There’s been much talk about the Patient Journey in clinical environments but there is another journey that must be reviewed both for your revenue stream and your patient satisfaction.

While hospitals and hospital systems have long looked after the patient experience in clinical environments, there’s an over-looked facet that could be hurting both your patient satisfaction and your bottom line: Your Patients Financial Experience.

We recently caught up with President of Revenue Cycle Coding Strategies, Melody W. Mulaik, to discuss what this could look like and what it reveals in organizations such as yours.

“Healthcare has kept their focus on patient care and while this has proven to be incredibly important it frequently comes at the cost of some operational practices. In my work we see the patient financial experience review to be particularly helpful to identify inefficiencies across the revenue management cycle.” Mulaik shared.

The critical role that revenue management and finance plays in the clinical environment is completely co-dependent; Mulaik shared why this is an area often overlooked.  “Often times organizations we speak with believe the insurance payors are the slowest and they’re frequently blamed for revenue issues; because that’s their belief, the thinking is there’s no action to be taken. The truth is in 20+ years working in this space I’ve never seen the insurance payors as the primary issue. There’s always another blip in the process, or more.”

To effectively map out your patient financial journey you can take these initial efforts:

  1. During the intake process ensure that the patient’s accurate payer is identified, and contact information is accurate for proper filing.
  2. Evaluate how close the time of service and the appropriate billing codes are applied. “There are instances where we’ve seen clinicians not providing final sign off on clinical documentation until days after patient release from the ED.” Mulaik added creating an understandable bottleneck, plagued with inaccuracies because of the time lag.
  3. Ensure there is follow-up to procedures, account ownership and authority to resolve. “Frequently in large organizations with many employees dedicated to working Accounts Receivables, the accounts can be passed back and forth with no real ownership.  There are often incomplete status updates in the system and limited authority to resolve. Having clear processes in follow-up is essential to ensuring there aren’t holes in your revenue management.”

There are many more areas where the patient financial experience can break-down but taking a detailed look in even a few patient experiences on your open accounts will reveal areas for improvement.  For more on Revenue Cycle Coding Strategies visit