting of top performers, role models within the division, and lead personnel offer a wide range of expertise and experience to registrars at Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte, NC, reports Christina Baugh, supervisor of PRN registrars and Patient Financial Service Specialists for corporate patient access.

"The benefits have been substantial and an absolute win-win for staff and our organization," says Baugh.

Registrars have markedly improved their communication, leadership, and registration skills and have received focused training in the areas of collections, customer service, and productivity, she says. "We have been able to respond quickly and effectively to training opportunities identified for registrars," says Baugh. "Our specialists and management team bring any concerns to the forefront. We can act quickly to bring our registration staff up to speed."

Here are some benefits of this approach:

• Registrars are more likely to voice their training needs to their peers than to outside trainers.

Typical questions involve how to determine the correct plan codes, how to request the correct amount from a patient, and how to address patient complaints. "Registrars are very receptive to the feedback given," says Baugh. "The rapport and respect that is established by our high performers allows them to work very well with new hires and existing registrars."

• Peer-to-peer education has increased collections and productivity.

"Understanding that 'quality always comes before quantity' is the main thing that we try to instill in new hires," says Baugh. "The speed will come. You must understand what you are doing and why you are doing it."

Baugh gives real-time feedback to help registrars increase collections or answer tough questions from patients, and she is seeing fewer quality assurance mistakes. "There is increased understanding that productivity increases on the backend when we, as registrars, 'get it right' on the front end." (See related story on teaching "tricks of the trade" to registrars, below)

Sources

For more information on utilizing top performers to train registrars, contact:

• Christina Baugh, Supervisor, Corporate Patient Access, Carolinas HealthCare System, Charlotte, NC. Phone: (704) 512-5449. Fax: (704) 446-4141. E-mail: christina.baugh@carolinas.org.