Executive Summary

All Health Systems have a patient payment solution, whether it’s based in their HIS or an assortment of payment processing tools. As long as that solution accepts payments, there can be the mindset of, “if it’s not broken, why fix it?” Given the capabilities of today’s technology, we believe Health Systems and their patients deserve better than an outdated status quo. Instead, consider the competitive advantage you could gain with a more modern patient payment solution. We know this is a big investment, which means your organization must demonstrate a need before exploring a new solution. The three metrics outlined in this white paper will help you uncover that need and prove to management that the right technology investment will add value to your Health System.

Patient Satisfaction Metrics

One metric to focus on is patient satisfaction ratings. Are your patients satisfied with their experience at your Health System up until the billing process? This is actually a very common issue. Patient satisfaction ratings fall by an average of more than 30 percent from post-discharge through the billing process. Meanwhile, after patients complete a payment through Patientco, 95 percent report feeling satisfied with the billing and payment process.

Evaluating how the financial experience impacts overall patient satisfaction will help determine whether you need a more consumer-friendly billing and payments solution. If you don’t survey patients post-billing, consider looking at online reviews on platforms like Yelp, Zocdoc and HealthGrades. Look for reviews that reference the financial experience. Are there trends in how patients perceive that experience? Analyzing several reviews can help reveal common pain points or highlight drivers of patient satisfaction.

It is important to understand how patients perceive the financial experience because, according to our data, patients are more likely to pay their bill in full if they are satisfied with the billing process. They are also twice as likely to return to the Health System and five times more likely to recommend it to family or friends.

First Bill Engagement

When your Health System sends a patient their first bill, how many engage? Evaluating your engagement metrics are essential. Patients can engage in many different ways. Understanding how many of them do so will determine whether there is room for improvement. How many patients open your eBills? How many patients actually pay? Likewise, if your Health System offers payment plans, how many patients enroll after receiving their first bill?

We analyzed first eBill engagement thus far in 2019 for one enterprise Health System client and found that more than 70 percent of first eBills that were opened got paid. That’s just the first eBill that gets sent to the patient, no reminders or follow up phone calls required. This is because Patientco maximizes engagement by optimizing eBill send times. Meanwhile, most business-to-consumer email open rates hover around 20 percent and have click rates of about 2 percent. If these numbers are stubbornly low for your Health System, or if it is extremely difficult to analyze engagement, it may be time for a better patient payment solution.

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Scaling Payments Volume Requires Added Staff

How does your Health System handle increased patient payment volume? Does it leave your team looking for more help? If so, you should seek out a solution that reduces the burden on existing staff and supports their productivity, rather than hindering it. After all, time is money.

Evaluate how long patient and staff interactions last, as well as metrics about the time it takes for staff to accept and process a payment. Shifting most, or even just a portion of those payments to self-service options will give staff more time to focus on other tasks. Last year, Patientco processed more than 600,000 patient-initiated web payments on behalf of our large Health System clients. Industry research reports that the average card transaction takes about 30 seconds. This would mean 5,000 more hours of work annually if staff received this volume instead. That’s more than 40 hours per week.

Additionally, today’s empowered consumers want to take matters into their own hands. By 2022, 85 percent of all customer-service interactions will start with self-service, up from 48 percent today, according to research from Gartner.

Shifting to Self-Service

To encourage the shift to self-service, Health Systems have to make it easier for patients to go online to make a payment or schedule one themselves with consumer-friendly payment tools. If there are payment options for patients that currently require staff assistance, find out why. Given available technology, there is a good chance your Health System could take a self-service approach instead. For instance, consider an IVR tool to support payments via phone without staff assistance. Patientco’s IVR system handles more than 70,000 minutes per month for our clients. Otherwise, these calls would have taken time from Health System staff.

The right patient payment technology shouldn’t just help you accept payments. It should also help you generate patient revenue in a sustainable way by improving the patient experience, so they select your Health System the next time they need care.