The Importance of Patient Demographics

Importance of Patient Demographics

As a medical provider, you understand the struggle that comes with collecting timely payments on outstanding patient bills. Once the insurance provider has made their adjustments and a bill is sent to the patient, you may be left waiting for months on end for a payment to arrive. You pick up the phone to call the patient to remind them about the bill only to find out their number has changed. What do you do now? You keep waiting and hoping a payment is made.

Whether you handle medical billing in-house or have intrusted a medical billing company, such as Applied Medical Systems, to handle the billing for you, getting paid in a timely manner comes down to one important detail: patient demographics.

When a patient comes to your office for an appointment, it is just as important to update patient demographics for existing patients as it is for new patients. If an existing patient has moved or changed their phone number, then attempts to send them bills and follow up with phone calls is fruitless. If their insurance has changed then claims filed to the old provider may get denied and payments delayed.

For the reasons listed above and more, asking patients to update their demographics is key. However, simply asking “is all your information the same?” doesn’t do the trick. The patient may not realize you have their old address from years prior on file and simply answer that nothing has changed, because to them, it hasn’t.

Below is a list of the information you should be gathering at each appointment and tips on how to tactfully get the information you need.

  • Address
    • “Are you still located at 123 Main Street?”
    • “Can you please confirm your current address?”
  • Phone Number
    • “Can you please confirm your home and work number for me?”
    • “Do you have a cell phone number you would like me to add?”
  • Employer
    • “Are you still employed by The State of North Carolina?”
    • “Mrs. Jones, who is your current employer?”
  • Insurance Information
    • “Is your primary insurance coverage still with Blue Cross Blue Shield?”
    • “Do you have a secondary insurance you would like to add?”
    • “I see you have changed jobs, do you need to update your insurance on file?”
  • Workers Compensation
    • “Is today’s visit related to an injury suffered at work or in an accident?”

Practicing and reviewing the information above with your staff will go a long way in ensuring that patient information is as fresh and accurate as possible.

Learn More about AMS

If your practice is struggling with billing and payments, outsourcing these services may be right for you. Applied Medical Systems (AMS) is a trusted medical billing company with over 30 years of medical experience. To learn more about our medical billing services, click here. To request a free quote, contact Applied Medical Systems today.