Your revenue cycle cannot be fully optimized unless it is treated as a tool for patient retention. Every patient touch point can be an opportunity to build customer loyalty and increase the probability they will utilize your services in the future. Inversely, even a patient that had an exceptional experience with your medical staff can be lost to the competition if they become dissatisfied with your revenue cycle processes. In our experience managing the various revenue cycle processes for our clients, RevCycle discovered that there is a simple and easy to implement step that, when taken, can almost instantaneously increase patient satisfaction throughout the revenue cycle. This step is the implementation of what we call the Dignity Survey.
The Dignity Survey has two elements. The first element is to make the patient aware of your commitment to maintain their dignity. This should be done near the beginning of each patient interaction. Our staff at RevCycle use the statement “My goal is to treat you with respect and to maintain your dignity during each and every communication, and if you will allow me, I would like to ask you to confirm if I have been successful at the end of our call today”. We have found that just this first element works wonders on multiple levels. As you might imagine, this statement serves to disarm an initially frustrated consumer and helps set a positive tone for the remainder of the call. What you may not have guessed is that our staff have overwhelmingly reported that they find incredible value in this statement helping them remember that this is their top priority as they are working with difficult consumers. Even during what have historically proven to be the most challenging patient interactions such as “bad-debt collections”, the real world benefits of delivering this message to the patient is staggering. For example, the percentage of outbound phone attempts in which the consumer hangs up on us has dropped by over 75% since the implementation of our Dignity Survey.
The second element to the Dignity Survey is the collection of data on how the consumer felt about the interaction. Our staff at RevCycle ask “As I stated at the beginning of the call, my goal has been to treat you with dignity and respect, have I been able to accomplish that for you today?” The results are then documented by our staff and also verified by our speech to text call analytics software. The combination of these two elements results in not only an inherently better patient experience, but also provides you with a mechanism to identify interactions in which the patient was not satisfied so that you can focus on those interactions to identify opportunities for process improvement.