Making Things Better:
Making Things Better: End to End Integration
Data integration has become mission critical to healthcare's transition to a patient-centric system. We know that connecting clinical systems, electronic medical records and everything in between is no small task, but highly effective for providing better quality treatment. Putting patients at the center of healthcare means offering services and building processes around their needs. Consequently, the framework for an end-to-end integrated network is not complete without the financial systems connecting to the bigger picture.
A recent Becker's Hospital Review article outlines 5 indicators of a fully integrated IT system, which makes the compelling case for how healthcare has missed a critical component to a seamless integrated system - the revenue cycle. Once dominated by claims reimbursement, the revenue cycle is re-calibrating to a growing patient self-pay balance portion. Which further proves how integrating the financial systems with other healthcare information systems is imperative to building true patient-centric processes and services.
Talking to our customers about electronic payments, we hear questions about how this segment of the financial system (patient payments) can or should integrate with the over-arching information system.
Here are 5 Ways to Approach Integration with Patient Payments:
- Automated Posting The value of offering self-service payment tools like online billpay, pay-by-phone, kiosk, etc, lies in the savings of time, effort and resources traditionally dedicated to that process. A virtual payment system should feed the data (payments) it collects back to your patient accounting system through an automated process. This can be accomplished with a batch ERA file that's custom built for your HIS system requirements, or through real-time updates facilitated through a trusted gateway or API.
- Accessibility The user experience is critical to the success and performance of a payment system. To integrate patient payments successfully, the patient's perspective should be considered for how they will access the tool. Beginning with the statement or bill, promote every payment option available. With the high adoption of mobile, embedded links on website and smart QR Codes are great ways to make the payment system easily accessible to the patient.
- Clinical Interface EMR systems and patient portals are designed to engage the patient and build a greater connection between them and their health. Through a portal, patients might schedule payments, view results or request information from the provider. Create a billing module within this space to marry the financial experience with the clinical interaction. Payment systems should present the billing interface within the same user session, or discreetly tie-into the applications own screens to deliver a seamless user experience.
- Tele-Communicate TeleHealth is quite the buzz in healthcare and for good reason. It expands on the concept of delivering services through a traditional communication channel between the provider and patient. In this vein, patient payments can be integrated into the phone system of an organization in a way that automates the collection of payment and makes paying a bill more convenient (and accessible) for the patient. IVR Automtation delivers a seamless process to the patient and creates an easy way for an organization to bring yet another financial branch into the bigger information system engine.
- Visibility & Reconciliation The key to integration is in bringing data together. The accuracy of that data is paramount to successfully integrating the patient payments within the financial and over-arching information systems. To ensure accuracy, the payment system must provide adequate data for reconciling against other sources. Access to this data should be consistent and presented in a meaningful way, so that the information can be consumed and delegated appropriately. Reports, Dashboards and administrative tools collectively deliver the right information for seamless integration.
In today's digital age, an organization can employ very sophisticated tools that integrate with their systems to help engage consumers and improve operational efficiency. The key to selecting the right tools often begins with the question of how it can integrate with the systems and processes built around it's core objectives.
How are your patient payments being integrated into your enterprise information system?