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Optimization efforts help rural clinic decrease registration redundancy

by Columbia Memorial Hospital

Published on 4/23/2018

To improve patient satisfaction and staff efficiencies, leaders at Columbia Memorial Hospital's (CMH) Primary Care Clinic optimized their patient registration process, which has reduced duplicate registrations by more than 95 percent.

"One of the main reasons we made this change was to handle the challenge of having multiple encounters, and also the challenge of our staff placing orders and dropping charges on the wrong encounters," said Nicole Perez, IT applications manager.

Previously, the staff registered multiple encounters for additional services that occurred during a patient's clinic visit. If a patient had lab work done during his visit, for example, he received one bill for the clinic visit and a separate bill for the lab.

In a collaboration with CommunityWorksSM and Application Management Services, CMH Primary Care Clinic staff implemented a new registration process that allowed for a single encounter to be registered for the patient's care for that day. The process involved designing Charge Services and Patient Accounting to allow for a single encounter, claim and statement.

"Creating fewer patient statements is a big satisfaction," said Liz Pilgrim, revenue and reimbursement analyst. "They're not getting a statement from a hospital encounter and one from a clinic encounter."

CMH staff implemented the new process in January 2017, which helped staff drop the number of patients registered more than once during a single visit to CMH Primary Care Clinic by 96.44 percent1. This freed up time to focus on other responsibilities, such as returning phone calls and sharing lab results with patients.

"From the back office point of view, for medical assistants, when you're working with a provider who can see 25 patients a day, you're responsible for logging medications, making sure anything that happened is appropriately documented and more," said Tamera Gann, IT ancillary analyst. "Not having to create extra encounters per patient provides the medical assistant more time to review what they're doing and make sure it's accurate."

Now that CMH Primary Care Clinic staff have more time, they can focus on enhancing the patient experience by confirming appointments, pre-registering encounters and refilling prescription requests.

"The time savings improves the quality of our employees' day-to-day experience, as well as improving patients' experience, since they receive follow-ups and results quicker," said Gann.

For more information about best practices for patient access, visit our Model Experience page.

1From average of 441.33 per month (July-December 2016) to an average of 15.73 per month (February-December 2017)

Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.