Good customer relations builds loyalty and encourages timely payment

Part 3 of a 4-part series designed to offer small practice providers tips on improving administrative and clinical operations.

A sure sign that you’re providing good customer service is that people want to do business with you. In healthcare, this means patients want to come back to receive their care from you.

But busy physician practices (in other words, all physician practices!) sometimes find it difficult to focus on customer relations. Office staff is typically pulled in many directions: answering the phones, tracking down medical records, checking eligibility and coverage, and so on. Employees are stretched thin and may neglect those little things (and, sometimes, big things) that make patients feel appreciated and truly cared for. It’s important not to let this slide. Patients’ experiences during the entire visit determine if they return for a next appointment, how (and if) they pay their bill, and whether or not they refer others to the practice.

A positive customer experience starts before patients ever step foot in your office, often with a visit to your website. These days, most consumers turn to the Internet when they need information. Your website can offer a treasure trove of detail about your practice: location and directions, policies, provider profiles, etc. And, increasingly, patients expect a secure portal so they can easily schedule an appointment, request a medication refill or ask a question.

Equally important, of course, is what happens when patients arrive. It seems obvious, but welcoming the patient to the practice is absolutely vital—and it is astonishing how often this simple gesture is overlooked. When you walk into any other business—a store, restaurant, etc.—the first thing you usually hear is “Welcome!” A doctor’s office should be no different. A warm greeting, accompanied by eye contact, immediately puts a patient at ease and establishes rapport.

Every member of office staff should be encouraged to build rapport with patients—communicating genuine concern and warmth. Besides checking how patients are feeling, for instance, they can also ask about work, the kids or a recent vacation. This human connection allows patients to see the staff as personable and trustworthy—much more than just “the receptionist” or “the nurse.”

Although it might be hard to believe, being direct and upfront about the cost of care also contributes to good customer relations. Clear communication about copayments and deductibles can help prevent unpleasant financial surprises down the line—which, not surprisingly, upset patients. They are more apt to pay their bills in full and on time if they are fully aware of policies and balances due.

Treating patients well builds loyalty; they trust and respect you. And this creates a sense of mutual responsibility—and an environment where patients are willing to fulfill their obligations to your practice. Besides providing excellent care, your objective is to win and keep patients. Every staff member, regardless of responsibility, should be trained and committed to delivering the best customer service possible.

Emdeon offers a broad array of solutions to help small practices create a patient-friendly environment. With technology to automate insurance eligibility verification and online payment options that free staff to devote more time to customer service, we can help you achieve your goals.

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ePrescribing: worth the wait, but not worth waiting any longer

Physicians are a wary lot. When a new technology suddenly appears, they usually don’t jump in head first. Their reasoning is legitimate: Any disruption in their workflow could impact revenue, or worse, threaten patient safety and care delivery. In the same typically cautious fashion, they’ve watched electronic prescribing, or ePrescribing, emerge on the scene. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Medicare ePrescribing incentive system and Meaningful Use provisions that financially reward practitioners for utilizing advanced technologies to send medication orders have inspired many early adopters to hop onto the ePrescribing bandwagon. On the other hand, some have simply chosen to endure slight payment adjustments while delaying any major changes in their practices. What these more tentative providers have come to observe, however, is an easy-to-use technology that delivers significant efficiency, convenience and patient safety benefits with very little, if any, disturbance to practice patterns.

Creating a two-way communications platform between physicians and pharmacists, ePrescribing all but eliminates handwritten orders, saving time and reducing hassles for providers, pharmacists and even patients. ePrescribing applications can be configured to generate a log for the patient record, which allows practitioners to easily review a patient’s medication history, not only ensuring consistency, but also streamlining prescription refill requests.

As a more accurate method for generating and sending medication requests, ePrescribing also improves patient safety, thereby meeting one of the CMS’s primary goals of reducing medication errors and adverse drug events with automated solutions. In fact, many ePrescribing technologies include medication reconciliation modules that allow providers to verify prescription information at the point of care.

ePrescribing is becoming an important component of patient engagement programs, helping integrate individuals with the prescription process. When a physician submits an order, for example, the technology can automatically send an email, text or voice message to the patient confirming the order with details such as when it will be ready and where the individual can pick up their medications.

Providers can even participate in ePrescribing for controlled substances (EPCS), which was prohibited by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) until just a few years ago for fear that it couldn’t be adequately protected. With additional security controls now in place, such as passwords, biometrics and secure tokens that fit smoothly within physician workflow, the DEA believes that EPCS creates a safer portal for prescribing and dispensing controlled substances than manual processes, protecting both doctors and pharmacies.

Ease of use, simple implementation and immediate benefits are three reasons why even the most technology-averse practices should consider ePrescribing over traditional methods. While it may seem painless to accept a two percent reimbursement adjustment, the long-term benefits and savings from an ePrescribing capability outweigh any short-term costs.

Emdeon Clinical Exchange EHR Lite, an EHR solution designed for small physician practices, allows users to conveniently and cost-effectively exchange electronic transactions. With its advanced features, Emdeon Clinical Exchange EHR Lite helps providers add efficiency to this important component of their practice, qualify for Meaningful Use incentives and avoid reimbursement adjustments that will continue to increase for those not taking part in an ePrescribing program. To learn more about the benefits of ePrescribing, visit

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New Payer Transactions Added Recently

New payers on board with Emdeon. Take a look at the new list
We have recently added the following payers:

• Health Alliance Medical Plans (HAMP) - ERA
• Mediture - Claims
• Medico Insurance Company - Claims
• Wellcare - Claims
• North American Benefits Network ((Cleveland, OH) - Claims
• Trellis Health Partners - Claims
• CNIC Health Solutions Inc. - Claims
• AmeriChoice of New Jersey, Inc. (Medicaid NJ) - Claims
• CareOregon, Inc. - Claims
• Blue Cross of Arkansas - ERA
• MED3000 CMS TITLE 19 REFORM - Claims
• Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) - ERA
• Merchants Benefit Administration - Claims
• Cook Children STAR Plan - Claims

For a complete list of the payers in our network, visit our website at

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See the full list >>