Nancy Brooks, Business Office Manager, Radiology Regional Center
Vicki Durso, Revenue Process Manager, Radiology Regional Center
What are your predictions for healthcare payments in 2017?
Nancy: No matter what happens with healthcare in 2017, one thing for sure is that healthcare technology will continue to get better and more robust. My prediction is that healthcare organizations will continue to leverage technologies that improve every aspect of their day-to-day processes. This extends to improving the payments process as well. The more healthcare organizations take advantage of advanced technologies to improve efficiency and reduce costs when it comes to the payment process, the better off the industry as a whole will be.
What do you consider to be the biggest achievement for the healthcare payments industry in recent years?
Vicki: Everyone is starting to talk to each other more. I think every stakeholder is realizing how connected we are in the payments process and how we can all benefit from better communication. Where before certain groups used to function in a bubble, there is more constant and effective communication between us all. I think the transition from mainly paper-based processes and transactions to electronic ones has certainly helped that. Providers and payers can communicate with each other quickly and more accurately than we used to, and both groups are communicating much more clearly with their patients and members.
What do you think is currently the biggest challenge to simplifying healthcare payments?
Nancy: For providers, it’s collecting patient responsibility on time and in full. Patients are still getting familiar with what the increase in their out-of-pocket costs really means when they go to visit the doctor. I think most patients understand that they are probably going to have to pay, but they usually have no idea how much they are going to owe. Healthcare providers can do a better job of setting patient expectations upfront, and I think the best way to do this is to use an estimator tool. Providers can leverage technology that lets them access eligibility information, set up customized fee schedules and consistently deliver the most accurate estimate of a patient’s responsibility.
If you could change one thing about the way your organization handles the healthcare payment process today, what would it be?
Vicki: We want to continue to leverage technology to improve the patient experience by communicating patient responsibility and benefits. We also want to increase our patients’ access to their payment responsibility estimates electronically using handheld devices, desktop, email, applications and text messaging to meet growing patient demands for fast, accurate information.
Have you been to Philadelphia before?
Nancy: Yes, for a conference many years ago.
Vicki: Yes, most recently for the InstaMed User Conference 2016
What’s your favorite thing about the city?
Nancy & Vicki: The historical sites.
What are you most looking forward to at the InstaMed User Conference 2017?
Nancy: Vicki and I are both really excited to talk to InstaMed users about our success with InstaMed. At Radiology Regional Center, we use the InstaMed Estimator solution to give patients an accurate estimate of what their patient responsibility is going to be. Our front office staff presents this estimate to our patients and begins a conversation with them about their payment options. By setting patient expectations and bringing payment into the conversation with our patients, we’ve improved our upfront collections and created a better experience for our patients.
Vicki: I’m hoping that our presentation is going to really spark a conversation with other InstaMed users, especially those who use InstaMed but aren’t using some of the more advanced solutions, like the Estimator solution. I’m looking forward to talking with many providers who are looking to make a change to their current patient payment collection process, and I hope that Nancy and I come away from those conversations with new information and advice as well.
Wiz wit or wiz witout?
We wouldn’t dare make assumptions on this one! If you need a little guidance…
Vicki and Nancy: We’ve never had an authentic Philly cheesesteak!