Every health care organization collects patient demographic details. But only few realize that every little detail collected from the patient is very crucial for insurance claims.
As an health care provider you need to educate and train the staff in collecting this essential data. Let us see more on how we can effectively collect patient demography details.
Have an easy to fill Patient Registration Form
Even though, collecting this detail is important, too many questions or open ended questions may annoy the patients. So it is the need of the hour to keep your patient appointment/registration form as simple and easy as possible.
The form should also have more of closed end questions like yes/no type to make the filling process easier.In the same way the hospital staff need to stress on the key data that need to be filled mandatory for their own benefit.
Ensure accurate data transfer from the patient registration form to the computer
The collected data has to be entered electronically through a computer. There is a chance of human error when typing the patient demographic entry into the system.
Since most of the hospital staff will be in a hurry to attend patients, there is an higher chance of typing or leaving out the key information.
As we all know, human error is inevitable, we can always have a back up option of filing all the patient demographic entry forms in a physical file manually.
This will help us to cross verify the manual and the digital entry. Another important thing to be noted, is checking the information that the patient has provided.
Since the patient writes it, sometimes they might miss out filling few key fields or their handwriting may not be legible for reading.
So it is important for the hospital staff, to go through the filled form as soon as the patient hands over it. If there are any doubts in spelling or missing information of important things then you can get it clarified, at that time.
For example, If the name is “Lewis” but the entry made in the computer is “Lewise” then it will become almost impossible to get the insurance claim unless the spelling is corrected.
In the same way, lot of other important things like age, ethnicity, etc are also crucial to process the claims. If there are issues in the information provided, then there is a greater possibility of claims denial.
Problem in maintenance of Patient data
Another major problem that hospitals go through is maintenance of patient information. This is where outsourced billing companies come into play.
When the hospital’s billing process is outsourced, then the outsourced company takes care of the claims, patient records and data accuracy. They are well trained in getting insurance claims, procedures, processing period and so on.
They are also well versed in various medical billing software. This makes the job easier for hospitals. Most importantly, outsourcing reduces the workload of hospital staff and practitioners. On the other hand, it also increases the claim revenues by 20 – 30% easily.
Regular update of Patient information
Another scenario that one can come across is when there is a change of address or a contact number. So it is important to stay in touch with your patients to stay up to date of their information.
While staying in touch with your patients is a good thing, but too much of communication can be bad as well. May be once in a month or once in 2 months newsletter or an email will serve the purpose.
May be once in 6 months we can also send an online form asking them to update their latest information in it.
A typical Patient Demographic entry
Patient Demographic Entry will contain the following key elements plus some more additional information
Contact Information fields like Name, Contact number, Address and Email id
Additional Emergency contact number
Date of Birth
Allergies, if any
Your current Insurance company
Your Family Doctor’s Name and contact details
Importance of Patient Demographics
- The struggle of healthcare professionals while collecting timely payments on outstanding bills are understandable.
- Whether it’s an outsourced medical billing company or in-house billing, getting paid in timely manner takes to one important detail, patient demographics.
- For a patient who visits healthcare professionals office, it is important to update the patient demographics also for the existing patients as it is for the new patients.
- In case if the existing patients information is not collected and his phone number changed, then claim won’t result in payments.
- So, it’s always vital to update and enter patient demographics details for the existing as well as new patients.
- Generally, the patient won’t about their details being stored in the system. So, even if you question them, they answer that nothing has changed for them accordingly.
- Patient demographics details entry will go a long way by ensuring accurate information, which will save the claims from denials and rejections.
If you are struggling or finding it difficult to manage your medical billing, then you can outsource it to a provider. Here is a list of the best medical billing companies in the United States. If you have more queries on medical billing, do visit this blog regularly.