Employees in clinical areas are aware that surveyors from The Joint Commission could arrive at the hospital at any time unannounced. The same is not always true for registration areas. But since registration and admission staff are the first employees patients meet, that means these employees also are the first ones surveyors will approach.
Anyone would expect TJC surveyors to ask how staff protect patient safety, not just in clinical areas but in the entire organization. But what about revenue cycle jobs and determining if someone is qualified to work in that department?
Before revenue cycle leadership proceeded with its detailed front-end modernization project at a Chicago hospital, they had to run it by some very important people — the hospital’s family advisory board. While it was time to take a fresh look at registration, admissions, and check-in, the group had to ensure that registration processes were not holding up patient care.
Never-ending changes for processes, requirements, and regulations mean a top challenge for revenue cycle leaders is how to disseminate all this information to staff. A facility in New Orleans has found success with two methods.
Patient access gets bombarded with information in person, on email, and paper memos. There must be a way for staff to easily recognize that this information is something they need to review right away.
Patients want to avoid the surprise of unexpectedly expensive bills. For patient access, this means finding better ways to tell patients the cost of their care earlier in the process. Since patient access departments need to do so without adding full-time employees, texts, emails, and patient portals are the likely answers.
Under a new system, when an appointment is canceled or becomes available for other reasons, patients who have been marked on the waiting list are offered the open slot. Five patients are contacted simultaneously by email, text, and the patient portal. The first person to respond is booked.