About Piedmont Healthcare:
- Founded in 1905 in Atlanta, GA
- 11 Hospitals & +650 Locations
- Serving Nearly 2 Million Patients
First Year Highlights:
- +$4 Million Collected at Point-of-Service
- +7 Million Generated in Payment Lift
- +83,000 Patients Signed Up for Email Communications
Challenge Accepted: Improve Patient Financial Care & Grow Payments by +$10MM
Piedmont Healthcare’s Patient Advisory Panels are important groups comprised of real Piedmont patients. Many meetings included a discussion regarding concerns about confusing billing statements. Patients wanted statements that were easier to read, navigate and understand. They also wanted more self-service payment options, including payment plans and other affordable payment options.
“In our call center, approximately 30% of patient calls stemmed from complaints about their statement and fielding these calls was another burden for staff members,” said Brian Unell, VP of Revenue Cycle at Piedmont Healthcare. “Today, our patient population finds it much easier to understand and pay their bill, thanks to its new consumer- friendly design and our affordable, self-service payment options.”
These efforts were part of Piedmont’s strategic initiative to simplify patient financial care. Additionally, Piedmont had a goal of increasing patient collections by $10 million in three years. The Atlanta-based Health System also aimed to address the needs of its team, as they were not satisfied with Piedmont’s previous legacy payment tools.
“Piedmont’s prior payments solutions had limited integration capabilities with our Epic HIS and the new Epic Estimator tool we were deploying. This posed challenges for our staff, so requesting payments from patients was not happening consistently, as staff had to switch between different screens and manage overly complex workflows to accept payments and assist patients.”
– Andrea Mejia, Executive Director of Patient Financial Care at Piedmont Healthcare
Better Patient Financial Care Requires Modern Communication & Payment Tools
There were several components to Piedmont’s patient financial care initiative, including optimizing pre-service and customer service functions. To ensure they would meet the established objectives, Piedmont critically examined several patient payment tools.
One option involved taking no action and sticking with the status quo. Piedmont considered leveraging enhancements through its HIS and evaluated multiple third-party vendors as well. This thorough selection process involved reviewing vendors’ solution capabilities, service levels, security posture, implementation process, scalability and overall ROI to fit the needs of their growing patient population.
Piedmont’s preferred solution would support both paper and digital financial communications to clearly direct patients to relevant payment options. These communications would be optimized to patients’ preferences, as well as easy to read, navigate and understand. Piedmont also needed a payments solution that would directly integrate with Epic and support real-time posting with guaranteed reconciliation. At the same time, they wanted to offer patients a more mobile-friendly payment experience with self-service, affordable payment options. Piedmont found all of that in Patientco, selecting us to provide a more user-friendly and efficient consumer billing and payment experience across its enterprise.
Big Wins in the First Year Point to Major Long-Term ROI
Within the first year, Piedmont collected $4.5 million at the point-of-service. Combined with other efforts, the Health System was able to generate more than $7 million in payment lift. Patientco played a key role in supporting this with its patient-friendly communication and payments tools, along with its Epic integrations.
Patientco helped Piedmont achieve other impressive milestones too, including increased digital engagement. Today, more than 83,000 patients have signed up to receive emails and more than 47,000 patients have opted to receive texts from Piedmont for their financial communications.
Additionally, for patients who need flexible payment plan options, Piedmont now supports digital self-service enrollment with Patientco. As a result, Piedmont’s staff no longer rely on time- and resource-intensive approaches to payment plan enrollment, like calling patients directly. By doing so, Piedmont increased patient-initiated adoption of payment plans by nearly 400% in just two months. Not only has adoption increased, Piedmont has seen a high success rate on these payment plans, reporting a 92% collection rate so far.
Empowering Piedmont’s Patients & Team Members
By leveraging Patientco’s integration with Epic, Piedmont was able to reduce the need to manually input credit card and account numbers into multiple systems. This helped increase its point-of-service payments by 30%. Piedmont’s staff is more productive as a result. Thanks to Patientco, posting and reconciling payments happens in real time.
“Patientco’s integration with Epic has helped our staff assist patients more efficiently, both in-person and via phone by eliminating the need to switch between multiple tools and workflows. In fact, this has resulted in reduced patient call handle times, improving the patient financial experience while boosting staff productivity.”
– Andrea Mejia, Executive Director of Patient Financial Care
For Unell, Patientco’s ability to look at the total patient financial experience within the Health System was especially valuable.
“Several years ago, we embarked on a mission to educate and equip all patients with the right information and payment options to simplify patient financial care. Patientco has been an essential component of this initiative and our partnership will ensure that Piedmont provides a one-of-a-kind experience that always puts patients first, both now and in the future.”
– Brian Unell, VP of Revenue Cycle at Piedmont Healthcare