The Importance of Ancillary Services in Healthcare

The Importance of Ancillary Services in Healthcare

Ancillary services are anything outside of the direct care given by a physician or nurse. These include diagnostic, therapeutic, and custodial services. Front-office staff is often asked to sensitively promote ancillary offerings like MRIs, cosmetic surgery, or mental health support. But they may need more time to devote to educating patients.

Patients Come First

Ancillary services allow medical staff to focus on their patients. For example, when a patient comes in with a respiratory problem, the nurse can refer them to a respiratory therapist with specialized training and will take care of them. This saves the nurses time and allows them to concentrate on their other patients. Aside from being necessary for healthcare institutes, ancillary services allow physicians to help their patients lead healthier lives. This helps reduce expensive hospital visits and emergency department care. According to Christopher Manfuso, Founder of Docancillary, ancillary services are also great for boosting practice revenue and attracting new patients.

However, to maximize the benefits of ancillary services, physicians must proactively promote them to their patients. Traditional promotional methods, such as table tents and posters in the waiting room, can be embarrassing or offensive to some patients. 

More Cost-Effective

Ancillary services can save both physicians and patients significant amounts of money. For instance, if a patient needs an imaging test that is more expensive at the hospital, the physician may refer them to an in-office provider who can offer the same service for less money. Ancillary healthcare options include diagnostic and therapeutic services. Diagnostic healthcare services, such as blood tests and MRI scans, are usually available in hospitals, while therapeutic ancillary services are offered at medical offices or free-standing clinics. Physicians can promote their ancillary services in several ways. They can provide a list of available ancillary services at their practice or use targeted digital messaging to inform patients of relevant available services. The latter approach can increase awareness and the number of patients who request those services from their physicians. This can improve the health and wellness of patients and reduce costs for providers and payers alike. A key challenge facing ancillary care providers is interoperability between their systems for capturing, coding and billing patient information.

Putting Patients First

Ancillary services are all healthcare services that fall outside of room and board or direct care by a physician or nurse. These services can be broken down into three categories: diagnostic, therapeutic, and custodial. Ancillary and free-standing services like blood testing laboratories and MRI centers can be found in hospitals or medical offices.

Physicians and nurses have many patients to see and multiple tasks, which is why ancillary services are so important. Access to these specialized services allows them to get the information they need quickly and efficiently.

Additionally, patients are becoming more involved in their care. They want to know their options with high deductibles and a growing desire to control costs. With targeted digital messaging, practices can ensure patients know all relevant ancillary services they may benefit from. These services help keep the healthcare system running smoothly, allowing physicians to focus on what matters most: their patients.

Specialized Staff

Ancillary healthcare services are specialized services that physicians may be unable to offer themselves. Highly trained professionals usually staff them with years of experience in their respective fields. Ancillary services account for nearly 30% of all medical spending today. Ancillary healthcare services are also one of the industry’s fastest-growing sectors, including diagnostic, preventative, home health, and geriatric care.

When a physician’s practice offers the full range of ancillary services, patients benefit from an easy-to-use, one-stop shop. They don’t have to travel to multiple locations or make separate appointments, which can save them time and money. However, promoting these additional healthcare services is a challenge. Many patients need to be made aware their providers offer ancillary services. That’s why, in addition to traditional marketing methods, healthcare organizations can use digital messaging to inform clinically relevant patients about their ancillary care options before their appointments. 

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