By Charlie Bauer, Senior Director, Delivery Operations

Single Billing Office (SBO) is a mode in Epic offering the highest level of integration available in Epic’s billing suite. It blends the self-pay functionality and workflows of both Resolute Hospital Billing and Resolute Professional Billing into a consolidated billing system. About 50% of Epic clients use SBO mode.

Here are some of the benefits of moving to Epic Single Billing Office (SBO).

Patient Satisfaction

Patient satisfaction is one of the biggest benefits of converting to Epic’s Single Business Office. In almost every other service industry, the customer knows what is owed and when. Everything is very transparent. In healthcare, this can be difficult due to the accuracy of patient estimates, insurance obligations, and—to top it all off—statements from multiple providers (e.g. hospital, physician, lab).

While SBO isn’t going to fix all the confusion of healthcare billing, it will greatly reduce the complexity of the patient’s billing experience. It will allow the patient to receive one bill from the physician and hospital. Patients will only have one number to call if they have questions about the charges or bill. And when they want to make a payment, they will only have to write one check or set up one payment plan. This is a major differentiator in today’s healthcare market.

Cost Reduction

By converting to Single Business Office, you will see short and long-term savings from expense reductions.

First, you’ll see an immediate reduction of letters and statements sent to patients/guarantors. You will also have fewer transaction costs for items, such as propensity-to-pay requests.

Finally, separate customer service and self-pay follow-up teams for the hospital and physician groups will no longer be necessary. You will be able to realize staffing efficiencies through staff and management consolidation. Expertise from both groups can be combined and disseminated to the new unified team.

Reduce Operational Redundancies

Not only does SBO present great opportunities to reduce costs, but it also allows you to see increased operational efficiencies through the integration of many hospital and professional billing self-pay workflows.

Self-pay follow-up staff will only follow up on one account for a given patient’s visit. Payment Posting staff can post payments to both hospital and professional self-pay balances with one check. There will be one customer service team where representatives can answer questions on patients’ accounts in one place.

This increased workflow efficiency can allow for staff reduction or give staff time to focus on special projects.

Revenue Generation

Organizations should see an increase in Point-of-Service (POS) collections due to the patient being faced with outstanding balances from both sides of the organization in one place. When a patient checks in for a physician visit, the front-desk staff can easily collect on any unresolved hospital balances. When a patient calls in about a hospital service, the customer service rep will easily be able to identify any outstanding professional balances to be collected on concurrently. This setup will simplify customer service workflow and reduce patient confusion.

Summary: The top-10 reasons to go SBO:

  1. Single statement for hospital and physician fees
  2. Single customer service line
  3. Consolidate hospital and professional self-pay follow-up teams
  4. Guarantors can write one check
  5. Payment posting staff can post self-pay payments in one tool
  6. Reduce statement and letter fees
  7. Staff can follow-up on self-pay balances using one set of tools in Epic
  8. Reduce operational redundancies and account touches
  9. Collect on outstanding physician balances when a patient arrives at the hospital (and vice-versa)
  10. Market differentiation

Implementing SBO is a considerable IT and operational change and should not be taken lightly. While there are many benefits, it is not for everyone due to the substantial cultural and operational impacts involved.

That’s all for Part I! Next, we’ll explore the most important considerations for any organization thinking of going SBO.