Revenue cycle management begins and ends at the front desk. From eligibility checking to patient balance collection, the front desk plays an important role in meeting the goal of near-100% collections.
The front desk can play a key role in patient collection and satisfaction. A study by the American College of Healthcare Executives found that patient satisfaction is a significant factor in the financial performance of medical practices. Whether the practice is a large multi-specialty group or a small, single-specialty practice, the front desk plays a vital role in the quality of patient care.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), up to 75 percent of doctors have a patient balance collection ratio of less than 60 percent. This is due to several reasons, such as the inability to collect on the day of service. It is so important for doctors to have a front desk staff that can collect patient balances at the time of service.
Patient balance collection at the front desk is perceived as an undesirable job function every staff loathes to perform. It can be overcome by proper training, well-communicated policies, and measurable goals. Incentivization of this function can also help improve overall results.
Another tool that can be deployed to improve front desk collections is to install a kiosk check-in system. When patients check-in at the kiosk, the system prompts for co-pays and past-due balances and accepts payments. This vastly reduces friction in the process and saves personnel time as well.
It pays to focus on this important aspect for a private practice to thrive and grow.