Optimizing Patient Access to Meet Consumer Expectations - Omega Healthcare

Optimizing Patient Access to Meet Consumer Expectations


Optimizing Patient Access to Meet Consumer Expectations

During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and health systems accelerated their digital health capabilities to facilitate the surge of virtual visits. But even after pouring money into digital strategies, health systems remain challenged to meet the expectations of digital native patients.

Patient access teams are under pressure to recoup revenue, improve productivity and data capture, and create consumer-centric patient experiences amid disjointed patient journeys.

Patient Access: The Key to a Healthy Revenue Cycle

Think Consumer Access, Not Patient Access

Today’s patients want their healthcare experience to have the same consumer-friendly characteristics that they enjoy in other areas of their lives. They want greater convenience, choice, quality, and engagement and expect to use their smart phone or computer to connect with their healthcare providers online, via text or phone. They want more digital access to providers in the areas of scheduling, registration, payments, and more.

Improving the consumer experience is a top priority for U.S. hospitals and health systems, yet only 7% rate their capabilities high in this area, according to a recent survey on consumerism in healthcare.[1] Providers considered to be in the top-tier have dedicated focus and resources to building a consumer-centric infrastructure, offering a variety of access points, strong consumer experience, strategic pricing, and price transparency.[2] Health systems who are not yet building the necessary infrastructure for broader, sustained consumer-centric focus will be susceptible to disruption from a growing range of competitors.

Growing Disruption

From digital innovation in patient care and engagement to nimble new entrants breaking into the healthcare market with new business models, it’s no secret that disruption is creating new pressures for health systems.

Over the last several years, notable organizations have increased their healthcare delivery presence–from experienced industry players like UnitedHealth/Optum to tech-savvy entrants such as Amazon and Apple. Plus, the entry of retailers like Walmart and CVS into the healthcare arena creates added pressure for health systems as these brands excel in direct-to-consumer service and will raise the bar for consumer-centric healthcare experiences.

As disruptors enter the market, health systems face stiff competition for consumers, making patient access and patient experience critical areas for improvement. Recent research reveals that 90% of patient access leaders rank patient experience as the key differentiator for hospitals—with access to care second at 81%.[3] Both of these were far ahead of attracting top clinical talent (62%) or adding new service lines (33%).[4]

Recent research reveals that 90% of patient access leaders rank patient experience as the key differentiator for hospitals—with access to care second at 81%.[5]

To succeed, healthcare executives must find opportunities to evolve and improve their organization’s competitive advantages. That starts with optimizing patient access by streamlining scheduling and registration process to make them more convenient for consumers.

Streamlining Disjointed Patient Journeys

Automation and self-service channels received tremendous attention and investment in the wake of the COVID‑19 pandemic. Patients are eager to embrace more convenient, digitally enabled care, but healthcare organizations must realize that not every patient and not every situation can be automated.

At times, live voice services can ease patient access to your organization. More than half of patients prefer scheduling appointments over the phone, citing speed, ease of booking, and personalized service.[6] However, some patients report that on-hold/wait times to schedule an appointment can be 20 minutes or more which leads to poor satisfaction and even lost revenue.

Complex workflows also create difficulties coordinating patient journeys and ensuring patients are appropriately guided through the right steps. Identifying the appropriate level of care and priority for appointments and routing appointment requests to the correct department can be time-consuming. Over 52% of practices spend at least 10 hours a week scheduling and confirming appointments and returning patient phone calls and emails.[7] And then there’s the risk of appointments that change and must be rescheduled. For example, 72% of providers indicate that they still manually call waitlisted patients to fill cancelled appointments.[8]

Fragmentation of processes and technology are major patient issues and stand in the way of deploying a best-in-class patient experience.  More than half of patient access leaders (57%) are acutely aware of fragmented processes, identifying them as the leading obstacle to achieving their goals. This fragmentation results in a high volume of manual, repetitive tasks which can be prone to errors as well as poor patient experiences.

Challenges to High-Quality Scheduling and Registration

Scheduling and registration systems are often slow, siloed and understaffed, which impedes the registration process, mishandles staff resources, and can result in outdated, inaccurate, or missing patient demographic data.  Patient access processes that are performed manually increase the chance of mistakes and lengthen the entire workflow, slowing reimbursement and lengthening days in AR.

Omega Healthcare Can Help Optimize Patient Access

As health systems look to recoup revenue lost during the pandemic and improve patient access, process efficiency and cost savings are key to winning and retaining healthcare consumers. Outsourcing the scheduling and registration process can be a great way for hospitals, health systems, and provider practices to improve processes, save costs, and enhance patient satisfaction.

Omega Healthcare’s experienced team, enabled by ODP-CONNECT, works within your systems to provide a seamless scheduling and registration process–especially for providers experiencing staffing limitations or seeking a healthier revenue cycle. We work closely with your team to develop the criteria needed to make the most effective scheduling decisions to manage the entire scheduling and registration process for both new and existing appointment requests – at a high degree of accuracy. And because the same team that manages scheduling can manage the registration process, we can help reduce delays in care and create a streamlined, better experience for patients.

Optimizing your patient access processes? Learn more about our Patient Access solutions.

[1] “Kaufman Hall Healthcare Consumerism Index 2021,” accessed via web May 9, 2023

[2] Ibid.

[3] “U.S. Patient Access Leadership Research 2021/21,” accessed via web May 9, 2023

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] “What Three Years of Consumer Research Tells Us About Patient Access In 2020,” Healthcare Business Today, December 4, 2019

[7] “10 online scheduling stats healthcare practices should know,” PatientPop, April 2, 2020

[8] “U.S. Patient Access Leadership Research 2021/21,” accessed via web May 9, 2023


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