Only 58% of healthcare providers are confident that their patient data is accurate (TransUnion Survey, 2021).
Missing or wrong information about insurance, referrals, and patient demographics can add significant delays to the billing, claims, and overall revenue management cycle.
Patient data errors can lead to:
- Delayed claims submissions
- Higher rejection rates from payers
- Incomplete data to evaluate patient-reported outcomes measures (PROM)
- Delayed research when having to resubmit IRB paperwork
- Higher costs and wasted time for staff
Inefficiency and errors in medical billing are not news to anyone in healthcare, but the stakes are higher when it comes to ASCs.
ASCs face huge hurdles when collecting patient data.
ASCs are transforming how healthcare works. By offering routine surgeries at cost-effective prices, patient demand for surgery is through the roof. The only way to satisfy demand and manage costs is to run hyper-streamlined surgery centers.
However, compared to hospitals, ASCs face several unique issues when it comes to collecting patient data without delays or errors.
These challenges include:
1. Limited in-person time with patients
An ASC’s biggest strength is also a disadvantage when it comes to patient data collection.
Patients prefer ASCs because they can get outpatient procedures and avoid being admitted into a hospital. This way, they save costs and recover in the comfort of their own homes. The issue with this care model is that since patients get discharged the same day, there is very little time for ASC staff to verify or validate information with a patient directly.
To overcome this limitation, staff members have to call or message ahead to gather patient demographics, insurance information, and more. For ASCs already struggling with staff shortages and limited resources, it can be hard to track patients down and ensure all information is filled out and accurate before a procedure.
2. When timing and technology do not work well
As the number of ASCs increases, so does the competition. And with this growing competition, it’s not uncommon for patients to shop around before making a choice. Your patients may reschedule or cancel surgery altogether if other priorities get in the way of their elective procedures.
Collecting data too soon may be a wasted effort — a patient may not commit to surgery at your center. Waiting until it’s too late may inconvenience the patient, result in missing information, and increase the chances of claims denials.
Plus, patient communication technology is often woefully inadequate:
- More errors with paper forms and EMRs: As ASCs scale, it becomes much harder to collect patient data on paper forms and then have staff members enter the information manually into an EHR or EMR. This process is more prone to manual errors and EMRs are notoriously difficult to use.
- Tech not user-friendly: Many platforms in the market are clunky and difficult to use and are often built without the end-user in mind. This type of technology can frustrate staff members and patients, resulting in wasted time and effort, more errors, and lower response rates.
- No brand recognition: The average person gets hundreds of emails and messages a day. It’s easy for patients to miss responding to an email or SMS, or avoid communications from a source they do not recognize, like that of the technology solutions provider.
3. Difficulty with post-surgery data reconciliation
Another reason why claims may get delayed or even denied is when the details of a procedure differ from the approved payer package for that surgery.
Sure, ASCs collect each patient’s insurance information before surgery but the entire process cannot be completed beforehand. Sometimes, surgeons may deviate from a surgical plan based on intraoperative assessment of bone and soft tissue quality, and modifiers like obesity, comorbidities, and more. Correlating insurance information can be difficult post-surgery when different teams and software platforms are involved.
Often, your staff may have to keep following up with patients and their insurance companies (or Medicare) to validate and verify critical data holding up payments. This can be a huge drain on resources in ASCs, where every penny counts. Having to contact patients multiple times after surgery can also risk antagonizing them, resulting in lower satisfaction levels. When patients disengage, this can adversely affect PROM data collection as well. How can ASCs save time, reduce errors, and improve efficiency in patient data collection?
1. Collect patient details during registration
Collect data, including patient demographics in the waiting room just before surgery. At this stage, patient engagement is high. They are more willing to give you the information you need. Using this time may also benefit your staff as the data collection process can be a welcome distraction for patients worrying about their upcoming surgeries.
If you use a digital solution like PRO-MAPP that is designed to improve efficiency in ASCs, you can also scan insurance documents and any other vital information at this stage and store it all in one handy location.
2. Use an ‘anti-EMR’
Let’s face it, many software solutions like EMRs and EHRs were made to store information, but not help capture it. They can be difficult to use and do not always offer streamlined workflows. To make data collection simpler for staff and patients, many ASCs resign themselves to using paper forms. Unfortunately, all data will then have to be manually entered into an EMR. It’s double the work with a greater likelihood of errors.
A user-friendly digital platform designed with ASCs in mind can be a gamechanger, like PRO-MAPP.
With PRO-MAPP, you can hand a tablet over to your patient while they wait for surgery. In just a click, they will see the friendly image of their surgeon and a personalized welcome letter. The platform then displays all the questions that your center needs the answers to.
PRO-MAPP also comes pre-loaded with hundreds of templates, even payer-specific ones to improve your chances of getting your claims approved the first time. And the best part? PRO-MAPP integrates with EMRs and EHRs for a hassle-free, automatic data transfer, leaving your staff free to focus on other high-priority tasks.
3. Add a personal touch to improve response rates
People connect with people, and not through impersonal forms or emails. Infuse all your patient communication with your personal touch to engage your patients through their surgery journey.
Platforms like PRO-MAPP can help you boost engagement with enhanced digital communication.
With PRO-MAPP, you can personalize all your communication with your surgery center’s branding, a warm image of their physician, and much more. This way, your center and surgeons can engage with each patient whether they’re in your waiting room or at home.