Medical treatment is never one-size-fits-all. The patient UX (user experience) shouldn’t be either. When treating a patient clinically, healthcare professionals take into account various factors, including the patient’s medical history, age, lifestyle, activity level and more. This allows them to tailor their care to best fit the patient’s medical needs.
Why can’t healthcare take a similar approach for the patient UX when it comes to payments? At Patientco, we believe revenue cycle leaders can and should.
Today’s patients are responsible for larger portions of their healthcare bills than ever before. This means Health Systems rely more on patient collections as a revenue source. A recent TransUnion study reports that total hospital revenue attributable to patient payments increased 88 percent from 2012 to 2017. By optimizing the payment experience, Health Systems can maximize patient payments.
Expressed vs. Implied Preferences
To optimize the patient payment experience, Health Systems must consider the patient’s unique preferences for financial communication. This includes both expressed and implied preferences. Yet, sometimes a patient’s expressed preferences contradict their implied preferences.
To understand the distinction between the two, most healthcare organizations ask patients what their communication and billing preferences are. This gives patients an opportunity to express their preference for receiving eBills over mailed statements or vice versa. However, what if those patients who opted into eBills never open those eBills? This behavior implies that they don’t actually prefer to engage via eBills.
So, what’s a healthcare organization to do? Patientco believes the answer lies in the data.
By analyzing patient behavior through engagement data, revenue cycle leaders can better accommodate patient preferences, both expressed and implied. This promotes a better patient UX with better financial outcomes for your healthcare organization.
How Data Points to a Better Patient UX
Start by evaluating email open rates. For patients that are not opening your emails, follow up with a mailed statement. Doing so can reduce the number of patients that don’t make a payment. Healthcare organizations can also analyze email open rates to determine the best day of the week or time of day to send an eBill. You can glean other insights from open rates as well, such as which subject lines are most effective.
It’s also worthwhile to go beyond open rates and analyze other patient behaviors as this can help further optimize the patient UX. For instance, how many patients clicked through to your website after receiving an eBill? Of those visits, how many resulted in a completed payment? And how many self-service payments are processed compared to staff-assisted payments?
Analyzing these behaviors across large data sets enables your healthcare organization to assess how user-friendly and intuitive its payment options are. This also allows you to detect the pain points that patients experience within the payment process. Once you know what those pain points are, you can take steps to resolve them.
Understanding how patients respond to financial communication by analyzing their behavior ensures your healthcare organization can adapt its billing and payment strategy accordingly. Using the insights gleaned from behavioral data, you can tailor the patient UX and make the payment process as intuitive as possible. For example, that might mean customized messaging or personalized financing options for some patients. These efforts will improve patient engagement and the overall patient financial experience. This will also maximize patient payments, which means your organization makes less attempts to collect.
To learn more about this topic, check out our latest contributed article for The Healthcare Guys blog.