We all know rising healthcare costs impact patients, as concerns about expensive medical bills lead many to avoid or delay necessary care. Health Systems see fewer visits, which means fewer payments and shrinking operating margins. While there is no “silver bullet” to healthcare’s affordability issue, offering a more consumer-friendly payment experience addresses many of today’s challenges. However, legacy payment tools for many Health Systems struggle to support a consumer-friendly experience. These tools were designed for payers, not consumers. This could mean now is the time for your Health System to consider a new patient payment solution.
So, what are the key capabilities you should look for in a new patient payment solution?
1. Payments Should Integrate with your Current Estimator
For one, look for a new patient payment solution that integrates with your Health System’s existing estimator tool. These integrations should be single sign on and exchange data to avoid disrupting your staff’s pre-service workflow.
Your Health System should also complement its estimator tool with self-service payment options. Seek out a solution that supports digital communication via email or text post-estimate. This allows you to convey estimated fees to patients through preferred digital channels and direct them to self-service payment tools. Days to pay is another benefit. Patientco’s Data Team has found that our clients who integrate payments with their estimator tools get paid 10% faster than Health Systems that do not integrate payments with their estimator.
2. It’s Easier on Everyone to Manage Payments within the HIS
You and your team live in your core HIS platform, so shouldn’t you all get the most out of it? Empower your team to fully leverage your HIS, either via integrated payment functionality or by using existing workflows to manage patient payments. This means you should look for a solution with proven HIS integrations. This enables your staff to accept and process payments within the system instead of navigating outside of the HIS, making it easier to assist patients. Avoid purchasing a payments solution that complicates your workflows and forces staff to switch between screens. Patientco helped address this for one client. Their staff can now easily view up-to-date balances and statements, and collect payments from anywhere in the system. No screen switching required. These improvements helped the client reduce overall call length for patients by nearly 40%.
3. Improving Payment Performance Based on Data Requires Real-time Reporting
Your team can make a positive financial impact for your Health System, but they need the right tools. Not only do they need an intuitive payment solution that supports their workflows, they also need real-time performance reports. These reports are even better with gamification features. Gamified reports make it easier to prioritize and track staff achievements against your organization’s goals. With greater performance visibility, you can identify additional training is needed, when it’s needed. After all, training is more effective when it happens in real time. As a result, individuals, teams and even virtual team members are engaged and more motivated to improve revenue cycle management performance.
4. Patients Want to be Engaged Digitally
Seek a solution that supports personalized, digital-first engagement. It’s what patients want. Patientco’s recent survey found that 60% of patients prefer email or text communication, yet almost all providers still use paper mail as their primary method of communication.
Today’s technology makes it possible to engage patients through their preferred digital channels, without sending a paper statement first. In addition to supporting a more modern financial experience, it’s also more secure than mail, as patients verify their identity to view their digital bill. From there, they can immediately access tailored, self-service payment options that fit their budget. Also, because patients receive digital communication like eBills up to six days faster than a mailed statement, Health Systems get paid faster. In fact, after one of our clients went live with Patientco’s Digital-First Billing, they reduced their average days to pay by more than 40%.
5. Patients Want Self-service, Affordable Payment Options
We talk about affordable payment options a lot here at Patientco as it’s a key capability for a successful patient payment strategy. When looking for a new payment solution, implement one with a suite of flexible, affordable payment options that are self-service. The keyword here is self-service. This goes for payment plans, recourse and non-recourse financing and even future scheduled payments. The cost of care is a top concern for many patients, so provide easy access to affordable payment options. If you don’t, your Health System is missing out. Today our clients’ patients have scheduled more than 330,000 payments and these payments are worth nearly $27.5 million. Don’t leave these dollars on the table.
6. You Want to Simplify Managing Patient Payments
Managing and processing patient payments is already complex and implementing new payment technology can seem daunting, especially if you’re a growing Health System. It doesn’t have to be. Look for a payments solution with proven revenue cycle integrations and a certified Payment Facilitator (PayFac). Working with a PayFac means the onboarding, underwriting and configuration process for accepting payments is simple and fast. This will make it easier to roll out patient-friendly payment tools across your enterprise.
If your Health System is considering a new patient payment solution, make sure it includes these functionalities. Lay the foundation for a better patient financial experience to increase patient loyalty and position your Health System for a future with more visits and more payments.