Revenue Cycle ManagementOne element of revenue cycle improvement that will be coming to the forefront with the implementation of patient-centered care is patient loyalty. As a hospital, your staff and facility might provide a patient with top-notch care. Overall, they may emerge healed and satisfied with how they were treated – but then, they get their bill!


If your hospital’s billing department isn’t equipped to continue that positive patient experience after the patient is discharged, you may be losing patients.

Ineffective Revenue Cycle Management

A revenue department that is clunky, ineffective and unhelpful will keep patients away – even if the care they received in the hospital far surpassed their expectations. Unless your organization is directly communicating with patients about their experiences with billing, you may not realize just how many patients are being lost because they are unhappy with how their insurance and payment is being handled post-discharge. These battles often go on, unaddressed, for years and any patient who has ever had the misfortune of dealing with a collections agency knows it can become downright aggressive.

The Negative Grape Vine | Revenue Cycle Improvement

Not only are you losing patients who have previously been seen at your facility, but you’re also at risk of losing patients before you ever have a chance to get them through the door and woo them with your top-of-the-line care. Previous patients who are hurting from your billing department’s jumbled workflow will go forth in the community, talk to family members- even post on social media- and berate your hospital – again, even if the care you provided was very excellent.

The Patient Experience – How Much Will This Cost Me? |Revenue Cycle Improvement

Money is perhaps the only thing that will speak louder than quality care when it comes to patient satisfaction. Even when a patient is lying in their hospital bed, in pain, in the back of their minds most of them are worried about what it’s costing them. What is the next bag of fluid going to cost them? How much will that surgery cost? What portion will be covered by insurance?


It’s a lot to be thinking about when you’re supposed to be healing – that’s why, the revenue department’s responsibility to the patient begins while they are still in the hospital.

What Are Some Hospitals Doing? | Revenue Cycle Improvement

Some hospitals are experimenting with roaming billing advocates who can visit with patients while they are still in house. They can talk to them about their financial concerns, show them the breakdown of the charges, explain to them what will be covered by insurance and what will not – and some hospitals are even rewarding patients who pay off balances before they go home.


It might seem sort of crass to have a billing representative march into a patient’s room and demand money before they are even healed, but what the revenue department’s goal needs to be is not actually obtaining money – it’s all about education.


A financial counselor would be welcomed by many patients, especially those who are worried about how they’ll pay because they are uninsured. If the counselor’s aim is to educate the patient, share options and hear their concerns- rather than start demanding money- they are creating a relationship that will last when the patient goes home. The patient will leave the hospital knowing who to call to discuss payment – rather than end up on a never-ending phone queue. They will feel that the hospital was prepared to help them plan for what comes next, not just with their health but with the often hard to discuss topic of payment.


Even if they are horrified at the amount they need to pay, the financial counselor’s role is not to say, “Well, that’s just how it is” – they have a unique opportunity to guide the patient to resources, whether it be a payment plan or charity care, that will alleviate that stress – and, since a plan is in place before the patient even leaves the hospital, it increases the likelihood that the balances will be paid.


Revenue Cycle Management is an ongoing process for any hospital, but if you break it down into subsections, such as focusing on patient experience, you can address the many facets individually and strengthen your strategy as a whole.