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Patient Collections During A Pandemic: Part 1: Emotional Intelligence

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

Patient collections just got even harder.

On top of an already difficult task, patient’s are out of work or unsure of their financial future during this pandemic.

In this series of 3 posts, I discuss ways to improve patient collections during this time. While there is no exact solution, we did get valuable information from a recent webinar presented by TriZetto Provider Solutions with Susan Childs, FACMPE. Three main takeaways from the webinar for me were:

  1. Emotional intelligence

  2. Review your contracts

  3. Front office support from The Billing Department (or your billing department)

In this first series, emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is defined by as:

Skill in perceiving, understanding, and managing emotions and feelings

Daniel Goleman is an author and science journalist who has written numerous books on the subject. Goleman outlines the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace:

The rules for work are changing. We're being judged by a new yardstick: not just by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other. This yardstick is increasingly applied in choosing who will be hired and who will not, who will be let go and who retained, who passed over and who promoted. The new rules predict who is most likely to become a star performer and who is most prone to derailing. And, no matter what field we work in currently, they measure the traits that are crucial to our marketability for future jobs. These rules have little to do with what we were told was important in school; academic abilities are largely irrelevant to this standard. The new measure takes for granted having enough intellectual ability and technical know-how to do our jobs; it focuses instead on personal qualities, such as initiative and empathy, adaptability and persuasiveness.

Emotional intelligence is an important aspect of any healthcare practice. Susan Childs, FACMPE discussed this in great detail during the webinar. She first began by asking us to consider a patient’s first experience with a front office. If the patient is met with a staff member who does not greet the patient, is uninterested in the patient or worse, rude to the patient, the patient feels uncared for. If a patient isn’t cared for, then why would the patient want to pay for their services, why should they care? Presenting a kind, empathetic and adaptable front office actually helps increase your patient collections. It opens the door to discussions around payment, it makes these discussions much easier, since the patient will not be on defense.

Consider sitting in your front office and watching how your staff interacts with your patients. Some providers find that difficult, and ask us to do this for them. Surprising to many, we can! We are able to set up computer monitoring and evaluate your staff while they work. We can monitor your staff for a few hours over the course of a few weeks. We report back to the provider on how they can support their staff members increasing their emotional intelligence.

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