Survey reveals majority of hospitals collect from patients at 'snail' speed

Many revenue cycle professionals representing hospitals want to improve the speed of patient collections, according to an ACI Worldwide survey.

The survey of 112 revenue cycle professionals took place in September at the Becker's Hospital Review 3rd Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle conference in Chicago.

Here are four survey findings.

1. A majority of respondents (63 percent) said their organization collects from patients at a "snail" speed, while only 37 percent said their organization collects at a "cheetah" speed.

2. Eighty-nine percent of hospitals reported they are unhappy with the speed of their patient collections.

3. Respondents cited a number of problems with speeding up patient collections. Eighty-seven percent of hospitals cited "collecting copay before appointment" and "engaging patients after appointment" as problems. Additionally, the survey found a similar number of hospitals cited "measuring success of different strategies" (86 percent) and "knowing how much patients can pay" (85 percent). Seventy-six percent of hospitals said "simplifying bills" was a problem.

4. Given these problems in speeding up patient collections, sixty-one percent of revenue cycle professionals would like to "tell patients amount due before appointments," while 55 percent would like to "communicate with patients how they want." Other desired revenue cycle improvements cited by respondents included "receive more data on patient likelihood to pay" (52 percent), "speak to patients differently based on their finances" (47 percent), and "offer customized payment plans" (42 percent).


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