Teach providers about your role

It's worth the effort

Take the time to provide training to provider offices about insurance guidelines and registration processes, because this training is a good way to encourage collaboration with patient access, recommends Kellie Hawkins, director of patient access for Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, MD.

"This ensures both the provider and the facility are getting everything needed to care for the patient and to receive payment," Hawkins says.

The in-service also puts a face with the voice at the end of the phone, which encourages better communication and teamwork, she adds. Hawkins recommends you take these steps:

• Schedule in-services early in the morning before office hours or mid-day when many offices close.

"Tying the in-service into a scheduled staff meeting can be very convenient for the office," Hawkins says.

• Provide refreshments.

"This is a nice touch and creates a collaborative atmosphere," she says.

• Use a roundtable discussion format.

"This creates a two-way conversation. Questions surface that may not have been on the original agenda," says Hawkins.

• Invite front-line staff from patient access and the provider office.

"They are important contributors, and should be represented," she says. "They can provide real-life scenarios and focus problem-solving discussions on solutions that fit the workflow."