When we discuss the topic of customer support in RCM services for hospitals, there’s always some confusion in their minds regarding customer service training. Healthcare professionals were asked to raise their hands for the question, “How many of you in attendance offer customer service training for your frontline staff?” Not a single hand went up. So it’s evident that customer service is only possible with RCM companies. In fact, it’s very easy to get the answers for the queries immediately.
Three crucial reasons for customer support in RCM services for Hospitals:
- Increasing Competition for Patients
- Customer Service affects clinical care outcomes
- Biggest Revenue cycle issues are directly tied to Customer service
Increasing Competition for Patients:
- Since patients increasingly shoulder the burden of healthcare costs, they will need to shop around for affordable care that meets their requirements.
- Beyond that, they can’t be satisfied about whom they choose for their care. Simultaneously, healthcare professionals cannot be self-satisfied about customer service.
- The surge of non-traditional players moving into the healthcare field means that healthcare professionals are now ready to compete for patients on a new level.
- About 88% of U.S. hospital and healthcare system executives agree that healthcare organizations are vulnerable to client-friendly offerings from the competitors.
- It’s important for healthcare professionals to carefully curate and train the staff for customer service. Only then, excellent care can be expected from clients. Patient-centric customer service can be the strong differentiator in the competition.
- It can also be the deciding factor as to whether the patient chooses the healthcare professional in the first place.
- In a recent survey report, PwC’s Health Research Institute found that patients are twice as likely to choose or reject a healthcare provider based on staff friendliness and attitude.
Customer Service affects clinical care outcomes:
- Academic research consistently reveals that patient experience or patient satisfaction is associated with a range of critical and crucial clinical care outcomes.
- This is in fact true across a wide range of settings, disease areas, outcome measures and study designs.
- Patients those who feel positive and confident regarding their healthcare experience are likely to follow and pass through clear and open conversation, which is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Moreover, patients with peace of mind about their care are also less likely to experience stress that can impede their recovery.
- RCM services for hospitals can excel in providing best customer service to increase the care value of the patients.
- Customer service also impacts the bottom line by improving A/R days and the cost collections.
- Four most costly revenue cycle issues that are directly connected to customer service at the primary point of contact are:
- Denials that are 90% preventable, and only 66% are recoverable
- Lack of correct insurance information
- Missing, incorrect and duplicate patient information
- Lack of patient understanding, related to financial responsibility and available payment options.
- It’s very important to drive the accurate and relevant information from patient to patient. It cannot be overstated as well.
- Few of these issues can be solved by better RCM services for hospitals and technology that helps in reducing human errors.
- The process involves customer service skills too. Hospital staff must be able to listen properly, screen for financial distress by using verbal and non-verbal cues, and communicate effectively with stressed, scared and sometimes annoyed people in order to obtain the necessary and accurate information and help the patient.
Creating a Winning Customer Service for patients with RCM services for Hospitals:
- There is certainly a case for better customer service at healthcare organizations. But how can healthcare professionals implement and maintain it with the help of RCM services for hospitals?
- Hire smart customer service team and treat them well
- Follow the golden rule
- Choose better RCM services for hospitals with Verbal and Non-Verbal Customer Service Training
- Continuously reinforce customer service standards
- Train the team to Identify Cost Distress
Hire smart customer service team and treat them well:
- As practices are becoming more patient-centric, hiring for culture-fit, soft skills and time management skills are just as vital as the requisite technical and operational skills.
- The skills must include:
- Dedication to create positive relationships with patients
- Understanding of the relation between the job and patient outcomes
- Smartness in balancing automation technology with real human connection to enhance both the patient experience and payer reimbursement.
Follow the golden rule:
- Even though customer service differs from region to region and state to state, the only rule that stays constant is, treat patients with the best care.
- If staff cannot focus on one patient as they have to do too much at once, hire more staff or explore efficient solutions that will cut down on phone calls or streamline problem solving process.
Choose better RCM services for hospitals with Verbal and Non-Verbal Customer Service Training Team:
- Communication training has proven to be positive on HCAHPS scores and patient satisfaction scores. Executives must possess the tools they need to communicate with confidence even through difficult patient interactions.
- RCM services for hospitals already provide the team with the training that can be taken in the form of in-person classes, online workshops, interactive/role-playing training, or a combination.
- A comprehensive training program also teaches specific techniques as well as overall verbal and non-verbal communication skills to excel in solving customer problems.
- Few topics in the training, include:
- Negative and positive body language
- Speech control and awareness
- Making a first impression
- Dealing with difficult people and conversations
- Empathetic communication
- Active listening
- How to listen for content and not delivery
- Phrases to avoid
- Patient-friendly phrases
- Making the transition from relationship-building to problem-solving
- How to create clarity
Continuously reinforce customer service standards:
- It’s recommended to follow the below customer service culture:
- Meet as a group
- Celebrate success
Train the team to identify cost distress:
- There are various methods and tactics that healthcare professionals can employ to identify cost distress.
- Few were successful in using a series of screening questions, while others used scripted cost of care conversations that identify verbal and non-verbal cues from patients.
- Teams can set a financial plan or payment aid if possible and required.
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