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What Does Successful Patient Access Training Look Like?

This blog post excerpts the HealthStream article, “Two Key Strategies for Improving Patient Access Success in Healthcare: How Continuing Education and KPI Monitoring Can Make Patient Access More Effective,” by  Mary Beth Rozell, Sr. Director of Revenue Cycle Solutions at HealthStream’s partner nThrive, and Susan Gurzynski-Wells, RHIA , Senior Product Manager, Revenue Cycle, HealthStream.

Price transparency and consumerism have a direct impact on today’s hospital Patient Access operation and more changes are coming in 2021 due to new, stringent Federal and State regulations. Considered the hospital’s “front door,” the role of Patient Access has traditionally begun with the initial patient encounter — where staff confirm patient identity, verify insurance status and more.

Healthcare reform has changed the role of Patient Access substantially, focusing revenue cycle leadership more on the expanding role and expertise of its Patient Access staff. Today’s Patient Access expert is tasked with capturing patient information, as well as educating and supporting a range of individuals—patients, hospital personnel, and providers—helping to ensure comprehensive, quality healthcare service delivery and patient satisfaction.

What Does Successful Patient Access Training Look Like?

A customer of HealthStream and nThrive provides staffing for their largest clients across multiple locations. To prepare staff members, this organization provides a comprehensive Patient Access Training program. Along with organizational specific training, they assign nThrive Education online courses via HealthStream to supplement their training and reduce content creation costs at the local level.

HealthStream Patient Access courses from nThrive Education provide:

  • Broader Array of Patient Access/Revenue Cycle Education – Prepares learners beyond what is possible during initial in-person orientation training
  • Extensive Orientation for Patient Access Roles – Newly hired staff are better prepared for meeting client needs
  • Efficient Use of Training Time – In-house training reduced from four to three days, decreasing the amount of necessary resources
  • Individual Training Path Reports – Adaptive learning targets areas where new employees need more focus
  • Consistency in Staff Onboarding – Assigning the same suite of courses helps create a workforce whose preparation, knowledge and performance is more uniform, and aligns with the client’s expectations

The organization has received positive trainee feedback regarding the HealthStream Patient Access courses from nThrive Education. Confidence is high placing individuals in these roles, knowing they are well-trained and evaluated.

According to the organization’s spokesperson, “Training is a big piece of onboarding and proficiency, and it’s very specific in the extent to which it matches client needs.” She emphasizes the importance of learning that complements the organization’s commitment, adding that “the client expects a certain level of expertise in the work our people are doing. If we’re placing people in the organization who don’t have that level, it’s very clear from the start.” In addition to helping new employees bridge the gap between experience and knowledge, HealthStream and nThrive Education training helps the organization “use trainee test scores and the individual’s time required to complete certain modules to determine the subjects where more focused time should be spent to best serve the client’s needs.”

Patient Access Success Is A Group Effort

Successful Patient Access in the hospital or healthcare system depends on the work and commitment of many; it’s about patient interaction, education, transparency, accuracy, and providing clean information that feeds the revenue cycle downstream. It’s an area of the revenue cycle that is drawing more attention in the healthcare industry and will continue to do so as reforms continue to strengthen the clarity between hospitals, patients and payors.

This blog post concludes our series about successful patient access training and how to achieve it. Download the full article from which it is an excerpt, “Two Key Strategies for Improving Patient Access Success in Healthcare: How Continuing Education and KPI Monitoring Can Make Patient Access More Effective.”

Patient Access Education

All staff with patient access responsibilities must perform effectively to ensure the success of the revenue cycle in its entirety. With the shift toward high-deductible health plans and the growth in newly insured individuals, Patient Access is faced with communicating and collecting increasingly larger amounts for which patients are financially responsible. In addition to patient communications, these employees must fully understand insurance plans, coordination of benefits, medical necessity and ABNS, and the importance of the demographic and insurance information they collect and record. Our training provides Patient Access employees with the necessary training to ensure patients understand their financial obligations and payment options. This information, when communicated properly, increases payment collection and reduces days of AR.

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