How to Improve Customer Service to Optimize Revenue Cycle Management

How to Improve Customer Service to Optimize Revenue Cycle Management

Customer Service to optimize revenue cycle management

Patient care is crucial for healthcare organizations. It starts with good customer service.  

Unfortunately, many healthcare organizations ignore patient care. They focus on optimizing other areas of their organization instead of customer service. 

That’s a mistake. According to a 2021 Top Health Industry Issues report, patients are twice as likely to choose or reject a doctor based on staff friendliness and attitude.  

Meanwhile, a July 2020 study found a positive correlation between patient care and patient outcomes. Patients who had a good customer service experience with a healthcare organization were more likely to experience better clinical outcomes. They were more likely to follow recommendations and check up with the doctor, for example. 

Customer service impacts your bottom line. You should not ignore customer service when optimizing revenue cycles. 

Today, we’re listing some of the strategies America’s top healthcare organizations are using to improve patient care and optimize revenue cycles: 

Hire Intelligently 

Good customer service starts with hiring the right workers. By hiring intelligently, you can create a strong foundation on which to build the rest of the customer service experience for your organization. 

Fierce Healthcare recommends hiring frontline staff who meet the following requirements: 

  • Dedicated to creating positive relationships with patients 
  • Understand the correlation between their work and patient outcomes, including how their actions impact the health and experience of patients 
  • Foster a real human connection with patients  
  • Balance automation technology and customer service skills to improve patient outcomes and optimize payer reimbursement 

Find staff with proven experience in the above areas. Emphasize problem-solving and critical thinking skills during the interview phase. Shadow candidates to ensure a good fit. Maintain a good onboarding and training program that emphasizes customer care. 

Healthcare hiring is expected tget more competitive over the next few years. According to projections from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country will need 3.5 million more healthcare workers over the next seven years to fill new jobs. Change your hiring practices today to ensure you get the right frontline staff for your organization. 

Treat Patients the Way You Would Want to Be Treated 

It’s called the Golden Rule for a reason: since childhood, we’ve been taught to treat people the way we would like to be treated.  

Unfortunately, many healthcare providers get the Golden Rule wrong. They make patients feel unimportant or disrespected. 

Some healthcare organizations take advantage of patients, confusing them with unclear billing. Some organizations fail to explain payment options to patients. Others force patients to figure everything out on their own.   

Doctors may make patients feel disrespected. Nobody likes to have a conversation with someone who is looking at a screen the entire time.  

A healthcare visit should be like any other interaction between people: by treating people the way you would like to be treated, we can make the world a better place.   

Regardless of your setting, the size of your organization, or the type of care you provide, you can always follow the Golden Rule to optimize patient care. It should be the foundational rule for treating patients with your organization 

If you don’t follow the Golden Rule and make patients feel appreciated, then patients will quickly leave for competitors – like telehealth services.  

Optimize Wait Times 

Patients have more options for healthcare than ever, including telehealth services. Telehealth can be performed from the comfort of home. Patients don’t need to leave their home – and they may not even need to wait. 

If patients routinely have long wait times at your organization, then you’re pushing patients towards competitors.  

As competition heats up in the healthcare space, it’s harder for organizations to justify long wait times. Get better scheduling procedures. Take steps to minimize the time patients spend in the waiting room. If wait times occur, take time to explain those wait times to patients. Even if you’re understaffed, small changes can make a big improvement in patient experience.  

Treat Frontline Staff Well 

This is another basic rule for running a business that many healthcare organizations get wrong. If you don’t treat frontline staff well, then they won’t present a good face for your business. 

Some strategies for treating frontline staff well include: 

Start with Good Employee Training: Train employees during the onboarding phase. Make sure they understand the expectations you have for them. A rigorous training program weeds out unfit hires while ensuring good employees understand their expectations. 

Match Employees with the Right Role: It’s not just about creating a good work environment: it’s also about fitting the right employee with the right role. By hiring intelligently and identifying strengths and weaknesses, you can ensure each employee is comfortable in the role – which is crucial for making frontline staff feel valued.  

Invest in Continuing Education for Employees: Healthcare organizations who continue to invest in the growth of their employees can keep employees engaged while maintaining high morale.  

Maintain Good Communication: Frontline staff have a hard job. Some healthcare administrators have limited experience in a front-end role. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain open communication with frontline staff. Make sure staff have a way to make their voices heard. Respond to their observations and complaints. Create a formal system for managing communication. 

Treating frontline staff well isn’t rocket science: with good communication, effective training, and a comfortable work environment, you can grow employees who value your organization and present a good image to patients.  

Invest in Communication Training 

Communication training is about more than knowing how to talk to patients. It’s about reading verbal and non-verbal cues. 

Patients may be angry or frustrated. Some patients are going through the most difficult period of their life. Frontline staff need to know how to communicate with patients in different mindsets. 

Communication training is an art. It involves reading negative and positive body language, dealing with difficult people, and maintaining empathy at every step. 

Teach patient-friendly phrases to frontline staff. Teach them phrases to avoid. Emphasize clear and transparent communication with patients.  

All of these tips are easier said than done – but they can drastically improve customer service within your organization. 

Final Word 

Improve your patient experience with HMI, LLC. We have proven experience improving customer service to create better patient care at every step of an organization. 

Request a consultation to discover how HMI, LLC can improve customer service within your organization to optimize revenue cycle management.