Lia, the A.I. Assistant for prior authorizations, is a healthcare revenue cycle improvement tool, but its benefits spill over from the back office to providers and even patients. By reducing the stress on hospital teams that can come from procedure delays, reschedulings, and paperwork-induced burnout, Lia has the happy side effect of positively impacting the patient experience.
Even more directly, Lia can be a vital part of improving what is usually the final (and often most frustrating) patient interaction with the hospital after a stay: the billing process. By working across multiple systems to eliminate human error and avoid missed information, Lia reduces after-the-fact billing surprises for patients.
While we haven’t quite returned to the era when doctors made house calls, there is a renewed emphasis on the relational side of healthcare in response to the transactional direction it’s headed in the past couple decades. This trend is known as “patient experience,” and its goal is to ensure that humanity is part of the efficient delivery of care to patients.
Anecdotally and instinctively, we can all get behind this patient-centered trend. After all, shouldn’t healthcare be primarily about caring for people? But it also happens to be very good business. Asking patients for feedback, listening to them, and implementing changes based on their experience can drive patient retention as well as payer reimbursement that’s tied to quality of care (a spin-off trend).
Measuring and Prioritizing the Patient Experience
Two important signals of this patient-centered care trend are the collection of patient experience data through a nationally standardized survey, and the hiring of a relatively new C-suite position.
If you asked Aunt Rita how her hip replacement surgery went last month, she might say, “The doctor was wonderful and there were no complications; the night nurse was fabulous but the day nurse didn’t check in on me often enough; I got the meds I needed to manage my pain, but I was a little confused about follow-up care.” In today’s world of patient/consumer empowerment and choice, this sort of feedback is incredibly valuable to the hospital where Aunt Rita’s surgery was performed. Ultimately, the hospital wants to know if she would ever go back and if she would recommend it to others.
Up until about a decade ago, it was extremely difficult to accurately measure Aunt Rita’s experience and to compare results for similar hospital stays across different hospital systems. How do you quantify something subjective like a patient’s experience, and turn it into data that can be used for across-the-board comparison? Enter the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems), a nationally standardized survey used to collect data on the patient experience after a hospital stay.
This model has become the gold standard for measuring patients’ perspectives of their hospital experiences. That data is collected and publicly reported, and it is often tied to payer reimbursement.
Another piece of evidence signaling the importance of prioritizing the patient experience is happening at the C-suite level. More and more hospital systems are hiring Chief Experience Officers or Chief Patient Experience Officers (CXOs or CPXOs) to set the overall direction and standards for the patient experience. When patient experience is made a priority at the highest level, leaders can set clear, consistent expectations for the way patients are treated throughout the entire hospital system.
From the Back Office to the Patient Experience
So what do all these crazy acronyms (HCAHPS, CXO, CPXO, oh my!) have to do with automation in the healthcare back office? Well, savvy CFOs and VPs of Revenue Cycle will be looking for all kinds of ways to improve the patient experience, both the very obvious (e.g., providing patient communication training to doctors and nurses) and the indirect (e.g., keeping procedures running on schedule, improving the billing experience).
At Digitize.AI, we’re working hard to improve the lives of revenue cycle workers, hospital teams, and the Aunt Ritas of the world. Contact us to find out how.