Medical collections frequently involves contacting patients coping with stressful situations such as unemployment, serious illness, divorce, and even a family member’s death. In order to be successful in collecting from these patients, you must be sensitive to their situation and show empathy. The optimum approach with these patients involves active listening - not only hearing what the patient is saying, but understanding the message that is being communicated. This requires paying careful attention to what is being said and fully focusing on the patient.
Benefits of Active Listening
- Helps reduce misunderstandings and organizational errors
- Makes the patient feel that they are being heard and understood
- Facilitates further disclosure from the patient
- Increases patient satisfaction and builds trust
- The patient feels respected and may be more willing to pay the balance
Here are three tips that will help you become a stronger active listener to collect more efficiently as a revenue cycle management representative:
- Be aware of the amount of talking you do while on the phone with a patient. As uncomfortable as awkward silences may be, after you have communicated your reason for making the call, stay silent. This will give the patient time to explain their situation. Keeping your side of the conversation short and direct will allow you to maintain control. During your call with the patient, steer the conversation toward your objectives by making appropriate comments and asking questions based on what the patient is saying.
- Show the patient that you are listening. Making occasional comments or even using supporting words such as "yes" and "right" can encourage the patient to keep talking and also show that you are paying attention. An even better approach is to repeat back a key phrase or idea that the patient said in order to confirm that you understood what was said.
- Provide feedback, but leave out personal judgment. To be an active listener you do not necessarily have to agree with what the patient is saying, but you do have to try to understand the message that they wish to convey. Try answering a patient like this: "I understand that you are currently unemployed, and I work with people in your situation all the time. Let me tell what I can do for you."
For additional medical collections tips, contact AR Logix today.This information is not to be construed as legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. Although we attempt to provide up-to-date information, laws and regulations often change. We make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of this document. For legal advice, please consult an attorney.