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Americans have become accustomed to self-service options in many aspects of their lives, such as booking airline tickets or making hotel reservations. In sharp contrast, patient access processes are starting to seem terribly outdated. Patients are starting to desire self-service options in their healthcare experience, making patient access processes seem terribly outdated.
Not too long ago, some basic computer skills and the ability to collect demographic information were pretty much all that was needed for a patient access employee to succeed. Now highly skilled at upfront collections, financial discussions, and customer service, their role continues to expand both in scope and complexity.
How much will it cost? It’s a surprisingly complex question, and the ability of patient access employees to answer it is becoming increasingly important. Concurrently, new online price comparison tools are appearing everywhere; yet, those tools carry questionable value.
Patient access departments are changing their ways due to rising expectations for on-demand care. Clinics and outpatient service areas at Ochsner Medical Center - North Shore in Slidell, LA, “no longer operate on ‘banker’s hours.'"
As collections continue to move to the “front end” of the revenue cycle, patient access is expanding pre-service processes, including verifying demographics, informing patients of their benefits and estimated liability, and trying to collect the amount due. This prevents patients from receiving a surprisingly large bill on the date of service.