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Evaluations of health care employees who interact with patients consider the overall patient experience. For instance, slow service and poor communication cause patient satisfaction levels to plummet. In addition, when patient data are recorded incorrectly, a medical office's financial solvency suffers because of delayed payments. Performance appraisal goals for patient access employees typically lead to assessments of these staff members according to their billing and data collecting proficiencies, as well as the quality of their patient contact.
A medical practice's revenue stream depends on patients and their insurance companies making on-time payments for services, according to Ron Kelley and Romina White in a white paper published by Conifer Health Solutions. A patient access employee must be diligent when gathering patient information so she can determine how much the insurance policy will cover. When a patient owes out-of-pocket expenses, the medical office is vulnerable to collections actions and payment delays. Administrators use registration metrics to trend their revenue cycles and implement steps to improve their rates of liability collections. For instance, a small hospital that performs elective procedures usually attempts to collect payments or establish payment schedules in advance of the surgeries. Because of this criticality in early billing, patient access employees' job performance often hinges on timely and accurate data collection.
Health care executives closely monitor patient wait times, Kelley and White report. Wait times include how long it takes for medical personnel to call a patient to schedule a follow-up visit, as well as the amount of time a patient spends checking in with a patient access employee upon arrival at a medical office. Another time factor doctors measure is the time that elapses from the moment a customer arrives for a clinical procedure until the start of the appointment. All of these wait times represent opportunities to improve the overall patient experience and often are performance objectives for employees with patient access.
Patient satisfaction scores are valuable indicators for health care professionals. The Everett Clinic outside Seattle, Washington watched its overall scores soar by 20 percent after shifting from a physician-focused culture to a patient-centered environment, according to the American Medical Group Association. As part of this renewed commitment to patients, new employees attend advanced communication training to promote positive interactions with patients and among staff members. All physicians and support staff members — along with senior executives and the board of directors — are accountable for customer service goals and were targeted to show another 10 percent jump in customer satisfaction levels, the AMGA reported. This emphasis on patient ratings translates into individual performance goals through Everett Clinic's Patient Access, Safety and Satisfaction program.
- patient image by Andrey Kiselev from Fotolia.com