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Payer updates or provider processes often are to blame for inefficiency in patient access. This makes it very tough to measure or improve productivity for anyone.
“Understandardization is both internal and external to the revenue cycle,” says Brett Light, PMP, director of optimization for patient access and financial clearance services at Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, CA. Here are some examples:
“When we expect our patient access staff to navigate these inconsistencies, we are setting them up for frustration, burnout, stress-related workers comp, and turnover,” Light explains. Most registration areas are far less productive than they could be. “The total cost of this decreased productivity is significant,” Light laments. “But most importantly, it is a key driver for decreased patient satisfaction scores.” Fairly or not, patients frustrated because of delayed care and registration wait times will blame patient access.
To assess productivity, patient access leaders usually rely on work queue reports such as missing registration fields, ancillary order verifications, and observation status notifications. “But it is equally important to look at indicators that patient access cannot control to see the full story on productivity issues,” Light says. Some examples:
“For many patient access leaders, tackling these external challenges can feel overwhelming,” Light notes. He suggests these three approaches: