A communication breakdown is often liable for creating patient complaints, potential lawsuits, or negative reviews. Patient communication is not merely the exchange of information between the dentist and the patient.
Quality communication with a purpose between patients and the practice leads to increased efficiency, billing transparency, precise diagnosis, enhanced patient satisfaction, and a greater chance for repeat visits. It also means a reduced likelihood of litigation or complaints.
Communication, in general, is a skill that has applications in dental practices, but on many occasions, its need and relevance have been underplayed or not always valued by practitioners. These skills are a priority in any dental business as they reflect the values and interpersonal skills of the dental team. They also contribute to the success of the practice, especially from a dental billing and collection services point of view.
How Can Clear Patient Communication Help?
Clear communication between the dental and billing teams can ensure accurate documentation and billing for treatment and services rendered to the patient. Well-documented and detailed communication protocols concerning procedures performed, respective codes, and patient data help streamline billing processes.
This helps to lower errors and decrease claim rejections while helping the practice improve cash flows through faster reimbursements. These processes are valid whether billing is done by in-house teams or when dental billing services are outsourced to a third-party company.
The Benefits of Good Communication in Dental Billing
- Billing and Coding: Communication within the team helps to accurately capture and document the treatment and services rendered. Precise records and dental codes ensure that billing is error-free and eliminates the possibility of billing discrepancies.
- Insurance Coordination and Verification: Coordination and communication with insurance organizations are vital to verify and confirm the policy and coverage details of the patient. This leads to the submission of accurate claims and helps reduce claim rejections or even claim denials due to incorrect data.
- Patient Care: An elaborate maintenance of patient records can aid the dental team in monitoring the patient’s treatment history. This can help in a more accurate diagnosis and continuity of dental care. It ensures that only the required and relevant treatment is offered, thereby avoiding needless services or procedures. This ensures that the subsequent billing is not doubted by the patient.
- Reimbursement: Complete and comprehensive documentation is needed so that the right dental codes are used when billing the procedures and services provided to patients. Accurate documentation ensures that the claims sent to the insurance company for reimbursement are approved without any issues. This leads to faster reimbursement and helps to increase the cash flow.
- Patient Satisfaction: Communication channels between the patient and the practice that help inform or resolve issues for general concerns or billing inquiries can aid in enhancing patient satisfaction. Answering any billing issues on time helps instill trust and confidence in the patient.
- Legal and Compliance: Any dental practice must stay compliant with all the rules and guidelines concerning any billing and coding issues that are stipulated by designated authorities such as the American Dental Association, among others. This can reduce any risk of legal issues or other possible penalties. Proper communication procedures help ensure that the practice and the billing staff are notified and abreast of changes in dental codes or regulations.
- Team Collaboration: It is imperative to have all the teams collaborate and communicate effectively for the billing process. The practice must set clear communication channels to enable teamwork and all the concerned staff to understand the defined scope of responsibilities to facilitate a smoother billing process.
- Periodic Audits: Meticulous documentation and clarity in communication to patients about services and procedures rendered can help the practice justify billing charges or compliance with coding requirements. Periodic reviews by insurance companies or regulatory bodies can be expected anytime, and the practice must be ready for such audits at all times.
- Keeping the Patient Up to Date: Through regular and lucid communication with patients about billing procedures, policy coverage, and out-of-pocket expenses, a practice can help patients understand financial obligations concerning treatment costs available to them.
- Billing Queries: A patient can have doubts about bills payable by them. These can range from the billing amount, co-payment adjustments, or payment choices. Prompt and precise replies are needed to resolve such questions and maintain patient satisfaction.