A growing number of Health Systems are realizing the importance of providing a consumer-friendly payment experience to patients. Various studies, like this analysis by Press Ganey, have shown that a better patient experience leads to improved financial performance for the Health System. Additionally, look at Patientco’s recent survey of patients. Nearly 80 percent of patients report that they choose providers based on the billing and payment experience. However, Health Systems that still use legacy RCM technology struggle to deliver a consumer-friendly payment experience. This is because legacy RCM tools pose distinct challenges at pre-service, point-of-service and post-service. This blog will examine how Health Systems can overcome these obstacles with better payment tools that are aligned with what today’s consumers expect.

Convey Costs & Discuss Payment Options at Pre-Service

Accepting payments at pre-service can be difficult for a number of reasons. For one, staff have few integrated estimator payment options and posting payments can be complex. Furthermore, payment plans and self-service payment tools are rarely an option at pre-service. These issues are problematic because our survey revealed that 99 percent of patients want to understand costs and payment options prior to care.

To ensure a consumer-friendly payment experience, your Health System needs payment tools with proven estimator integrations. This allows staff to communicate with patients earlier about costs and payment options. Use digital channels, like emails or texts to communicate estimated fees to patients and prompt them to pay with self-service payment tools. With today’s technology, Health Systems can tailor self-service payment options using dynamic business rules. Allow patients to easily schedule a future payment or enroll in a payment plan. Offering flexible payment options helps address affordability, which is patients’ biggest concern when it comes to healthcare. Finally, integrating payments with both an estimator tool and directly with your Health System’s HIS automates payment posting. As a result, this helps reduce payment posting complexities for your staff.

A Consumer-Friendly Payment Experience at POS

At point-of-service, staff often struggle with disparate systems and a limited balance view. This results in frequently missed payment opportunities, complex workflows and no real-time view of staff performance. With so many obstacles, how can staff perform to their fullest potential? Likewise, this can result in a less-than-ideal experience for patients. For a consumer-friendly payment experience, your Health System must bridge siloed RCM systems. Doing so will give patients and staff a single, system-wide balance view. With increased visibility of up-to-date balances and embedded payment tools in the POS workflow, your staff can recognize and act on each payment opportunity.

Drive Digital Engagement & Personalized Payment Options at Post-Serviceconsumer-friendly payment experience

When it comes to post-service payment challenges, confusing paper statements and few self-service payment options negatively impact the patient experience. To provide a more consumer-friendly payment experience, Health Systems must support digital-first engagement. According to research from Pew, 77 percent of consumers own a smartphone and 90 percent have access to internet. Almost all patients, regardless of age or income use digital and mobile tools; therefore, communicate accordingly.

Additionally, make sure patients are not confused by their bill. Use plain-language billing descriptors so patients can understand and trust the charges on their statement. As for payments, provide self-service, tailored payment options. Patients want affordable payment options, like payment plans and financing, so make it easy for them to enroll online. In fact, our survey revealed that nearly 70 percent of patients prefer online enrollment. Not only does this reduce the burden on staff, it also helps boost patient adoption of flexible payment options.

Legacy RCM technology works for payers. However, it is a poor fit for the demands of today’s consumers. Legacy tools struggle to support an affordable, consumer-friendly payment experience. Instead, transform the payment experience with better tools that facilitate personalized communication and payment options from pre-service to post-service. Achieve this and watch your Health System build patient loyalty while improving its financial performance.

Want to learn more? We’ll be at HFMA Annual next month at booth #287, so stop by and chat with us!