Nearly 14.5 billion spam emails are sent each day, which means about 45 percent of all emails are spam, according to research from SpamLaws.com. Other research reports that nearly half of all cell phone calls made in 2019 will be spam calls. So – what does this mean for Health Systems and their patient financial communication?
As patients are bombarded with spam from various channels, Health Systems must optimize patient financial communication. This will promote better patient financial engagement and in turn, accelerate payments. By following the three steps outlined below, your organization can improve its patient financial communication and separate itself from the spammers.
1. Measure how effective your current patient financial communication is.
You can’t improve what you can’t measure. Evaluate how patients engage with financial communication today. This gives you a baseline for patient engagement and helps you identify tactics that are effective versus ineffective. Review how many patients pay after receiving their first bill. How many paper statements are sent on average before a patient pays? If you send eBills, what is your open rate and how many patients make a payment? If your Health System offers payment plans or financing options, what is your adoption rate?
Understanding how patients engage with your Health System’s financial communication will highlight opportunities for improvement. But more importantly, these initial metrics will help you track how changes to your patient financial communication impact engagement.
2. Segment data to improve your patient financial communication strategy.
The communication tactics that successfully engage some patients may not engage others. This is because every patient has their own distinct bill balance, budget and preferred method of communication. However, by segmenting data, Health Systems can effectively accommodate for those variables in their financial communication to patients.
Start by segmenting data according to bill balance. The bill balance amount has a major impact on your patient financial communication strategy. In our research, we’ve found that patients with balances over $400 respond differently to communication than patients with lower balances. Likewise, patients with balances over $1,000 respond even more differently, meaning Health Systems must adjust their financial outreach yet again.
Also, consider segmenting data by patient behavior. You might have a group of patients that hasn’t responded to their first eBill, patients that have opted in for text notifications but haven’t paid their balance, or patients that only engage after receiving a paper statement – this list goes on. By understanding patient behavior, your Health System can tailor its communication tactics. For example, if a patient hasn’t opened his last three eBills, you could send that patient a text notification or a paper statement instead. Or, if a patient opens their eBill, but doesn’t make a payment, it might signal a need for more flexible payment options. Your Health System could send details about payment plans in a follow up email.
3. Experiment, experiment and experiment again.
As you gain insight on how patients engage and respond to your Health System’s financial communication, you can identify new opportunities to improve through experimentation. By running experiments, you can test how a change to your patient financial communication impacts engagement and ultimately, patient revenue.
For example, if you wanted to increase adoption of payment plans, you could adjust the payment plan thresholds. Then, you would test this change for a segment of patients against a control group to determine whether the change impacted adoption rates. Health Systems can use this tactic to test countless variables within their patient financial communication and fine-tune outreach.
With all the noise out there, between spam phone call and emails, it’s more challenging than ever get consumers’ attention. However, with guidance from a trusted partner and by following the above steps, your Health System can more effectively engage with patients. This minimizes costly follow ups and accelerates patient payments. Most importantly, this supports a better patient financial experience, which leads to more loyal patients for your Health System and not your competitor’s.
Check out our latest piece in Health Management Technology to learn more!