Top 2 Trends Gastroenterology Practices Are Using to Boost Profits

Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Chloe From Clearwave | May 6, 2024

As we navigate through 2024, gastroenterology practices find themselves at a critical juncture. The healthcare landscape is evolving rapidly, and patients’ expectations are higher than ever before. To remain competitive and provide the best possible care, practices must adapt to the changing needs of their patients. Keep reading to learn two top trends that gastroenterology practices are focusing on: the urgent push for modern clinical intake procedures and the steady increase in time spent on accounts receivable (AR).

Trend 1: Time in Accounts Receivable (AR) is Steadily Increasing

Gastroenterology practices are grappling with the challenge of rising expenses while simultaneously struggling to drive fast collections to offset those costs. In recent studies, nearly 56% of medical groups reported an increase in their time in AR, and one in three physicians stated that their financial progress had worsened compared to previous years. 

One of the primary reasons behind slow payments are claims rejections, which often result from inaccurate patient data, such as misspelled names and incorrect birth dates or insurance ID numbers. These seemingly small mistakes can lead to significant setbacks in the revenue cycle, requiring claims to be corrected and resubmitted, thus extending the time-to-payment and increasing costs.

Another factor contributing to slow payments is the difficulty in contacting patients after they have received care. When patient contact information is outdated, front-office staff may struggle to reach them, leading to delayed collections or even lost revenue.

How to Prepare:

To address these AR challenges, gastroenterology practices should focus on optimizing their revenue cycle to prevent complications before they occur. This can be achieved through proactive steps such as:

Proactively Determining Patient Responsibility: 

Implementing an insurance verification solution that provides accurate information at scheduling, a few days prior to the appointment and at check-in can help staff quickly identify and resolve insurance errors, ensuring that patients are aware of their financial responsibilities before their visit. Here’s what to look for in a patient insurance verification solution to ensure increased collections and faster payments:

Prompt Payment Collection at Every Check-In: 

Utilizing patient self-registration solutions, such as kiosks, can accelerate the payment process at check-in, making it simple, quick, and private for every patient. Ortho Florida member practices using Clearwave are seeing average co-pay collection rates of 95% and driving significant reductions in old AR through improved patient collection tactics. Here’s what their CEO had to say about the results, “Clearwave has been able to prompt patients to pay those amounts at their next appointment or steer patients towards payment plans, which has made a huge impact on patient AR.” By automating the payment process and offering flexible payment options, gastroenterology practices can significantly improve their collections and reduce the burden on staff.

Improving Data Capture

Automating data capture through patient self-registration can help minimize front-end challenges that lead to delays in the back-end billing process and slower payments. By allowing patients to personally check in and review their information, practices can reduce the risk of errors and increase the likelihood of patients noticing and correcting mistakes in their personal information. In a recent webinar conversation called, “Show Me the Money,” Kristal Niblett, Billing Manager at Annapolis Neurology Associates, shared what their practice used to improve data capture and reduce back-end billing costs as a result! You may find value in what their practice implemented.

Trend 2: Patient Demands for Modern Check-in Impact Loyalty, Revenue & Reviews 

In today’s fast-paced healthcare environment, patients are increasingly demanding a modern registration experience from their providers. Failure to prioritize this aspect of patient care may result in patients seeking care elsewhere. 

Allowing patients to fill out forms ahead of time and self-check-in at the office can significantly reduce wait times and expedite their journey to the exam room, an experience that the majority of today’s patients require. The Patient Experience Report reveals that 79% of patients place a high importance on timeliness and wait times when deciding whether to continue seeing the same doctor, and 68% consider a “fast check-in process” as crucial to their in-office experience.

A staggering one-third of patients have switched doctors due to unfriendly staff, highlighting the importance of creating a welcoming environment. The report also found that 73% of patients keep a “mental scorecard” of all the things they like and dislike about a new doctor’s office, with factors such as timeliness, friendliness of the staff and use of modern technology notably contributing to the overall experience. Many patients actively seek out doctors who better fit their preferences, making it essential for gastroenterology practices to prioritize patient satisfaction and adopt technology that streamlines the check-in process and enhances the patient experience.

It’s important to consider that many patients prefer to complete health and consent forms from the comfort of their own homes. Simplifying the process for patients can improve patient retention and reduce the risk of negative online reviews. With 74% of patients reading online reviews when selecting a new doctor and 59% likely to provide feedback on online review platforms, the approach to patient registration matters more than ever before.

How to Prepare:

To meet patient demands and improve reputation management and loyalty, gastroenterology practices should:

Use a Digital Patient Pre-Registration Tool That Includes Clinical Intake: 

Find a solution that enables patients to complete all necessary demographic and medical history information, including pre-screeners and consents, in advance, anywhere, anytime. This will streamline the check-in process and reduce wait times, ensuring a more satisfying patient experience. 

After implementing pre-check, one specialty practice saw benefits across their office, with their patient access assistant manager sharing, “With pre-registration and clinical intake taken care of at home, we can accommodate more patients every day, which helps us get patients to their doctor faster and meet our providers’ desired patient volumes. We can continue to bring more surgeons into our practice and keep patient throughput efficient, which has been a big help.” Read their story here.

Use Passwordless Patient Pre-Registration Solutions:

With 57% of patients seeing no use for a patient portal, it’s crucial to offer a more accessible and user-friendly alternative. Passwordless pre-registration and clinical intake solutions ensure that all patients can easily complete the necessary steps without the hassle of remembering login credentials or navigating a complex portal application. 

By sending patients digital pre-registration links via reminders or other notifications, they can access and complete the required information seamlessly. This approach has proven to be highly effective, with practices adopting passwordless pre-registration seeing patient utilization rates of self-registration soaring to 90% and above. Streamlining the pre-registration process not only improves the patient experience but also reduces the administrative burden on staff, allowing them to focus on delivering high-quality care.

Use Patient Self-Registration Kiosks to Further Streamline Check-in: 

Implementing patient self-registration kiosks in the office can reduce staff involvement in registration and give patients a way to review their data on screen and check in in under two minutes. This approach also improves co-pay collection rates, as the kiosks can prompt patients to pay privately. By simplifying the patient experience and speeding up check-in, practices can expect to receive better reviews and maintain a positive reputation in the competitive healthcare market. 

Simply by leveraging self-registration kiosks, Ortho Florida member practices are seeing under 2 minute check-in times and 95% monthly co-pay collection rates. As a result, they have also reduced staffing burdens across the board, with their leadership sharing, “Care centers using Clearwave are repurposing their staff to different areas within the office. For example, you can take someone from check-in and put that person in the phone room or move them wherever you need them most. Because Clearwave is there, every day, checking people in and collecting payments.” Read the full story here.

Embracing Innovation and Efficiency: The Path to Success for Gastroenterology Practices

As gastroenterology practices navigate the challenges of 2024, addressing patient demands for streamlined check-in  procedures and tackling the issue of increasing time in AR will be crucial for success. By implementing strategies such as patient self-registration solutions, proactive insurance verification, and automated data capture, practices can enhance the patient experience, improve financial performance, and position themselves for long-term growth.

Do you want to learn about more trends in Gastroenterology in 2024? Download the guide here!

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