Feature February 10, 2021 Kayla Valiquette, BSN, RNC-NIC

Why is patient registration so important?

Patient registration has always been a challenge. Discover tools and tips to improve your process and get registration right the first time.

Nurse registering a patient at the office.

The first element of the revenue cycle starts with patient registration. If anything is omitted, given incorrectly by the patient, or entered incorrectly by the front desk the next steps in the cycle will ultimately fail.

Maintaining a good patient registration process

Healthcare practices and clinics should use a checklist or script to be sure all necessary information is collected at the time of scheduling, either in person or over the phone. The following few items should be a good starting point for what to include in the patient registration process:

  1. At a minimum, the type of insurance the patient has will help the front desk know what information to collect from the patient. The patient should be informed immediately if the providers are not in the insurance network. If this isn’t clear, a lot of time will be wasted, and will only result in frustrated patients.
  2. It’s also a good practice to explain to the patient what information they should bring to the appointment. This could include their driver’s license, insurance card, a list of current medications, allergies, etc. Having this information on hand if it’s needed will ensure the patient can provide all of the necessary accurate information.
  3. It’s important to discuss the expectation of payment at the time of the visit, so there is no uncertainty or argument about what needs to be paid and when.
  4. Lastly, let the patient know what time they should arrive so there is no delay, and if any paperwork or registration work can be completed beforehand.

Read More: Copays: Can you waive them?

Making the patient registration process easier

Registration at a medical office is difficult. Generally, the individuals filling out the forms don’t feel well or they are caretakers for the ill patient and their attention is elsewhere. It’s not uncommon for items to be skipped and for individuals to get frustrated with the whole process. The goal of the forms is to make for a seamless billing process. Over two thirds of the information submitted on a claim form is given by the patient or guardian during the registration process. If information is left out or illegible, a breakdown in the system occurs.

Staff should review the forms for items that may cause them to have difficulty transcribing. Eligibility should be checked to verify benefits. Doing so within the software or on payer portals can help ensure that most of the insurance information needed to submit a claim is accurate. Staff should also ensure that all scans of documents are legible, should anything need to be verified in the future.

Wrapping up

Most registration errors occur because the process is simply too difficult. There are either a ton of forms to deal with or the language on the forms includes terminology that the general population is not familiar with (i.e. guarantor, subscriber, etc.). Reviewing your form to clarify this type of terminology can allow for accurate information to be provided. The key for practices is to have a registration process that is easy to understand and allows for easy recording of the information. Computer software is an ideal solution; given that employees can actually understand it. It may not eliminate errors altogether, but it can help spot issues sooner.

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Bravado Health

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