Executive Summary:

Last year, $18.5 billion was invested into the payments industry, a 5X increase compared to 2017. Clearly, the payment experience matters, even in healthcare. Patientco’s recent survey of patients confirmed the importance of the payment experience, as nearly 80% consider the billing and payment experience when choosing a provider.

Our Experiment

To prove this theory, Patientco surveyed patients after they use our technology to make a payment to their Health System. Ninety-five percent reported satisfaction with the patient payment experience. To test how this impacts patient loyalty, we designed an experiment. On a scale of 1 to 10, we asked patients: “Given your billing experience, how likely are you to refer your Health System to a friend or colleague?” Those who respond with a score of 9 to 10 are promoters. They remain loyal to their Health System for longer and will make more positive referrals. Patients with responses of 0 to 6 are detractors, who are unsatisfied with their experience. 

Through this experiment, we found that many clients have NPS scores of +50 or higher. Comparatively, the average Health System’s NPS is +16. “Great” scores are above +30. This white paper will explore how your Health System can increase patient loyalty by creating a superior payment experience from pre- to post-service.

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Start Nurturing Loyalty Prior to Care

Lay the foundation for patient loyalty at pre-service. Unlike retail purchases, patients often do not know the exact price of their care ahead of time. Additionally, patients don’t always plan for treatment. These are pain points that patients want their providers to address. In our 2019 patient and provider survey, 99% of patients stated they want to understand costs and available payment options at pre-service. Communicate this information before treatment because a surprisingly high bill can ruin an otherwise positive care experience.

Most patients who would not recommend their Health System to a friend or colleague revealed the reason was because the bill amount was a surprise. Integrating affordable payment options, like Patientco’s payment plans, with your Health System’s estimator tool can remediate this. However, we all know that estimators will never be perfect, so ensure your payments integration includes processes or automation to prevent over-payment.

A Better POS Experience Adds Value Today & Tomorrow

The POS is another opportunity for Health Systems to build patient loyalty. Make sure employees are engaged and well-equipped to address each patient’s distinct financial needs.

Here’s why: improving the patient experience or employee engagement results in higher HCAHPS ratings. This was revealed in a recent analysis by Press Ganey, a company known for developing and distributing patient satisfaction surveys. But, improving both the patient experience and employee engagement compounds the result. Each five-point increase in HCAHPS “rate the hospital” score is associated with a 1% increase in net profit margin.

At Patientco, we use gamification to engage and motivate revenue cycle staff. By providing real-time, gamified reporting for Health System business office teams, staff can easily view and track progress toward their goals. Not only does this help staff collect more, it improves customer service at POS, creating more loyal patients.

Win with a Modern Post-Service Patient Payment Experience 

Post-service is the last chance for your Health System to exceed patients’ expectations and ensure they choose your organization the next time they need care. Make that experience as convenient as possible through digital-first engagement and flexible self-service payment options.

Today’s patients overwhelmingly prefer to engage with their Health Systems digitally. In our latest survey, more than 60% of patients reported they would prefer to receive financial communications via email or text over mail.

patient payment experience communicationNot only does this ensure a convenient financial experience now, it also supports a convenient, personalized experience in the future. Moving to digital allows you to leverage user preferences and behavioral data on a more frequent, consistent basis. Patientco understands the power of digital, so we launched Digital-First Billing earlier this year to allow Health Systems to engage with patients via email or text first without mailing a paper statement. This promotes digital engagement from the get-go and gives patients immediate access to self-service affordable payment options.

Creating a Modern Post-Service Experience That’s Also Affordable

patient-payment-experience-enrollmentSpeaking of affordable, affordability is patients’ top concern when it comes to healthcare bills. Make sure your Health System promotes flexible payment options. Oftentimes, Health Systems keep payment plans and financing options as staff-facing, but nearly 70% of patients would prefer to sign up for these options online.

While it may be a stretch to say that patients should enjoy paying their healthcare bills – no one should dread this process. Or even worse, avoid necessary care because of it. A more modern, intuitive payment experience ensures that patients remain satisfied after receiving care. So, the next time they need care, they will return to the Health System they prefer and trust. Make sure it’s your Health System.

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