By James R. Hoffman, OD, FAAO,
and Karen R. Larson Hoffman, OD
June 30, 2021
The insurance verification and communication process can be an uphill battle–both for patients and a practice’s back-end operations. The bright side of this challenge is the huge room for improvement. We implemented a technology in February that has already turned around insurance verification difficulties, creating happier patients and a more efficient practice.
The technology that has made such a dramatic difference to both our patients and us is ABB Verify. Powered by AffinityAnalytics, and offered as a part of the ABB Business Solutions pillar of the new ABB Optical Group, this technology gives you a way to send care reminders that include information about insurance benefits that may allow patients to fully follow the treatment plan you have prescribed. ABB Verify sends e-mail and text messages regarding services due and informs them of their benefits, including alerting patients to the amount of money available to cover an exam, or perhaps a purchase or prescribed eyewear and/or contact lenses.
Empowering Us to Deliver Personalized Experiences to Our Patients
We want our practice to be different. Our practice has been built on providing exceptional eyecare and eyewear since the beginning. We strive to provide patients with a personalized experience worthy of being promoted to others. Why send out generic e-mails and text messages? Why not provide personalized messages relevant to each patient? When we do that, it demonstrates to a patient that our practice cares enough about them to provide individualized care and it WOWs them!
It becomes difficult to see the big picture when you are caught on the whirlwind of the day-to-day routine. When we were closed in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our team was determined to analyze and evaluate everything we had been doing. From that information, we hit the reset button and started actively rebuilding improved processes and procedures. ABB Verify became part of our rebuilding efforts. We were amazed that the ABB Verify system was able to identify patients due for exams and their unused benefits for those services, verify eligibility and send out personalized communications.
Before ABB Verify, we used a system that sent out generic e-mails based on exam dates. If time permitted, we also had staff personally cold call active patients due for exams. The calls often resulted in leaving messages. Our call center would be overwhelmed at times as patients would call back first thing in the morning or during lunchtime. This caused busy tones or long wait times. When we evaluated this, we wanted to implement a system like ABB Verify that would allow patients to click a link in their personalized e-mail that then took them to our online scheduling system. We were also incredibly grateful to learn the ABB Verify system staggers patient communications in batches.
A New & Vastly Improved Patient Experience
We believe it is important to make a patient feel special, and not like a number. Making a patient aware that they are due for an exam is just the start. Patients are not always aware of the eye benefits they have that may cover important preventative care, or if they are covered under multiple plans. The ABB Verify system provides that information for us. Being able to provide this information to a patient takes the patient experience to the next level.
Before we had ABB Verify, if a patient did not choose glasses on the day of their exam because their eyes were dilated or they wanted a friend’s opinion on a frame before deciding, our office had no way of tracking these patients. Have you ever had a patient return for their next exam in their previous year’s glasses? We have experienced this situation. Often patients also get trapped on the hamster wheel of life. In the blink of an eye six months have passed. What does your patient do then, have glasses made from the six-month-old prescription or wait six more months before having an exam and glasses made from the newest prescription?
And what happens when the material benefits eligibility is different from the exam eligibility date? Does a patient private-pay for glasses or put off the next exam to align exam and material benefit dates? What if there was a system that tracked it for you and reminded the patient? ABB Verify has provided this system for our patients. Patients are thankful we have their best interest in mind, and this contributes to the positive “different” experience our team strives to provide to patients.
We see two major areas of communication improvement with ABB Verify:
1. The messages sent are specific for a patient’s care needs and insurance benefits that may be available to meet those needs.
2. The messages sent allow the patient to link to our scheduling system at their convenience to schedule an appointment if needed.
Personalized, Targeted Communication = Higher Profitability
Since implementing ABB verify, our patients and our team are happier, and the atmosphere in our office has improved.
We have fewer patient complaints and more word-of-mouth referrals.
Due to the 2020 closure, when comparing per-patient revenue and other practice indicators, we worked closely with our dashboard management system, ABB Analyze by Glimpse, to determine best metrics for 2021 as compared to 2020.
Our data comparison pre- and post-ABB Verify for patients receiving important preventative and optical care services:
1. Revenue per patient increased by 21.8 percent
2. Revenue per eyewear pair increased by 25.3 percent
On average, over the last three months, ABB Verify has identified approximately 1,750 patients per month in our practice due for care and with unused benefits and contacted them either by e-mail or text message to inform them. Patients appreciate that we are informing them, and are more willing to use these previously unknown benefits in our practice.
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In addition to impressive improvements in practice metrics, ABB Verify helped us in an additional way that is positively impacting profitability. We had not been verifying unused vision plan material benefits for patients scheduled for medical visits. ABB Verify is customizable and provides the option to verify both efficiently.
Provide Exceptional Care
ABB Verify has allowed our practice to provide exceptional care for our patients by informing and educating them that they are due for preventative care appointments and the benefits they may have to cover those appointments. Patients appreciate the personalized communication. They are then educated on their benefits before the time of their visit. The personalized process has allowed us to deliver the care that we strive to provide each day for each patient. If we meet the patient’s needs and take care of the patient, practice revenues will reflect the increased patient satisfaction.
Our team has been impressed with the technology of the ABB Verify communication system. We are excited to see what the future holds for our practice now that we can give our patients the highest level of service.