MACRA can help a practice!
MACRA is the next steamroller coming to healthcare, and its loaded with patient communication components. This is where MACRA helps.
Before you run to a dentist for a root canal, mastering these components will improve health outcomes and practice profitability.
First, find the patient
Practices have more data than ever before, and little to show for it. Why? Because practices are still focused on processing claims and individual appointments, not populations. Practices that that manage populations are in control of their business, not waiting for the patient to take action.
Think of all the populations that need continued monitoring or treatment:
• Males over 50 with elevated a1c and high blood pressure
• Patients with a family history of colon cancer
• Patients with artificial heart valves
There are literally hundreds of others. When practices organize around patient populations, high-risk patients are easily identified, whereas a general recall list only emphasizes those who are most past due for a wellness exam.
Next, get the patient in the office
Ask practice administrative staff and they will say that 90% of their calls end up in voice-mail, a few will callback. Practices that need to reach 100 patients will have to make several thousand calls. Practices cannot afford, nor are set-up, to make and manage these calls.
Reaching the patient is one thing, managing the response is quite another. Patients have a maddening tendency to reply at times that are convenient to them, not the practice.
Yes, a portal is important, so is answering the phone. Patients using the phone to process transactions that can be automated are in the way of processing more transactions that are complicated. New patient and payment calls can be automated; questions about insurance or CMS probably need a staff person to answer. More staff is too expensive to be a solution.
Now that the appointment is set, helping the patient to remember and provide additional information before the appointment is another set of communications.
Patients hate waiting
Practices know this and still wait for a patient to arrive to interrogate them for several minutes about information that could have been obtained before the patient arrives, or worse yet, can be answered with ‘no, nothing about my contact or insurance information has changed’.
Studies have shown that significant amounts of patients leave practices because of wait times and administrative issues.
Practices that ask for registration information with reminders online, have less in office wait times, better data and more time with patients talking about their health (not their insurance plans).
The best patients read reviews
Actually, most new patients will seek out reviews online. Practices need to ask and manage this process to improve their new patient business.
Best practice for asking is 1 or 2 questions at every contact in the appointment lifecycle. Most reviews are a free form response from the patient that is hard for a practice to influence.
Practices that ask ‘did you get a convenient appointment time’, at the appointment confirmation step not only get more responses, they get a targeted response a free form method cannot provide.
Even if MACRA & MIPS is delayed, better patient communications and population management are good ideas to do now.
• Population management: Drive patient engagement and make high value patients stick out.
• Get the appointment: Identify the patient, communicate and confirm an appointment
• Broadcast great service: More new patients read reviews than ever before
Micro Office Systems created the Patient Communications Gateway to do all this and more. We work in conjunction with your practice management system (we connect to hundreds of them) and enable 2 way patient communications 24 X 7 X 365.