A Better Patient Billing System

Today’s patients expect more from their Health System’s billing and payment experience. In an era when one can pay with the swipe of a finger, consumers will not settle for anything less. To meet those expectations, you need a digital-first, consumer-friendly patient billing system.

Existing legacy systems that many Health Systems use do not support an affordable, consumer-friendly billing and payment experience. This is because those legacy RCM systems are designed for healthcare organizations and insurance providers, put simply: not the average consumer.patient-billing-system-checklist

Since these systems fail to meet consumer expectations, patient satisfaction ratings typically fall by 30 percent from post-discharge after the billing experience. The good news is that the right patient billing system can help address this. To ensure you select the best one for your organization, don’t onboard a new patient billing vendor without this checklist.

Real-Time HIS and Estimator Tool Integrations

Look for a patient billing system that supports API-driven, real-time integrations with an estimator tool and your current HIS. This should be non-negotiable. Integration capabilities are the foundation for a solution that meets heightened consumer expectations. Without proven, real-time integrations into your Health System’s HIS, viewing up-to-date balances and statements is challenging. This can lead to redundant, confusing or at worst, inaccurate billing and financial communications.

Integrations with an estimator tool are also important. According to Patientco’s latest survey, 99 percent of patients want better pre-service communications about costs and payment options. Address this with a patient billing system that integrates with an estimator tool. The solution should also support the exchange of data in real-time, along with comprehensive payment options. This will facilitate a simpler pre-service workflow, empowering your staff to proactively communicate with patients about costs and establish commitment to pay sooner.

Communications that Correlate to Engagement and Payments

Organizations in other industries almost always tailor their outreach based on what they know about the consumers they’re targeting. The healthcare industry should take a similar approach. However, doing so requires integrating payment and communication tools within one system. As a result, Health Systems can better understand how patients respond to financial communications and what influences them to pay.

In short, a patient billing system that integrates communications and payments provides intel to facilitate a tailored patient financial experience. For instance, a patient with a bill balance over $1,000 should receive a different message accompanied with different payment options than a patient with a bill balance under $200.

Affordable Payment Options Where They Matter Most

Affordability is the top concern for patients when it comes to healthcare. Many patients even delay or avoid care due to fear of costs. Flexible payment options can help address this issue, which a majority of providers, 87 percent according to our survey, already offer.

However, 68 percent of those providers enroll patients in those flexible payment options in-person or via phone calls. In other words, self-service enrollment in payment plans is not usually an option. Yet, nearly 70 percent of patients would prefer to enroll online in a payment plan themselves over speaking with someone from the Health System’s business office. To address the affordability issue and meet the expectations of today’s consumers, your patient billing system must provide a full suite of self-service payment options, including payment plans and financing offers. In addition, allow patients to schedule future payments. This is another way to establish commitment to pay.

Likewise, make sure staff have affordable payment options embedded in their workflows, from pre-service to post-service. Enable staff to set up payment plans that accommodate the patient’s needs and your Health System’s needs with dynamic business rules. Streamlined workflows with business rules and helpful prompts make it easier for staff to request and process payments that patients can afford.

A patient billing system with these core functionalities can transform patient payments into an economic growth engine for your Health System. Healthcare costs continue to rise and patients are bringing expectations from their experiences in retail industries. Make sure your patient billing system has what it takes to address those challenges.