At Patientco, we’re always thinking of ways to improve the patient payment experience. This requires a steadfast focus on the payment UX (user experience). To create the best experience possible, Mara Stephenson, a User Experience Designer at Patientco chats with users regularly to uncover their healthcare payments needs and brainstorm ways to solve them. For today’s blog, we’ll hear from Mara on best practices for creating a better patient payment UX.
First, let’s talk about the basics of UX design. What goes into creating a great payment UX?
Mara: Designing any great UX starts with having empathy for the end user. You have to know what their mindset is when they’re using your product. For Patientco and our Health System clients, that means putting ourselves in the patients’ shoes when they receive a medical bill. This can look different depending on the patient. Some patients may receive a medical bill that they cannot afford to pay in full. Other patients may see their bill and just want a quick, easy way to pay online. We have to be able to solve for both of these scenarios and more.
Affordability is a huge pain point for many patients. How does Patientco address this with its payment UX?
Mara: We make sure patients have the ability to choose a payment option that’s right for them. This means we have to create different ways to empower them to pay. For example, patients can choose from payment plan options that range anywhere from 3 months to 12 months. Giving patients multiple options to choose from helps ease some of the stress and anxiety associated with receiving a medical bill, and therefore creates a better payment UX. After all, we must remember to empathize with the patient. This medical bill they just received could have been for an unplanned hospital visit and finding room in their budget to pay might be a stretch. However, we can guide them in finding the payment option that works for them.
Along with offering affordable payment options, we also consider the enrollment process. A +25 field questionnaire that requests information patients have to search for may turn patients off from enrolling (and paying) altogether. Instead, we break the flow into bite-sized chunks and ask simple questions that patients can answer off the top of their head. We also consider how and when a patient will be answering these questions. We know that patients want to enroll in payment plans and financing digitally. However, digital could mean a desktop computer, a tablet or smartphone. All of those screens vary in sizes, so we have to make sure the user flow works seamlessly on all devices.
That’s an interesting point about screen sizes. How else does that play into the payment UX?
Mara: A good payment UX must be web and mobile-friendly. This is because today’s consumers are more apt to check email on their mobile device. When we send patients an eBill, we want to ensure they can access their PatientWallet, our online bill pay portal, from their smartphone or whatever device they’re currently using.
Mara, thanks for sharing these insights and for all you do to ensure Patientco offers a superior patient payment UX. As an IBM executive once said, “Ease of use may be invisible, but its absence sure isn’t.”