In the face of our quickly changing healthcare environment, there is one constant: the Patient Access department.
As you know, patients can sometimes feel apprehensive and may need support upon entering a hospital. When people aren’t feeling well, a patient access team member needs to be fast, accurate and, friendly. The first interaction can set the entire tone for the rest of the hospital visit.
“Patient access staff are usually the first faces that patients see when coming in for their service at the facility,” says Capital Patient Access Director Stacy Rindy. “We have the responsibility of setting the tone of the patients experience and offer a warm, friendly face to greet them.”
While Patient Access team members strive to provide an easy check-in process upon arrival, the department doesn’t simply act as a just patient check-in spot.
In an average day, the Patient Access department handles a variety of requests from many, including physicians, nurses and patients.
“Our team provides a wide variety of service to our patients,” Rindy says.” We perform the majority of the legwork on behalf of the patient to ensure that their visit and/or stay with us is as stress-free as possible.”
This often starts with diagnostic schedulers who schedule patient visits at the facility or at our Out Patient Diagnostic Imaging center. Insurance verifiers will next work with the referring physician and the patients’ insurance plan to make sure that their services are authorized if required.
“We also offer patients education about our Charity Policy, co-pays, deductibles, and offer estimates in advance so that patients can make informed decisions about their healthcare.”
The Patient Access Month theme this year is Shaping Our Future.
“Our team consistently looks for ways to improve the patient experience,” notes Rindy. “One way is by utilizing technologies that allow us to ease the stress of the patient’s experience.”
Rindy cites the use of web-based tools that speed the verification and authorization process so that patients may receive care without unnecessary delay.
“People want convenience,” Rindy reminds, “whether it’s having their car serviced, home delivery of groceries, and even with their healthcare. We appreciate providing access to patient portals, having a pre-registration process to speed up their check in time on their day of service, being transparent and educating patients about what to expect during their service and/or stay so they can make decisions that are best for them.”
In addition to customer and patient satisfaction skills that can be trained, kindness and warmth must be present for the first impression. One part of the patient access team member job is to ease their concerns in a caring and efficient manner.
“What we do is in our name: Patient Access,” Rindy says. “We help facilitate the access of quality healthcare to the patients we serve.”
As we recognize National Patient Access Week, we acknowledge our special goodwill ambassadors in the Access department for setting the standard of care that all our hospital team members aspire to achieve.
“We have a great Patient Access team,” Rindy beams. “Even though they are not involved in clinical care, all of our staff truly care for our patients and want to contribute to providing quality care.”