Health systems across the nation have experienced dwindling patient volumes due to the COVID-19 shutdown. According to benchmarking data from Crowe, inpatient admissions are running more than 30% below normal (compared to January 2020). Emergency room visits are down 40%, observation services are down 47%, outpatient ancillary services are down 62%, and outpatient surgery volume is down 71%. Hospital volumes have dropped so dramatically since the end of February that many financial executives are now scrambling for sources of revenue. In fact, revenue is dropping by an average of $1.4 billion per day, and in April alone, 1.4 million hospital workers were laid off. With these huge financial losses, the focus has shifted to filling schedules and recouping lost revenue by bringing new and existing patients back.
As health systems resume elective surgeries, procedures, and appointments, there's likely to be a backlog of patients who need care. Between adding new appointments and rescheduling previous ones, how do you prioritize who needs to be seen with a limited amount of resources? Here are two ways to ensure your health system is optimizing revenue as quickly and efficiently as possible by identifying high risk consumers and converting digital engagement to utilization through an effortless online scheduling experience.
Attract New Patients with Health Risk Assessments
During COVID-19, healthcare consumers have been forced to cancel scheduled appointments and delay elective procedures and preventative care screenings. As health systems reopen, it's important to reengage patients in their healthcare. Health risk assessments are an essential first step to getting patients through your door. A health risk assessment (HRA) is a survey instrument used to collect health information and is typically coupled with a process that includes biometric testing to assess an individual's health status, risks, and habits. HRAs are a great way to connect with healthcare consumers, communicate information about their health, determine their risk for a chronic condition, and encourage them to take the next best step in their care. A good health risk assessment will also stratify risk into levels – high, moderate, and low – to provide the patient and provider with valuable triage information by identifying the highest risk and need for an appointment. Beyond triaging patients, HRAs are also a great tool for healthcare marketers to increase revenue by attracting new and underserved consumers, bringing them into the patient acquisition funnel, engaging them in their health, and converting these unknown website visitors into loyal patients.
Stericycle has partnered with HealthAware to provide health systems with an efficient way to identify their highest risk patients through health risk assessments that screen for issues related to orthopedic and cardiovascular health, surgery, cancer treatment, and mental well-being. This partnership also helps triage potentially affected patients and staff into COVID-19 risk levels to guide them to the appropriate next step in care. HealthAware is providing its COVIDAware HRA at no cost to health systems for the remainder of 2020.
Make it Easy to Convert with Online Scheduling
Health risk assessments are an easy way to stratify risk, but don't stop there. Make sure healthcare consumers can easily convert by self-scheduling their appointment online. Online scheduling has long been successfully used as a tool for health systems to acquire new patients. This consumer-friendly scheduling experience is an integral part of a good patient acquisition strategy, but only if it improves patient access to care across all venues, including primary care, specialty care, emergency care, urgent care, and telehealth. Especially important is the ability to educate and guide patients to the appropriate venue of care based on their self-reported symptoms. Allowing patients to self-triage while scheduling appointments helps them make more informed decisions about their care while reducing the burden on over-utilized emergency departments. Additionally, best-in-class scheduling solutions should provide patients with the ability to search for appointments based on a number of criteria, including physician gender, languages spoken, hospital affiliations, and sub-specialties. Providing patients with filters to select their preferred provider gives them the convenience, choice, and control they crave. Coupled with self-triage, this integrated approach converts healthcare consumers at the moment of intent to drive additional revenue for health systems. Check out this blog to learn more about the benefits of online self-triage.
Now is the time to optimize all available revenue streams by triaging patients, driving them to the right venue of care, and making it easy for them to schedule an appointment. To learn more about how health risk assessments combined with online scheduling can boost patient satisfaction and new patient acquisition, read our .