Big data is changing the way industries operate across the board, including the medical care industry. It’s allowing us to know more about the communities we serve, and create more personalized plans meant to really help people. On the operational side, numbers can help medical facilities function more efficiently. Data and analytics can be particularly helpful in creating strategies to close the revenue cycle on patient self-pay accounts.
Capture the Data
Before you can turn data into strategy, you have to capture it. Any data that can be tied to a patient should be, especially when dealing with finances. Think of their account, their prior payment history and record, previous charges, and any other way a patient has interacted with a medical facility financially. With this information on hand, any procedures performed or diagnoses made should be tied to these specific charges to present a better image of the patient’s overall situation and any habits. Once this data is collected, you can begin to analyze it and create a strategy.
Analyzing & The Future
A strong analysis of the data you’ve collected will give you a wealth of insight into your patient base, but one standout should be a patient’s history of making payments on time. Whatever your findings (for example, patients diagnosed and treated for X pay on time more frequently than patients diagnosed and treated for Y), you can make predictions about the future of payments. While some patients may show a habit of not paying on time in general, you may see trends within specific areas of the hospital that are creating confusion. These findings can help you target and address the issue appropriately.
For example, are patients in the OB/GYN given less education and cloudier expectations about their payment responsibilities than patients elsewhere in the hospital? If so, providing a clearer educative model for OB/GYN staff may help solve the problem.
Make Immediate Changes
These analytics can also allow you to take immediate actions even as patients are admitted. If patients come in for a specific type of visit, or receive a specific diagnosis and treatment that historically points to the fact that payment will be difficult for them, the accounts receivable staff can prepare in advance. This may mean additional education, or discussing payment plans or financial assistance ahead of time.
Using data to make adjustments and create new strategies for patient self-pay can make significant changes in your revenue cycle. It’s also a way for a facility to make clear, actionable improvements.