PatientWay Blog

Patient registration: the impact of an error-prone process

Written by Jay Lawrence on January 28th, 2013. Posted in Hospital kiosk, Hospital process redesign, Patient registrations, Patient Self-Service

Patient registration form Patient registration: the impact of an error prone processConcerned about data errors introduced through your patient registration process?

If not, you should be.

Errors—even seemingly small ones—represent not only a significant financial burden, but your ability to provide proper patient care.

In other words, your error-prone patient registration system may be hurting the very people you’re trying to help.

The cost of “rework”

Research shows that up to 80% of billing office staff time is dedicated to rework due to registration data errors and incomplete information.

For example, a missing guarantor or subscriber information, invalid policy or group number, or missing authorization can lead to insurance claim delays and denials.

Almost 100% of all claims must be submitted to insurance companies more than once—in fact, this study reports that insurers must go back to hospitals two times on average to get all the information needed to pay a claim.

In the US, healthcare administration consumes more than one-third of healthcare costs. This can likely be blamed in part to delayed or lost billing revenues arising from claims denials—which can cost a hospital millions of dollars.

Increased patient risks

Every single error also elevates the risk to patient safety (not to mention a legal risk to healthcare providers).

Duplicate medical records are one of the most critical issues facing health information technology departments. Most often, they are created as a result of inaccurate data entry.

With the existence of multiple records for a single patient, it is likely that healthcare providers will miss critical information because it is located in the duplicate. They may also have trouble locating certain files when needed for patient interactions.

Building a foundation to reduce errors

More often than not, patient data errors introduced through registration are the result of registrar human error, incorrect information provided by the patient, or a change in the patient’s information.

But fixing an error after it happens simply isn’t a cost-efficient use of your healthcare facility’s time or resources.

The solution is to build a foundation for accurate, clean data.

A patient self-service kiosk is a preventative (rather than reactive) solution that helps reduce the potential for registration errors before they can occur, by:

  • eliminating, if not reducing, the need for patients to interact with staff to register/check-in;
  • making it easy for patients to validate and correct their demographic information through customized prompts; and
  • frees up staff’s time by automating many registrar tasks such as printing forms, wristbands, updating tracking boards and other systems, and even logging data to databases.

The quality of your patient registration data is critical to the work you do, and how well you do it. If you haven’t yet considered the havoc that errors can have on your finances and patients, now’s the time to start paying attention.

Jay Lawrence

Jay Lawrence is the CEO of PatientWay, a leading provider of patient self-service technology and process improvement services.  Jay's vision of bringing measurable cost and time efficiencies to health care organizations, while improving patient and staff satisfaction, is quickly being realized as leading providers such as Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Southlake Regional Health Centre and the Stronach Cancer Care Centre, are just a few of the many that have adopted PatientWay technology. Jay is a recipient of the Ottawa Business Journal's Forty under 40 Award in 2009, Industry Canada Innovation Leader also in 2009, and Chair of the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) Path to Recognition (PTR) National Steering Committee.

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