Your registrars soon will be telecommuting

Patient access is the ‘next frontier’

Would you consider having some of your registrars work from home? Some organizations are successfully doing this, reports Keith Weatherman, CAM, MHA, associate director of service excellence for the corporate revenue cycle at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, NC.

“Having pre-admitters work from their homes has reduced turnover, sick time, and increased the morale of those staff members,” he says. “Technology has made that possible.”

Working from home has many advantages for the employee and the employer, and it might positively impact staff recruitment and retention, according to John Woerly, RHIA, CHAM, FHAM, senior principal at Accenture Health Practice in Indianapolis, IN.

“Although this may be commonplace in other industries and even within other healthcare disciplines including medical coding and transcription, it is relatively ‘uncharted territory’ within patient access,” says Woerly. He estimates that less than 10% of patient access departments allow registrars to work from home.

However, as the market for highly qualified staff becomes tighter, patient access leaders will need to consider offering this option to prospective hires, he predicts. Patient scheduling and financial clearance activities, including pre-registration, insurance eligibility/benefit verification, pre-certification/authorization, patient liability estimation, financial counseling, and pre-service collections, may be “the next frontier,” says Woerly.

“Various technologies would need to be in place to successfully support this endeavor,” he cautions. These include workflow management tools, online insurance eligibility/verification tools, patient liability estimators, online credit care/payment processing tools, Wi-Fi and phone systems, and computer work stations, says Woerly.

“HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] guidelines and other security measures should be reviewed to ensure full compliance,” adds Woerly.

Sources

For more information on allowing patient access employees to telecommute, contact:

Keith Weatherman, CAM, MHA, Associate Director, Service Excellence, Corporate Revenue Cycle, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Winston-Salem, NC. Phone: (336) 713-4748. Fax: (336) 716-3153. Email: kweather@wakehealth.edu.

John Woerly, RHIA, CHAM, FHAM, Senior Principal, Accenture Health Practice, Indianapolis, IN. Email: john.woerly@accenture.com.