Patients who place fewer and shorter support calls are, on average, lower in cost to serve. One way to shorten call duration is to provide support representatives with fast and easy online access to exact copies of patient bills, thereby allowing them to quickly handle questions regarding services rendered and how to make a payment.
When patient statements are archived, front desk and customer service personnel can review past and current statements with patients at check-in—making the often impersonal billing experience much more personal. In fact, the check-in process at the front desk can become an opportunity for patients to resolve questions, thereby saving call center resources later.
Providers can also improve their ability to track cash flows when patient statements are archived. Managers can view documents both before and after distribution to patients (whether printed or online) and see precisely when payment was accepted. Statement data can then be aggregated for more robust reporting. These archiving benefits extend from the front desk to the CFO’s office, with all levels of the business office gaining increased capacity to knowledgeably and efficiently engage with the patient.
At Apex, we typically suggest that the archive file comprise at least 12 months of data, with some organizations benefiting from 16 or 24 months. The specific decision will vary based on audit requirements and whether customers may need documents for tax purposes. Also, some organizations may wish to maintain statement archives for longer periods, matching the duration to medical records maintained under HIPAA requirements (typically a minimum of six years).