Medical Practice Management
May 05

Great Patient Service Requires Proactive Communication

What images come to mind when you think about “customer service” in the physician’s office? Typically, most people picture front-desk staff greeting patients or answering phones. But, I believe, effective customer service should begin before a patient ever arrives at the office, and should include financial
discussions as well as clinical ones.

I worked helping practices with physician billing and collections issues for nearly 25 years. Over that time, I came to appreciate that customer service, patient satisfaction, and reimbursement are all somewhat intertwined. The more you proactively communicate with patients upfront, the higher the back-end satisfaction on the part of patients and reimbursement staff alike.

Here’s what I suggest: Prior to a patient’s arrival in your office—especially if the patient is new to your practice—reach out to discuss your payment policies and expectations. Offer it as a courtesy so that patients are better aware of their out-of-pocket costs.

Such a call, of course, entails knowing a patient’s insurance coverage, co-pay, and other financial details. Practices that have real-time or batch eligibility tools can utilize them to verify insurance information prior to the patient arriving for their appointment. Practices without eligibility verification can simply state, “As a courtesy, we will have someone contact you prior to your appointment to review your insurance and payment information.”

About Reed Tinsley, CPA

As a top advisor to physicians, I help increase practice profits by delivering hands-on, expert medical accounting/tax support, practice counsel, and revenue-building strategies. Read more →