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In part one of this series, we looked at how a Practice Management software can help your urgent care staff treat patients more efficiently. If you missed part one, read our helpful best practices for using PM software during patient check-in.
Next, we’ll look at how a Practice Management software can help you provide a quick, streamlined discharge process. Patients’ experiences may vary widely in length and complexity. However, your front-desk personnel can use a Practice Management software to ensure a positive conclusion to each patient visit.
In part two, let’s examine some best practices for using your urgent care’s Practice Management (PM) software during the patient check-out process.
Create a Check-out Process for Cash-pay (Self-pay) Patients
After treatment, patients want to leave your clinic as quickly as possible. Help expedite the check-out process for cash-pay patients. Instead of paying a co-pay up front, cash-pay patients need to settle their balances upon leaving. Identifying cash-pay patients at check-in can help receptionists be prepared to collect payment at check-out.
Have a separate process to check-out these patients. You can designate a specific front-desk person for cash-pay patients—or put a system in place to give these patients priority at check-out time. Have totals ready for the patient—and offer an easy-to-understand statement of line item charges. Payment plans and online payment options can also help you collect payments from your uninsured and cash-pay patients.
Have Credit Card Payment Integrated with PM Software
Save time by integrating credit-card processing with your PM. While most urgent cares accept credit card payment, not all clinics have this functionality built into the PM. You can prevent time-consuming double-posting by adding this payment option to your PM.
Patient payments are more likely to be accurate when you streamline payment services with integrated credit-card processing. You can use credit-card processing to streamline both ends of patient visits, collecting co-pays at check-in and collecting patient payments at check-out, all with a swipe of a card. The time savings continue with quicker end-of-day routines for balancing the day’s tally of cash and checks.
Provide a Clear Visit Summary and Discharge Instructions
Have a clear process for providing patients with visit summaries and discharge instructions. In some cases, this can be handled by a discharge nurse or provider, while other clinics might choose to have a front-desk person provide this information. Visit summaries and discharge instructions should be easily printed from your PM.
If you have a secure patient portal, you can also offer to send information electronically. Whomever provides instructions, offer the option of reading them aloud—and verifying where prescriptions were sent, if not filled by your clinic.
Ask Patients about Desired Follow-ups
A best practice for your front desk is to note within your PM what steps the patient needs you to take next. After a visit, a patient may want your clinic to inform their primary care physician of the care they received from your staff. A patient might want to get a follow-up call or to have an appointment scheduled if they don’t have an established primary care physician.
Again, if you have a patient portal, patients also can request these follow-ups after they have left your clinic. With portal messaging, a patient can communicate directly with the provider—as well as request prescription refills, voice concerns about healing complications, and ask questions about at-home treatment.
Request Evaluation or Survey at Check-out
Most of the time, an unsatisfactory patient experience happens while the patient is in the clinic. To spot unhappy patients quickly and to save a valuable patient relationship, offer evaluations or survey cards at check-out. Train front-desk staff to ask patients about their visit experience, and give them tools to remedy those visits.
Surveys can be provided as part of discharge instructions—just be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope. If you want to use an electronic method, you can send surveys through a patient portal, or by email if your survey doesn’t include any personal health information. Mailing a survey to the patient a week or so after the visit is another option, as well. No matter what method you use, though, keep it quick at check-out, when your patient is focused on getting home.
Using a Practice Management software properly can help your staff streamline a patient’s check-out process. Take advantage of tools available within your PM to speed up your patient discharge—and to provide a higher level of patient satisfaction. Remember, consistent process reviews will help you refine your current check-out steps.
What best practices does your clinic use while discharging patients using a Practice Management software? Share your tips in the comments.