The healthcare industry generates a lot of letters, statements, and other documents for patients. As they contain personal information, all communications must comply with HIPAA and other regulations. Organizations have the option to outsource patient communications to a transactional print and mail company. Before you make any decisions, you’ll want to know what you can outsource and how your provider manages compliance, accuracy, security, and quality.
Patient Communications Outsourcing: Documents, Statements, Letters, and More
Outsourcing patient communications delivers many advantages. Since it’s not your core competency, you’ll find it hard to achieve economies of scale. Here are all the document types a transactional mail company can produce for you.
- Explanation of Benefits (EOB): Payers must send these to patients, both before and after services. The No Surprises Act requires insurers to deliver an advanced EOB to members to avert pricing “surprises.) Depending on your patient base and their average interactions with clinicians, such tasks can be significantly high volume. These mailings also must adhere to timelines.
- Explanation of Coverage (EOC): Patients often receive these when they enroll in a plan. It explains coverage and summarizes benefits. Since every member gets this and they are often unique, it’s another necessary mailing.
- Statements and billings: Clinicians and payers create tons of these each year. They include highly secure information, and their delivery and accuracy impact cash flow. Outsourcing these could improve the process and lead to more on-time payments.
- Patient letters and notices: These documents could contain any information about a service, claim, treatment follow-up, compliance, or any other critical communication. Again, this can be very high volume and may have specific delivery window requirements.
- At-home medical testing communications: These letters reveal test results regarding medical testing kits, such as ones for allergies.
Creating these communications is an ongoing process that never slows down. The number of documents you must deliver increases, as do all the associated costs and concerns. So, why is outsourcing such an advantage?
Why Outsource Patient Communications?
There are benefits to outsourcing all these document types. Working with a transactional provider, you’ll be able to realize these.
Operating your own print and mail in-plant. Costs include equipment, technology, materials, labor, physical space expenses, postage, and more. The price tag for in-plants will likely continue to increase regardless of volume. You have both capital and operating costs. You’ll constantly need to upgrade equipment and technology. It can quickly turn into a money pit.
Whereas when you outsource, you have a provider that only focuses on transactional mail. They produce far more than you do, so they can realize economies of scale cost containment. Once you remove all these expenses, you’ll only have an operating cost and can eliminate many things from your budget. That gives you money to put back in your business for growth.
Decrease Downtime and Disruptions
What happens if a disaster shuts down your operations? It happens more than you think. Downtime can occur because of storms, equipment failure, power outages, or cyber-attacks. It can freeze your production and delay time-sensitive information. Even if you have a backup site, it likely isn’t ready to go if things go wrong.
To mitigate this risk, you should select a partner with redundant facilities in two different geographical locations. These operations would be mirror images. If something interrupts business at one spot, the other can pick up with no delays.
Enhance Security and Compliance
Patient communications must be highly secure to meet industry regulations. That means you need robust practices to protect this information and ensure that no mis-mailings occur. Even just a few errors can cause big problems, including possible breaches, non-compliance fines, and reputational harm. Minimizing such risks may be challenging for your organization, but a transactional printer lives and breathes these.
So, what do they do best regarding security and compliance?
- Secure and compliant data sharing that involves encryption and other cyber best practices.
- Physical security that prevents anyone from accessing production areas that don’t have clearance.
- High-tech insert solutions that use barcodes and small cameras to verify that every document goes in the correct envelope.
- Certifications in healthcare compliance, including HIPAA and HITRUST.
- Having a full-time Compliance Officer on staff to interpret rules and implement compliance standards.
If a company has all the pillars of security and compliance, its accuracy rate will be high. We’re proud to say ours is 99.9999%, which is industry-leading.
Include Personalized Messaging
Being able to print on statements and letters dynamically is a capability you can leverage with a partner. Sophisticated technology and a white paper factory offer a blank canvas for each communication. The printer receives the data and prints onto rolls of white paper. This can be in full color or black and white. This allows you to eliminate inserts, which are expensive and not very effective. They end up in the recycling bin, as opposed to the communication, which consumers view.
You can include messaging about anything pertinent, such as:
- Information about other services.
- Reminders to patients for next appointments or to schedule one.
- Instructions on how to remit payment or set up a payment plan.
- Special programs you want patients to participate in that are free but require enrollment.
By placing this on the document, you’ll reduce costs and boost engagement.
Patient Communication Outsourcing: Get Started with PCI Group
Outsourcing patient print and mail delivers so many benefits. You can expect costs to go down while quality and accuracy go up. As a provider of services to many healthcare organizations, we have the expertise, processes, technology, and people to serve your needs.
Contact us today to learn more.