Checking into the hospital is never fun. Patients are either struggling to fill out forms because they don’t feel well. Or, they are simply too sick to register themselves, so they have to depend on a friend to do it for them. The only trouble is, those friends don’t know the answers to all the questions. It’s not uncommon for patients to get frustrated with the whole process. But, those forms – and how they get filled out – set the tone for the patient’s entire hospital stay.
70% of a claim form is generated during the registration process – meaning that if everything is not done exactly right in the beginning, there could be a big mess later.
During hospital registration, patients are usually asked for several things:
The registration forms will help provide the proper medical care during the patient’s stay. In fact, answering these questions properly could mean the difference between life and death – especially in the emergency room.
So, how do registration errors happen? And what can be done to stop them?
Most registration errors occur because the process is simply too difficult. There are either a ton of forms to deal with, or hospital employees have to use a computer system that’s just too complex.
Making things worse, the rules and regulations that hospitals have to follow change frequently, so many hospitals find themselves playing catch-up. And, adding to the problem even more is the fact that there tends to be high turnover in hospital registration departments – meaning that many patients are dealing with brand new employees.
A difficult hospital registration process can get even more tedious when the patient is unconscious and can’t answer questions for himself. In times like these, a hospital simply cannot have a registration process that is too difficult.
Even if a patient doesn’t suffer medically from a registration mistake, he could suffer financially. If, for example, a patient pays his insurance co-pay in cash, and the hospital loses the record of his payment, he will likely have to pay that co-pay again later.
Many hospitals have systems in place that can catch errors after the fact – like audits. However, if big enough problems are created during the registration process, you may never get them sorted out.
The key for hospitals is to have a registration process that is easy to understand and easy to record all of the information. Computer software is an ideal solution – provided it’s software that employees can actually understand. It may not eliminate errors altogether, but it can help spot issues sooner. After all, the sooner you can catch mistakes, the better!