The Importance of Patient Registration

Complete and accurate patient registration is crucial to a medical practice’s bottom line. Because circumstances and policies change often, staff should confirm and update patient demographics and insurance information at each visit. How you do this is also important: Rather than rely on “yes” or “no” answers from the patient, ask open-ended questions that require a full response, and therefore ensure you’re getting the most up-to-date information. Consider these examples.

How not to ask: Are your phone numbers the same?
How to Ask: Please confirm your home and work phone number for me.
How not to ask: Are you at the same address?
How to ask: Do you still live at 25 Spruce Street?
How not to ask: Have you changed jobs?
How to ask: Are you still employed by Acme Appliance Company?
How not to ask: Do you have the same primary and secondary insurance?
How to ask: Is Aetna Preferred still your primary insurance?
Always ask: Is this visit related to a work or auto injury?

John Verhovshek
Latest posts by John Verhovshek (see all)

About Has 584 Posts

John Verhovshek, MA, CPC, is a contributing editor at AAPC. He has been covering medical coding and billing, healthcare policy, and the business of medicine since 1999. He is an alumnus of York College of Pennsylvania and Clemson University.

2 Responses to “The Importance of Patient Registration”

  1. Angel Gardner says:

    It should be emphasized that this information should be obtained in private, not where other parties can hear, since this is personally identifiable information.

  2. Cynthia Ulmer says:

    As the lead front end person, I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to not have updated information in the system. Our organization has hundreds of physician practices and 3 hospitals. It starts in the emergency department when patients come in to be seen and are admitted. It then filters to each practice that patient goes to for primary care or hospital follow-up. When I update registration information I ask what their current mailing address is. There are many patients that come through the ED that do not want you to have their correct information or they do not listen to the question. If I ask do they still live at 123 Main St. they will tell me yes.