Ensuring a Positive Patient Experience: The Vital Role of Patient Registration

Patient registration is an often undervalued, yet significant opportunity to enhance the patient experience. It sets the stage for the entire patient journey, and any misstep here can have serious repercussions for outcomes, reimbursement, and overall patient satisfaction.

Changing Patient Expectations

>47% increase in average annual family premiums since 2013

Patients are now responsible for a larger portion of their healthcare costs. According to KFF, in 2023, average annual premiums rose by seven percent, with single coverage at $8,435 and family coverage at $23,968.1 Average annual family premiums increased by 47% since 2013. This increased financial responsibility has caused patients to expect a higher level of service and greater financial transparency. Yet, staffing and clinician shortages have made meeting these expectations more challenging.

Consider patient wait times. The average time patients wait to see a doctor is now 26 days, a 24% increase since 2004.2 For some specialties, wait times can reach as high as 84 days, while primary care appointments average 20.6 days. Imagine waiting weeks or months for an appointment and then facing long wait times once patients arrive for their appointments. Poor registration processes are often to blame.

The 15-Minute Milestone


Research shows that long wait times are associated with poor patient satisfaction ratings.3 In light of that, providers should aim for a throughput time of 15 minutes. Throughput is the time from when the patient checks in at the main entrance to when the clinical staff greets them for the service. The best way to achieve this milestone without compromising quality is to improve the patient registration process.

More than 22% of organizations surveyed said they lose half a million dollars annually due to denials, and one in ten reports losing more than two million.4

The challenge for many providers is that patient registration is still a highly manual, paper-based process. Because of this, it is prone to errors that can have a significant impact on patients and providers alike. For patients, it can lead to prior authorization or medical necessity issues, delays in care, and surprise bills. For providers, inefficient registration processes can lead to inaccurate eligibility information, denied claims, and delayed reimbursement.

Leveraging Technology


One of the best ways to improve patient registration is to adopt technologies that can automate eligibility verification. A patient’s insurance status and eligibility information changes many times throughout their lives. Even when their insurance carrier doesn’t change, annual renewals can mean changes to things like co-pays, deductibles, prior authorizations, and eligibility status. These variations can make it challenging for providers to accurately determine patient responsibility and to ensure optimal payer reimbursement.

Automation technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) can capture insurance, eligibility, and demographic data faster and more accurately than humans alone. These technologies use intelligent workflows to make it easier to identify coverage changes, as well as secondary and tertiary coverage. Having this information helps reduce denials, delays in care, write-offs, and surprise bills.

Another way technology can help improve patient registration is through digital options. Consumers have come to expect digital options in other areas of their lives and they’d like the same options for healthcare. Allowing them to register online gives them more control, more time to find the information they need, and the flexibility to register when it’s most convenient for them.

The many benefits of digital registration include the following:
  • Customized communications based on patient preferences (text, email, portal)
  • Registration links go directly to a mobile registration app or online registration portal
  • Enables automated appointment reminders
  • Seamless integration with the electronic health record
  • Improves patient privacy and security
  • Reduces manual data entry and errors
  • Frees up staff for more patient-facing tasks

Partnering for Success


Efficient registration processes are vital to achieving an optimal bottom line and a positive patient experience, and they play a critical role in creating sustainable financial health for the organization. However, it can be challenging to implement the resources, processes, and innovative technologies necessary to develop these efficiencies. Partnering with industry experts can help. Conifer Health is the perfect choice.

Our patient registration solution drives automation and efficiency through seamless integrations through a single application. This proprietary, best-of-breed technology was designed to address a provider’s most pressing registration challenges. Leveraging advanced rules, our solutions can improve accuracy and downstream results to deliver a positive return on investment. Results include the following:

98%

financial clearance rate

70%

of prior authorizations automated

75%

decrease in patient wait times

98%

decrease in denials*

>2000

quality rules**

>2M

authorization rules

~80%

touchless patient liability estimation***

*
Vs. manual authorizations through automated authorizations
**
For national, state, facility-specific, and the market
***
Using eligibility information for accounts that qualify

A More Integrated Registration Experience

Since registration is typically the first service patients experience, it sets the stage for the entire encounter. Leveraging technology, digital options, and an experienced industry partner can create a more integrated registration experience that can help improve patient satisfaction and long-term financial viability.

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