The main source of legitimate complaints about healthcare provider collections are mistakes, and almost always data errors.

The more data errors you have, the lower the quality of your data integrity. The lower your data integrity, the more consumer complaints you can expect. In this new healthcare climate where patient satisfaction is critical, these are not complaints you can afford.

Your patient financial services function is at the mercy of your data integrity. How many times have you heard from a patient who claims they never knew they owed you money until they received a call from your collection partner? And upon investigation, how often is it because someone keyed the wrong address or failed up to update the patient’s insurance?

The source can be human error or a programmatic flaw in the system or a combination of both. Many times the error can occur in a handoff of the patient record from one department to another. Finding the root cause of poor data integrity can be a challenge, but it is one that can be critical to your effectiveness. One of the best way to hunt down these data exceptions is to begin tracking them on a regular basis.

Tracking exceptions requires tremendous discipline, but the value can be immeasurable to your reputation. Your patient financial services staff will not like it because it holds them accountable and measures their accuracy. Your IT staff won’t like it because it may reveal flaws within the technology landscape that they may not be able to fix. And you won’t like it because exceptions require that you take action, and your plate is already full.

But by tracking exceptions you can find root cause or causes, and address them. By improving your data integrity, you will in turn improve the integrity and standing of your organization among your patients. It’s that simple.

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