Q&A: Centralized versus decentralized patient access departments

May 14, 2018
Medicare Web

Q. What are some of the key differences between a centralized and decentralized approach to patient access staffing?

A. The decision whether your organization should support a centralized or decentralized structure, or an organizational structure that includes components of both, should be based on thorough research that analyzes the pros and cons of each structure.

The basic concept of a centralized structure is functional reporting—that is, the structure is developed according to similar tasks and decision-making is functionally based. Centralized departments function as one, which makes it easier and more convenient for the patient to navigate.

The basic concept of a decentralized structure is that access staff members are located throughout the organization as part of a “service center” and report to the service center manager. An example would be a self-contained outpatient center where patients report to one location and access processing is incorporated within the outpatient center operations.

For more information, see The Complete Patient Access Handbook.

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