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Improving patient satisfaction in cases involving Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring (IONM)

Posted: Feb 19, 2019 7:18:55 AM


“Is this going to be covered by my insurance?”

It’s a common question today in healthcare — and for good reason: Patients are paying more out of pocket for medical expenses than ever before. Exactly how much? Deductibles for employer-sponsored plans have tripled in the past decade, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The average annual deductible for an individual now is $1,573, while one-quarter of workers in employer-sponsored plans have a deductible of $2,000 or more, the organization’s data shows.

Even more, this increased cost sharing is driving the rapid consumerization of the healthcare industry. And with patients paying more, they’re demanding added convenience, a better overall experience and a role in clinical decision-making. Unsurprisingly, customer service is playing a bigger role in the overall patient experience, especially when it comes to pocketbook matters.

Specifically, patients want to know what they’ll owe and when, so they can plan payments. A recent Connance survey details exactly what patients want out of the revenue cycle process and, subsequently, how business office functions affect their healthcare decisions. Case in point: More than half of patients say out-of-pocket costs play a role in the provider selection process.

Patient satisfaction is especially important with spine and neurological surgical procedures that involve IONM. While these services drastically improve patient safety and reduce physician and hospital liability, patients are frequently concerned about whether their insurance covers IONM — uncertainty that only exacerbates an already stressful time.

Patient education can go a long way in quelling these concerns. Connance data shows that one-quarter of patients don’t know how to interpret their carrier’s explanation of benefits, and roughly one-third of all patients are not given an estimate of what they’ll owe prior to treatment. Looking to improve patient satisfaction in cases involving IONM? Here’s where to start:

  • Offer 24-7 business office access: Patients should be able to discuss potential and unresolved IONM-related billing issues in detail with provider representatives around the clock.
  • Conduct pre-op evaluations: Explaining to patients exactly what IONM is and answering their questions will help them get comfortable ahead of the operation.
  • Provide post-op education: Listening to a patient’s concerns after surgery makes them feel heard, especially if the experience wasn’t entirely positive. It’s also a learning opportunity for the provider. Brochures and other educational materials, which also can be provided before surgery, outline in layman's terms exactly what to expect from the experience.


Interested in learning more about the role of IONM in patient satisfaction? Let’s talk. As a leading IONM provider, our surgical neurophysiologists and dedicated doctors are committed to patient safety and risk management. Since 2007, Neuro Alert has been setting the bar for ensuring patient safety during surgeries that place the central or peripheral nervous systems at risk. Neuro Alert brings together the key elements of technology and highly trained IONM clinicians to provide unsurpassed critical neuromonitoring and expert advice. Surgeons choose Neuro Alert practitioners to join their patient-focused teams to ensure the best possible outcomes.

We offer providers:

  • Cost savings: Neuro Alert provides healthcare institutions expertise, innovative technology, and high-quality IONM technical services under a competitive rate structure without compromising patient care, and also offers malpractice liability protection.
  • Safety and liability: Our primary goal at Neuro Alert is to ensure the safety and improved functional outcome of all patients. As a pioneer of IONM, all Neuro Alert reading physicians are board certified and have experience with thousands of spine, brain, vascular and other surgeries.
  • Differentiation: In today’s healthcare environment, it is imperative that health professionals focus on a continuum of care that sets them apart. A healthcare institution’s success rests upon the quality and consistency of the services it provides.
  • Hospital education: Our professionals offer continuing education, in-services and ground rounds for hospitals, as well as availability for speaking engagements.

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Topics: Insider, Patients, IONM