Are You Really Measuring Your Early Out Self-Pay Department?

Some organizations measure the value of a self-pay department exclusively on its ability to collect cash.  Cash collection is an important aspect of this department but fails to recognize the importance the of the self-pay team in providing exceptional patient experiences.  To adequately measure your self-pay department you should be looking at a variety of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on a regular basis.   These KPIs should have a balanced focus that includes measurement of staff performance, utilization of technology and patient experience.  Within your self-pay department there are several simple KPIs with easy-to-monitor best practice metrics.

Average Speed to Answer (ASA) measures how long a patient sits in the call queue before the call is answered by a self pay phone agent.  A high ASA causes callers to sit in queue too long leading to patient dissatisfaction and decreased desire to pay their bill.  A best practice metric to strive for would be an ASA less than 60 seconds.

Monitor your online payment portal to determine the utilization percentage of this method of payment.  Historically, the utilization of online payment options continue to increase in usage from year to year.  A high utilization would indicate that you have a good tool that is easy for patients to locate on your website and use.  A low utilization may indicate that the tool is not user friendly or difficult to find on your web site.  A best practice metric to strive for would be to have your online payment portal utilization greater than 25%.

The percentage of charity applications sent and received is an important metric to track.  This metric allows the ability to gauge the effectiveness of your self pay staff in providing financial counseling to your patients.  Measuring how many applications are received back further helps to understand if the proper screening is in place to ensure applications are not going out erroneously and that time frame required for patient return was explained.  You will want to set your metric goal based on the specific self pay goals of your facility.


You should also ensure that you are measuring the quality of your self-pay staff on a daily basis.  This should be completed through recording and play back of calls to ensure that the appropriate soft skills are displayed.  If you have staff communicating through email or web chat you should be reviewing their written documentation for tone, professionalism and accuracy.  Your quality program should also ensure that your compliance policies are being followed and staff are utilizing the recommended workflow when resolving patient inquiries.  This feedback should be scored and shared with staff routinely so they are aware of what they are doing right and what items then need to focus on.

All of the above KPI’s are some of the metrics that the HRG Early Out Self-Pay team utilizes on a daily basis. 


Jason Coffin


Client care is the top priority for Jason Coffin, a Certified Revenue Cycle Expert (CRCE-1), CHFP.  Jason oversees all operations of HRG’s OutPartnering™ Center located in Spokane Valley, Washington and is responsible for Central Business Office (CBO), Extended Business Office (EBO), self-pay and quality assurance services.  He is focused on continuous improvement initiatives to ensure HRG remains the best choice for healthcare providers. Jason and his team provide outsourced revenue cycle services and support to hospitals and clinics throughout the country. 


Have any questions on these or interested in other KPIs that HRG utilizes?