Revenue Cycle Diagnostics Executive Summary:
Revenue cycle technology is not a “set it and forget it” endeavor. With this type of investment, you need a partner who will help with revenue cycle diagnostics. Your vendor should help you leverage your new technology to optimize performance. This white paper will outline the ways your partner should guide you through this – from communicating with patients about their bill to influencing payment outcomes. You need a trusted partner that can empower your organization to achieve this while leaving a positive impression on your patients so they choose your Health System the next time they need care.
How do we get patients to engage with our communication?
For optimal revenue cycle performance, your Health System relies on patients to pay their healthcare bills. To influence them to pay, your Health System must effectively engage patients, who increasingly prefer digital interactions over traditional channels, like phone calls and paper statements. However, simply offering digital communication is not enough.
Make sure your Health System is encouraging patients to opt-in for digital communication, like eBills. As adoption grows, review what percentage of statements are sent as eBills. You should prompt patients to interact with those eBills so fewer paper statements have to be sent.
Most patients view an eBill within four hours after receiving it and 70 percent of patients who engage with their eBill do so within 24 hours of receiving it. These “quick responders” represent nearly two-thirds of payments completed from a given eBill batch. A good partner will use this information for revenue cycle diagnostics. Doing so helps inform the days to suppress window, or the number of days you should give patients to click on an eBill before sending a new eBill or paper statement. Extending this timeframe does not have a material impact on paper suppression rates, so Health Systems should get patients to engage with their eBills as soon as possible.
Engage patients earlier:
Your partner should offer recommendations on how to accomplish this. At Patientco, we use machine learning to analyze millions of billing interactions to better understand patients. This enables us to make informed changes in how we communicate with patients. As a result, our Health System clients see improved digital engagement and ultimately, more payments. This is what a successful revenue cycle diagnostics strategy looks like.
For example, to ensure patients engage with their eBills quickly, send times should be personalized. Look at when patients are opening their eBills. That data can be used to send future eBills at a time when patients are most likely to open them. For one patient, that may be noon on a Wednesday. For another, that could be 3 p.m. on a Friday. Likewise, our data team understands that eBill messaging matters, too. Since we constantly conduct experiments to understand which factors influence engagement, we can recommend ways to tailor communication for different patient segments. Make sure you partner with a vendor who can do this for you. Small changes can significantly impact patient engagement.
Improved patient engagement correlates to improved payment outcomes. Still, what if certain payment types are lagging?
Fix underperforming payment channels or bill balance segments:
You need a partner who can drill down into your Health System’s payment performance data. Patientco’s customer success team visits clients in-person on a quarterly basis. These quarterly reviews serve as an opportunity to consult with clients. These meetings ensure their revenue cycle is performing at its full potential. By regularly analyzing and presenting that data, your partner can work with your team to uncover opportunities for improvement. Then, determine the actions needed to make those improvements.
These revenue cycle diagnostics activities can include identifying and addressing underperforming payment channels. Your partner can also help gauge the success of your Health System’s flexible payment options. To do this, evaluate enrollment rates for payment plans and financing. Look at how many payment plans are completed, too. Oftentimes, less-than-ideal payment performance stems from the lack of online enrollment for affordable payment options or inflexible business rules.
For many healthcare organizations, patients have to call and request access to flexible payment options, like payment plans. Patients have to admit to staff that they cannot afford their bill, which can be embarrassing for patients. Instead, Health Systems can remove that emotional barrier and offer online enrollment so patients can sign up for affordable payment options on their own. This can pay off for the Health System too, as patient-initiated payment plans are often shorter in length, with higher monthly payments compared to provider-initiated. For one Health System, patient-initiated plans are 40 percent shorter than those initiated by staff. For another, patients pay 44 percent more per month when they enroll in a plan themselves versus if they signed up with assistance from staff.
Prompt staff to offer tailored payment options:
Additionally, when staff propose payment plan options for patients, staff are striving to provide the best customer service possible. This means that staff typically offer patients the lowest possible monthly payment, which can unnecessarily delay revenue for the Health System. Make sure your Health System empowers staff to provide each patient with relevant payment options that fit within their budget and meet your organization’s objectives. This requires dynamic business rules that consider factors like bill balance amount. These rules establish the parameters for flexible payment options. As a result, staff are prompted to offer each patient a payment option that is tailored to their unique financial needs, without sacrificing or delaying dollars for the Health System.
Like a doctor, we want to get you better fast. You should look for a strategic partner who will assist with revenue cycle diagnostics. Your partner should regularly meet with your team to discuss any challenges your Health System is facing. They should also discuss new business objectives. A good partner will be able to read between the data and make meaningful recommendations that enhance your revenue cycle operations and patient financial experience.