IPAs, today, are focusing on cementing their rapport with patients directly as a preparatory step towards building a stronger physician-patient connection. Read on to get an idea of what goes into establishing a service-oriented IPA and how it benefits both patients and their physicians.
An IPA, or an Independent Physician Association, is a collective established by independent practices in an attempt to cut costs as well as implement utilization management strategies, payor contracts, disease management programs, population health initiatives, and other similar enterprises. While in the past IPAs rarely communicated directly with patients, of late it has become vital for them to do so to improve patient-retention rates. A higher emphasis on Star Ratings is one of the many reasons for this change. Besides, growing competition in the area of managed care has given birth to a need for aggressive marketing through enhanced customer service and improved communication. Well-managed IPAs are also better at serving an escalating demand for disease management programs. Such entities are also able to understand and achieve essential goals like prevention of medical resource wastage and seamless execution of care management processes.
One way of building customer loyalty is by setting up dedicated care coordination centers that are managed by the IPAs. These units comprise of –
- Advanced Phone And IT Infrastructure – A care coordination center needs sophisticated equipment that can help customer care executives interact with patients using multiple channels like real-time chat and video calling. Other than this, a robust reporting system can be beneficial in identifying areas of improvement as well as potential issues that may blow up if not handled in time.
- Utilization Software – Another critical requirement for a care coordination unit is an automated system that helps record clinical notes online, assign correct codes to procedures and services, prepare error-free claims, and the ability to analyze denied claims to find the causes that lead to rejection and correct them.
- Front-Office Professionals – Trained executives with a charming and courteous manner should man the phone lines. These people can comprehend medical-terminology and are focused on being compliant and providing high-quality customer support.
- Call Monitoring And Analysis System – Continuously monitoring calls and periodically assessing all kinds of call metrics including the rate of call abandonment and average hold time are routine activities for a care coordination center. Insights drawn from such information are beneficial in improving quality and consequently maintaining high customer satisfaction levels.
- Pre-Defined Scripts And Protocols – Care coordination centers often design job aids that consist of standard scripts and protocols. These documents help customer care executives do their jobs better and also maintain absolute legal compliance.
Care coordination centers act as a hub that connects all the other spokes of the healthcare wheel. Coordination between patients, medical personnel, providers, case managers, and administrative staff is their key priority. They can also be used for triaging patients, scheduling appointments as per urgency, and monitoring statistics like disenrollment, transfers, and membership figures. An IPA that has been successful in implementing a smoothly operating care coordination center can help in saving the time, effort, and resources of physicians who are associated with it. It can also consistently improve its value and productivity by eliminating overheads. Such IPAs are bound to play a crucial role in the future of medicine.
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