From patients to hospital staff, everyone benefits from a better, more efficient registration process. Hospitals that aren’t able to keep up with changes in best practices often find themselves losing patients to their competitors, while those that are able to provide a positive experience during this crucial first step in the patient journey gain more business. Read on to find out about the best way for hospitals to ensure that patient registration goes as smoothly as possible.
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How to Optimize the Registration Process
In an ideal situation, the patient registration process will be quick and simple. The use of a mobile hospital registration cart can help to facilitate the check-in process, helping to prevent backups in the waiting room caused by a lack of organization. Taking advantage of modern technology by providing an at-home pre-registration option that clarifies financial responsibility and collects basic information can help, as can assigning specific staff members to the task.
Providing adequate staff training is a must for hospitals that want to optimize the registration process. While some parts of the process can be completed by patients at home via pre-registration and others can be automated, it’s still vital that the staff members responsible for collecting patient information know how to use the relevant programs and be familiar with the intake process.
Signs It’s Time for a Change
The most obvious sign it’s time to change the hospital’s patient registration process is an overcrowded waiting room. Lengthy wait times are frustrating for patients, with 30% of patients reporting having had to leave a hospital or clinic before seeing a provider because the wait times were so long. While there are always going to be fluctuations in wait times in parts of the hospital like emergency rooms that can’t exactly provide people with appointments, a well-optimized check-in process should still help to keep them short enough to meet patients’ expectations.
A second sign it’s time to reconsider a hospital’s patient registration processes is the presence of errors in records taken during the check-in process. When staff has to input all of each patient’s information manually, it creates a wealth of opportunities for human error. Automating as many of those processes as possible helps to ensure accuracy, which is vitally important to providing exceptional patient care.
Common Mistakes to Identify and Avoid
Even seemingly minor mistakes can cause serious problems when it comes to providing patient care. Instead of waiting until these patient registration mistakes come up, hospitals should learn from others and find ways to avoid them in advance.
Skipping Insurance Verification
Failing to verify insurance coverage and obtain prior authorizations can leave patients dealing with surprise medical bills. This, in turn, can cut into hospitals’ profits when patients are unable to pay.
Potential HIPAA Violations
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was created to protect patient privacy, and violating it can come with hefty fines. Unfortunately, some hospitals unintentionally violate patients’ HIPAA rights during registration by making mistakes like calling out patients’ full names or not hiding sign-in sheets from view.
Getting patient details right is very important. The wrong birth date, insurance information, or even an outdated address can cause all kinds of problems. Automating as much of this process as possible is a good way to avoid unnecessary mistakes.
Start Making Changes
No hospital is perfect. Start making changes to patient registration processes now to ensure that everything goes smoothly moving forward.