Let’s face it—most people do not enjoy going to the doctor. Many people dislike it so much they avoid going even when they should, leading to poorer health outcomes. While providing a better patient experience may not get them skipping in the door, it will lead to happier, more loyal patients who are more likely to come in when they have a health concern. You cannot afford to ignore the patient experience any longer, for the health of your patients and your practice. Here are a few examples of what your patients hate most about your check-in process, and how you can turn their frowns upside down!
Problem #1: Being asked to arrive 15-30 minutes early to fill out forms. And forms. And forms.
For me as a patient, this one looms large. I have three children, and the number of forms I have to manually fill out at all of their various healthcare provider appointments is enough to give anyone carpal tunnel syndrome. Compounding the problem is the fact that people just do not handwrite things anymore. (Check out “The Uncertain Future of Handwriting” on the BBC website for an interesting analysis if you are so inclined.) When they are asked to do so, the task is cumbersome and often the legibility of the writing is terrible. Now your staff is left with attempting to decode what the patient has written and manually enter it into your EHR. Talk about a system that seems tailored to cause insurance denials.
The Health iPASS Solution
Digital forms. Do I hear angels singing? Health iPASS will text your patients a link that allows them to fill out customizable forms before they arrive at your office on their own devices. No printing of forms. No clipboard or pens. And of course, clearer forms that automatically write back to your PM system. Is it magic? No, it’s Health iPASS.
Problem #2: Not knowing what they owe and when they owe it
Don’t get me wrong, I love my doctor, and I know his front desk staff is working hard for me and other patients. However, it drives me crazy how inconsistent they can be about collecting my copay. Sometimes they ask for it. Sometimes they say I don’t have one. Sometimes I pay and get a refund. Sometimes I don’t and get a bill months later. To top it all off, there have been situations in which I go to a series of appointments for long-term treatment and am told numerous times I do not have a copay, only to be informed that I have an enormous bill at the end of it all. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather pay my $30 a visit at the time of service than be hit with a $300 bill weeks later. Which leads me to #3…
Problem #3: Having public discussions about their bill with front desk staff
I get it, doctors need to get paid just like everyone else. However, it can be off-putting to your patients (and your staff) to have discussions about their financial delinquency at the front desk with people standing in line behind them. Many times patients have not paid their bills because they didn’t even know they had them, or the communication of costs was unclear.
The Health iPASS Solution
Our solution for both of these issues (2 & 3) is making it incredibly easy for patients to view & understand costs, as well as making payment a breeze. Through our platform, patients can check-in, verify their benefits and view a detailed list of charges with a few taps on their own devices or on one of our kiosks in-office. Patients can also choose to leave their payment information on file in a secure, tokenized format and opt-in for autopayment of residual balances on a visit-by-visit basis. Our platform eliminates the need for awkward financial conversations with patients & provides a very private, yet retail-like payment experience that your patients will love.
Problem #4: Having your office constantly make copies of insurance cards and ID
While the average patient may not know that medical identity theft is a very real threat, they know that it feels a little sketchy providing paper copies of their insurance cards and IDs on a regular basis. How can patients be sure their sensitive information is stored securely? Isn’t there a better way for staff to verify the identity and insurance eligibility of patients without the manual tasks of making copies and inputting information, not to mention using all that paper? Yes, there is!
The Health IPASS Solution:
Health iPASS’s insurance verification process is now powered by VerifAI, which uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and artificial intelligence to pull information automatically from a patient’s insurance card. If you are not a tech person (um, hi, that’s me), the process is similar to when you scan an image of your credit card to pay for something online, and the information automatically populates on the checkout page of the website where you are shopping. VerifAI eliminates the need for paper copies and for the manual data entry that can lead to claim denials from human error. No more taking insurance info over the phone, no more paper copies that need to be securely stored and shredded when the time comes. Clean, simple, and automatic. Nice.
Problem #5: Feeling unsafe at your office because of poorly executed COVID-19 policies
Many of us are getting used to the drill of mask, hand sanitizer, and maybe even some sterile gloves when entering a public space and standing at least 6 feet apart in lines. It’s becoming second nature for workers to wipe everything down in between customers just like healthcare providers have always done between patients. Likewise, patients and consumers expect everything to be shipshape when they enter and leave your office. The more reassured your patients feel about your COVID-19 procedures, the more loyal they will be to your practice—and they will spread the word, not the virus, to their friends and families.
Conversely, if your practice is not taking the proper measures to ensure that patients feel safe at your office during the pandemic, they will be on social media in no time, complaining about your practice and requesting recommendations for another medical provider. Yikes.
The Health iPASS Solution
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, tech experts were already advising providers to rethink the traditional waiting room. These days, your patients are looking for a personalized, yet touch-free way to check-in, view their benefits, make payments, and fill out forms. Health iPASS is ready with our Express Check-In that delivers a virtual waiting room experience your patients will love. You can even send customized visit instructions and COVID-19 screening questions directly to your patients’ devices as they wait safely in their vehicles for their appointment time to arrive. Providing the best patient experience possible is like sending your patients a warm, yet virtual hug that makes them feel valued.
There you have it – the way to your patients’ hearts is a system that takes the things they hate most about medical check-ins and turning them into simple, tech-enabled processes that also happen to ease many staff operational burdens. Check out our website to schedule a demo of how Health iPASS does all these things, and more!
*This post orginally appeared on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-5-things-your-patients-hate-check-in-process-allyson-howard/