Female doctor having online therapy with her patient's, giving them advice while using telemedicine as a new normal during COVID 19 pandemic outbreak

New Report Suggests Patient Access and Experience May be Improving 

01 May, 2024 F.J. Thomas

Female doctor having online therapy with her patient's, giving them advice while using telemedicine as a new normal during COVID 19 pandemic outbreak

Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – Ease of accessing and navigating a healthcare provider or system is a contributor to patient compliance that is often overlooked. Between staffing shortages and technological changes, ease of patient access has been quite challenging the last few years. Reports from last year indicated that provider and patients both felt that access to providers was getting worse than it had been in the previous 12 to 24 months. However, the latest report from Experian Healthcare suggests that patient access may finally be on the path to improvement. 

For the State of Patient Access 2024 report, Experian polled more than 200 healthcare employees and 1,036 guarantors about their perspective of navigating healthcare systems. The number of patients who felt access to providers has improved increased from 17 percent in 2022 to 28 percent for 2024. Providers had an even larger improvement in their opinion of access. In 2022, only 27 percent of providers felt that patient access was improving, and in this latest survey that percentage has increased to 55 percent. Around half of the patients polled, and 26 percent of the providers felt that access was about the same. 

Of those patients that stated they felt access had improved, 72 percent cited seeing a provider quickly as the reason for improvement. In comparison, inability to see a provider quickly was also cited 79 percent of those that felt access had not improved or had gotten worse. 

Telehealth, automation of tasks, staffing improvements, new digital and mobile options, and improvements in insurance verification and estimates were cited by providers as some of the reasons contributing to better experiences for patients. 

What is interesting is that providers that felt access has not improved cited the same elements that were referenced as contributing to improvements. Providers stated staffing shortages were continuing, along with a lack of staff training. Scheduling and registration difficulties were listed, as well as the inability to efficiently verify insurance or provide accurate estimates. Additionally, these same providers felt that the digital and mobile options did not live up to patient expectations. 

Of the patients polled, 61 percent felt that the check-in and registration process was better, and 25 percent felt it was worse. In 2022, only 40 percent of providers offered self-scheduling, and 26 percent had planned to offer the option within the next 6 months. According to the 2024 report, 63 percent of providers offered self-scheduling, and 16 percent planned to provide the option within the next 6 months. 

Providers cited 4 specific challenges in their attempt to improve patient access. Maintaining current staffing levels was the top challenge, reported by 45 percent. Efficient and timely authorizations earned the number two challenge at 39 percent. Thirty-one percent stated that improving the speed and accuracy of patient information prior to filing claims was a top challenge. Twenty-three percent stated maintaining multiple platforms to manage eligibility, financial status, and demographics was their top challenge. Nearly half of providers stated that patient information errors were their top cause of denied claims. 

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    About The Author

    • F.J. Thomas

      F.J. Thomas has worked in healthcare business for more than fifteen years in Tennessee. Her experience as a contract appeals analyst has given her an intimate grasp of the inner workings of both the provider and insurance world. Knowing first hand that the industry is constantly changing, she strives to find resources and information you can use.

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