Front desk operations in the age of COVID-19
For most practices today, everything is under consideration. Don’t leave front desk and billing operations behind, especially those aspects that are patient-facing. This blog post is about three things you can look at to ensure that you’re providing the best possible patient experience even when safety protocols are in place.
1. Don't Lose the Human Touch at Check-In
Almost all businesses in all industries are working to reduce contact during transactions such as check-ins and payments. This is a strategy that makes sense as reducing contact can reduce risk which contributes to patient and employee safety. Many practices are having patients wait for their appointment outside in their cars. Most practices have addressed this aspect of operations.
What is worth considering is how can you still make the visit welcoming and ensure that the patient is comfortable. Creating a connection with the patient can help with retention, building the patient’s confidence, and is important for the patient experience.
The question is with a distanced check-in process, which is part of the patient experience, how can you recreate some of the rapport that has been lost? Here are a couple of options to consider:
2. Update and Optimize Your Patient Payment Collection
You’ve read the safety guidelines from the CDC and best practice guides from the APTA. You’ve reassured your patients with promises of proactive reception policies and stringent sanitization practices. But if you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to give a little thought to how you collect patient payments. In order to continue to serve your patients and maintain the highest safety standards at your practice, it is vital that you continue to collect patient payments as quickly and efficiently as possible – with the safety of your patients and staff remaining of paramount importance.
Consider an Integrated Patient Payment Solution
By selecting a patient payment solution that is integrated with you practice management system, you can significantly reduce costs and streamline your workflow by simplifying in-office patient payment processing and reconciliation. Payments are fully incorporated into patient records and ﬁnancial systems to eliminate double entry. In addition to providing secure, flexible payment functionality within your existing system, an advanced, integrated patient payment solution will provide the highest level of security for patient ﬁnancial data while significantly reducing the costs of maintaining PCI compliance. Be sure to choose a payment solution that offers your patients the convenience on an online portal, where they can login to review their balances and make payments. Another key feature of an optimal patient payment solution is a “Card on File” option, which enables patients to keep their credit care details securely on file for faster, more convenient payments.
Latest and Greatest Payment Devices
Contactless digital payments are quickly becoming the recommended norm – particularly in therapeutic and healthcare environments. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, next-generation patient payment devices can help limit the risks associated with close physical contact. By accepting touch-free payments via NFC-enabled forms of payment such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more, these devices help eliminate the need for your staff to handle cards or touch keypads and screens.
Remote Updates for Your Payment Devices
With the importance of social distancing, the ability to remotely update and manage your payment devices from virtually anywhere in the world is now crucial. It also saves time and simpliﬁes the payment collection process. By leveraging a payment device management solution, your security and technology management teams can secure, manage, and monitor your payment devices from one cloud-based system, without the need for physical access. This provides yet another way that you can protect your staff and patients by limiting physical interactions in your office space.
3. Strengthen Your Patient Communication Strategy
It’s crucial to find more ways to communicate with patients. Given the abridged nature of check-ins and outs combined with possibly abridged visits and visits done by telehealth, your communication strategy is more important than ever. This needs to be a combination of various strategies:
Newsletters and general updates
This is the way to share general information about your practice, what you’re doing, and what may be upcoming. Capturing emails should be a matter of practice and sending out newsletters lets you blast out a message to all of your patients (past and present).
Semi-personalized means that you didn’t necessarily write an email personally but a general email. One example is sending out a message to recently discharged patients. It would be the same email to all but specific to patients at a certain point in their care, etc.
Personalized emails and phone calls
This is something that many practices may not be in the habit of doing. You should consider having your therapists and/or staff engaging in extra personalized communication such as a quick phone call or email directly to the patient. This can help you maintain the connection. Be mindful of HIPAA and the each patient’s communication preferences. This is more important than ever and an investment in retention.
The Bottom Line
Minimizing physical contact during the check-in and payment process, you can help provide peace of mind and a safer environment for both your patients and staff. With this shift in operations, don’t forget to consider how this may be impacting the patient experience. With some simple changes, you can ensure that patients get the best of both worlds.
If you’re interested in learning how MWTherapy can help with these things, including our awesome payments integration with AxiaMed, please request a demo.