Be more efficient with registration

It boosts satisfaction

By creating a more efficient registration process, the percentage of patients stating they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” in response to the survey question, “How satisfied were you with the registration process?” rose from 50.7 % to 58.5% positive in just one month at Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln, NE.

“This score placed us in the 67th percentile nationally,” says Kym Brown, CHAM, manager of patient access. “In the past year, we have really put the focus on increasing patient satisfaction.”

Outpatients are now pre-registered with a “fast-track” process. “Patients spend less time in a registration office — at least eight minutes less, on average,” says Brown. “All pre-registered patients are registered by an access employee whose focus is a ‘quick in and out’ of the registration department.” These steps occur:

• The patient is pre-registered prior to the visit.

• The patient arrives in admissions, with paperwork picked up by a designated group of fast-track registrars.

• The registrar calls the patient into the office, verifies the name and date of birth, has the patient sign the consent form, and walks the patient to the appointment location.

Here are some other changes the department made to satisfy patients:

• The hospital’s insurance verification team explained terms such as “deductible” and “co-insurance” to registration staff.

“When the registrar or pre-registrar speaks with the patient about their coverage, they are able to clarify what the terms mean,” says Brown.

If patients still are confused about their coverage, registrars reach out to their direct contacts in the financial counseling department. “They put patients as quickly as possible in touch with someone who can assist them further,” says Brown.

It was difficult for registrars to get comfortable collecting in the first place, but this conversation has become much easier, says Brown. “Most patients want this information. We find now they expect it when they come in,” she says.

• Patient access leaders listen to what staff members say to patients.

“We sit in on registrations,” says Brown. “We then give feedback immediately to registrars as to what they did well and what they can improve upon.”

• Registrars tell patients what they are doing, approximately how long the registration will take, and that the patient will be on time for their appointment.

“Registrars do what they can to ease the anxiety of what is happening, by openly communicating the process,” says Brown. “The registrar walks the patient to their appointment area, and the handoff is smooth.”