Staff identified problems with estimation tool
Estimator tool benefits hospital and patients
Problems were resolved
Patient access employees at Cooper University Health System in Camden, NJ, now use an automated price estimator (CarePricer, manufactured by Alpharetta, GA-based MedAssets) to determine the patient’s liability in advance of the visit. This estimator benefits the patient and the hospital, says Pamela Konowall, manager of health care access.
"Patients are made aware in advance of their expected financial responsibility," Konowall says. "This eliminates unexpected bills to the patient and allows the hospital to collect money upfront."
When the tool was first implemented, however, the preparation of the estimate took quite some time for the user to complete. "There were some discrepancies identified, requiring the vendor to make some changes," says Konowall. "This was based on input from patient access employees who were involved with the pilot testing."
Patient access employees compared results and reported discrepancies to pilot team representatives. "Outcomes evaluated were obtained from Cooper University Hospital’s integrated eligibility application, eligibility websites, and phone calls made directly to carriers," says Konowall.
Staff members determined that they weren’t able to create estimates without an admit date. Also, the patient’s deductible data was not auto-populating.
Inconsistencies were reported to the vendor on a daily conference call. The vendor resolved these problems by adding additional fields to the HL7 feed, which allowed staff members to create accurate estimates. There are now very few discrepancies in quoted estimates, reports Konowall, and patients are very satisfied with the results.
"There has been a noticeable improvement over this past year. Estimates are prepared in a timely and accurate manner," says Konowall.