Most C-level executives, 69%, in the healthcare space report that improving the consumer experience is a top priority for 2019, according to a new survey from Sage Growth Partners. In highly competitive markets, it’s even more important. The survey also revealed that healthcare organizations are using an array of technology to improve the consumer experience. Of the respondents, 93% report using phone calls, 90% rely on their EHR and 83% use patient portals. However, part of an improved consumer experience in healthcare involves more patient-friendly billing processes. These technologies alone are not enough to deliver a patient-friendly billing experience that’s aligned with what today’s consumers want.

What Defines a Patient-Friendly Billing Experience?

At Patientco, we believe patient-friendly billing is personalized, convenient, simple and affordable. A billing process that meets these requirements ensures your patients remain satisfied after completing their payment. This means they are more likely to choose your Health System the next time they need care.

Patient-friendly billing requires personalized communication and payment options. This empowers Health Systems to earn patients’ loyalty. Factor in patients’ communication preferences and behavioral data during outreach. In other words, let patients opt into eBills or text notifications. Then, look at their behavioral data. Are they opening and clicking on the eBills? Do text notifications result in completed payments?

Health Systems can use this intel to inform how to follow up with patients in a personalized way. The right propensity models can also help tailor patient engagement. These models analyze factors like bill balance amount and healthcare payment history to accurately predict a patient’s willingness and ability to pay their bill. With this data, your Health System can then provide messaging and payment options, such as a short-term payment plan, tailored to the patients’ financial needs.

Win with Convenience & Simplicity

Convenience is crucial for a patient-friendly billing experience. Health Systems can ensure convenience for every patient by offering mobile-responsive, digital communications with self-service payment options. Today’s technology makes it possible to send digital-first communications, like eBills on day one after the first visit. This allows Health Systems to engage patients via the digital channels they prefer while giving patients immediate access to their payment options. Pew Research reports that 77% of Americans go online everyday, so meet patients where they are. Also, allowing patients to store their payment method on file makes future payments even easier. While it’s unlikely that anyone actually enjoys paying their healthcare bills, a more patient-friendly billing experience can make the process as painless as possible.

Think about the best experience you’ve had with a retailer online. It was likely simple, as the best UX designs are simple and intuitive. Patient-friendly billing calls for easy-to-understand statements and eBills. This means translating medical billing codes into plain language and reflecting prior payments on the statement. Doing so helps build patients’ trust and means they are more likely to pay their bill.

Don’t Forget to Address Affordability

Finally, patient-friendly billing should be affordable. There is no shortage of affordable, flexible payment solutions on the market and given the rising cost of healthcare, patients need payment options that fit their budget. Today’s Health Systems can choose to offer a suite of payment plan products, including recourse and non-recourse financing, unfunded payment plans and revolving credit lines. This means there is an affordable payment option for every patient and Health System. For a patient-friendly billing experience, these options should support online enrollment. Patients want to be empowered to sign up online for a payment plan or financing. Don’t make them take time out of their day to call your staff for assistance. Trust us, your patients and staff will thank you for this.

A patient-friendly billing process is just one part of a top-notch consumer healthcare experience, but it’s often the last touch a Health System will have with a patient. Make sure it leaves a positive impression. By making the billing experience personalized, convenient, simple and affordable, Health Systems can build patient loyalty, positioning their organization for more visits and payments in the future.