Why Patient Experience Should Play a Bigger Role in Your Collections Process
We talk a lot about patient experience on the PatientBond blog, and it’s a popular topic in the healthcare community. As the focus becomes more on value-based care, the patient, their experience and their feelings become increasingly important. In a very practical way, a bad experience during an appointment can cause a patient not to return, which certainly has a negative financial impact on a healthcare facility.
It’s easy to forget that the patient experience doesn’t end when the provider walks out the door for the last time or even when the patient gets in their car. Many times patients are later contacted about payment, either through a bill in the mail, a notification in their patient portal or a phone call. This moment is included in the patient experience, and it’s time we also focus on that.
Patient Experience Begins Before Billing
Patients consider the payment and billing process a part of their whole healthcare experience. A bad billing experience could impact their entire view of their care, which often carries into a facility’s satisfaction scores, like HCAHPS, which we covered in a recent blog post. The vast majority of patients (92%, in fact) want to know how much of their bill they’ll need to pay before their visit even begins. By being able to deliver an estimate (even if it’s not exact) when the patient checks in for their appointment is a great way to get ahead on their perception of their payment and billing experience.
After the appointment, though, the biggest contributor to a positive patient experience and smooth billing process is communication. If your facility is able to communicate clearly with the patient what their responsibility is, the timeline for payment and any other pertinent details, they’re more likely to have a good experience. An estimated 70% of patients say they are confused by their medical bills, so do whatever you can to create an easy-to-understand bill. If you can offer online payments as an option, that will help too.
Patient Experience Influences Patient Payments
The experience a patient has with the billing department can actually impact how likely they are to make their payments. If a patient had a bad experience, they might drag their feet when it comes to paying. However, a recent survey found that over 75% of patients paid their bill after having a good experience.
The trick here is that not all patients respond to the same types of bills. Some patients prefer to receive a bill in the mail and then pay online. Others are happy to send a check or to have a phone call about their payment. Understanding who prefers what can be a challenge, and it can have a negative impact on the patient experience while you’re working through it.
The PatientBond platform offers a way of collecting payments based on psychographic segmentation. After taking a short quiz about their lifestyle, motivations and preferences, patients are placed in one of five segments. Providers can then communicate with these segments differently, depending on their preferences. This platform has a 55% digital engagement rate, which is 3x the engagement of manual phone calls for patient payments.
The automated reminders from the PatientBond digital engagement platform are written for each patient’s psychographic segment. The language used appeals to a particular segment’s reasoning, motivating them to comply and prompting easy healthcare collections. The reminders are also sent on different platforms, times and frequencies depending on segment preferences.
The patient experience expands into the billing cycle. The more personalized and targeted it is, the more likely patients are to respond quickly and positively. From discussing the cost of care up front to delivering impactful messaging during the patient payment process, your healthcare organization can improve their experience and increase revenue and market share.
For more on our segmented digital engagement platform and how it maximizes payment collections as well as improves the patient experience, download our case study.