The Patient Experience: How You Can Know – Patient Presentation

By Kent McAllister

PART 3 of 4

Recently, Vyne Medical's Kent McAllister was featured in MultiBriefs sharing his thoughts on the patient experience and how you can know what is actually happening from the patient’s perspective in your health system. In part three, Kent shares his views on patient presentation, or the "first five minutes."

Patient Presentation

The aforementioned sliver of healthcare that deserves special attention in today’s healthcare environment is that of patient presentation. That is, when an individual presents him or herself at a facility and encounters a provider organization’s representative in a face-to-face interaction.

 

These initial five minutes cover several topics that must be addressed to help this individual become a patient. Topics typically include confirmation of basic demographics, insurance eligibility, financial obligations, planned course of care, physician relationships, an introduction to facility and other social services and more.

 

These five minutes are critical because they typically represent (in the mind of the patient) the starting point for the life of a patient encounter with the hospital — indeed, for the launching of a patient relationship.

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Prior to these five minutes, they may be a member of a health plan and a patient of a community physician, but now they are crossing the chasm and making the shift toward becoming a patient of your health system.

 

While many of the topics in this first face-to-face conversation are initially addressed in pre-registration and patient scheduling phone interactions, they are finalized in this all-important initial face-to-face conversation. We are all familiar with the common phrase "this call may be recorded for quality and training purposes" when any type of customer service call occurs in the general marketplace.

 

The measurement of these interactions is important and is typically managed with some rigor. But why do we stop there?

 

Why do so few provider organizations apply the same measurement discipline to face-to-face conversations, when registration actually occurs, as they do to the pre-registration phone calls?

 

The financial performance of all health systems suffer when this conversation is not completed in a high-quality manner. Stated more directly, those health systems not measuring this critical first five-minute conversation are risking revenue and patient satisfaction.

 

One evidence of this is the rate of claim denials by health plans due to inaccurate or incomplete registration information. Another evidence is the increase in cash collections prior to discharge in those health systems that do measure and bring management focus to this first five minutes.

 

Experience has shown that with measurements in initial face-to-face patient presentations, all parties benefit with improved tone and content on all information exchanges — and health system financial performance, patient satisfaction, employee morale and third-party accountability all improve.