Staff work up to par? Keep them informed

Give frequent updates

Were departmental goals achieved or exceeded? If so, employees will feel a sense of accomplishment for a job well done, says Joy Wright, a patient registration supervisor at Lodi (OH) Community Hospital.

Setting goals for patient registration staff imparts an important sense of accountability and fosters teamwork within the Lodi's patient access department, she says.

"Everyone wants to succeed in their job. For our employees, it is important to recognize that each person plays a part in the life cycle of a patient," says Wright. "Patient registration staffs are the first 'touchpoint' in the patient encounter."

Accuracy and service excellence in the initial registration process allow patients to avoid burdens or frustrations with billing or insurance errors when they are at home healing. "This helps to provide a consistently smooth experience through the end of the patient encounter," says Wright.

Provide reminders

Wright keeps her staff informed through face-to-face encounters, and by distributing monthly "Reg Reminders." These are fact sheets designed to remind staff of areas of focus, to congratulate them on achieving goals, and provide any needed updates.

At times, Wright randomly provides chocolate or other treats for the department, which, she says, always serves as a morale booster.

Patient registration employees are often recognized in the hospital's GREAT program. This is a formal recognition program put in place to reward employees who provide outstanding service.

"The premise of the program is to help encourage employees to go above and beyond normal job responsibilities, to always put patients first and to treat everyone with respect," says Wright.

When someone provides exceptional service or helps out in ways that exceed expectations, a GREAT card is filled out. The employee earns points that can be redeemed throughout the year for gas cards, movie theater tickets, and other small rewards.

"Oftentimes, they are recognized by co-workers or management, but more important is the recognition that comes directly from the patients and the community we serve," says Wright.

Share overview

Point-of-service report cards are used to track performance of patient access staff at University of Pittsburgh (PA) Medical Center (UPMC). "This tool provides managers with an overview of staff scheduling and registration accuracy, as well as template utilization and claim denial information," says Colleen McMahon, senior manager of the integrated call center/UPMC physician service division, registration and scheduling.

Management uses the report cards to track the overall performance in point-of-service areas, which include the physician office front desks, she says. "We use them for scheduling and customer service reporting to the physician administrator, as well as internal departmental reporting for staff competency," says McMahon.

The hospital's central call center uses the report cards to discuss issues, problems, and errors with staff. "They look at a variety of call center goals and measurements that monitor call flow and registration and scheduling accuracy," says McMahon. "The staff are advised of the goals in each of these areas. They are held accountable to maintain or exceed the standards."

[For more information, contact:

Colleen McMahon, Senior Manager, Integrated Call Center, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA. Phone: (412) 488-4858. Fax: (412) 432-5370. E-mail: mcmahonc@upmc.edu.]