Hudson Valley Hospital Center implements patient address validation
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Invalid address data captured during admitting at Hudson Valley Hospital Center (HVHC) was compromising patient financial and clinical correspondence. The hospital sought a way to guarantee the quality of its patient contact database.
HVHC implemented QAS Pro and QAS Names from Experian QAS to provide instant and accurate patient address validation at the point of data capture. The software was deployed at all admission points, including the main Admitting area, Rehab areas, Emergency Department and off-site facilities.
HVHC has seen a decrease in returned mail from financial and critical clinical correspondence, which has saved valuable staff resources. The hospital is also better able to identify patients who attempt to give faulty information.
Data Capture Problems Identified
Hudson Valley Hospital Center is committed to providing comprehensive medical care in a compassionate and professional manner. HVHC was noticing that because there was no way to verify this information, bad addresses were being collected and entered into their Cerner Millennium® information system.
This inaccurate data was filtering into other hospital departments and was inhibiting patient correspondence. As a result, patient communication for annual reminders or lab results was at times sent to the undeliverable address. HVHC also observed that self paid balances were being returned due to undeliverable and insufficient addresses. Admitting is a critical juncture in the Hudson Valley revenue cycle because it is the first point of contact the hospital staff has with patients during their episode of care.
Taina Scalf, Admitting Manager for Hudson Valley Hospital Center, oversees the registrations for hospital departments including the ER, Main Admitting as well as Outpatient and Inpatient Surgery.
"We had a tool where we could put in the zip code and automatically get the county or city, but we were free texting the primary address information," said Scalf. "We needed a tool that could verify the entire address and prevent errors from happening."
Scalf and Maureen Dimaggio, Director of Patient Accounts and Registration at Hudson Valley, obtained permission from their CFO to find a solution to ensure that invalid data, the type of data that can do so much damage throughout the system, never made it past the registration area.
For example, bad data was preventing patients from receiving statements which were intended to collect monies owed to the hospital.
Real-Time Data Verification
Hudson Valley Hospital Center reviewed two different solutions. After reviewing demonstrations, user evaluations and evaluation from there is department to ensure compatibility with their Cerner system, the hospital implemented QAS Pro and QAS Names.
Rollout of the software tool did not take the IS department long. Shortly thereafter, staff was trained on how to use the product. "As with any change, staff was hesitant to adapt, but now they can't imagine registering patients without it," said Scalf.
Hudson Valley was also impressed with the level of services Experian QAS provided throughout the rollout and training process. "QAS was always available to answer questions or help with a technical issue," added Scalf. "The support has been great and any issue we have had was resolved immediately."
With clean data entering the organization's system at the front end, patients receive their mail on the first attempt, increasing the likelihood that bills will be paid on time. Delivery of other patient correspondence such as reminder letters and marketing materials also greatly improved, enhancing the hospital's image.
Efficiency Gains Realized
Through Experian QAS, HVHC's Admitting department now interacts directly with the U.S. Postal Service database. "In an emergency room, the last thing on someone's mind is verifying their demographic and financial information," said Scalf. "When you pull up the tool in the registration application, it allows our staff to tell if there is an apartment at that street number, giving us the opportunity to go back and ask questions."
The software also enables the hospital to catch faulty patient information. "A small population of patients may not always be forthcoming with information," said Scalf. "This tool allows us to see if the information we're given is accurate."
Admitting also has the ability to see the accuracy of written forms. "When a patient comes into the ER by Ambulance, they receive patient care sheets. Those sheets are often incomplete or difficult to read," added Scalf. "We are able to research the addresses in QAS Pro to help us get the correct address."
Since the implementation of QAS software, Hudson Valley has experienced a reduction in mail returns as well as gains in staff efficiency. "The amount of returned and undeliverable mail has been reduced by over 65%, allowing my staff to focus their attention on other responsibilities," said Scalf.
In addition to improving overall patient communication, Hudson Valley Hospital Center has saved valuable resources by enabling staff to verify and correct patient address data at all admission points.