Never before has there been such dramatic change as it relates to patient self-pay. Never has it been more talked about, more challenging, or more critical to the overall experience the patient has with your facility. From a financial responsibility standpoint, the shift has been seismic. Patients are paying more out of pocket than ever before, and that share continues to grow.
Understanding how patients pay is essential in order to offer them the best, most appropriate financial experience. Inside your data are the keys to their financial needs, likely behaviors and preferences. Understanding how to turn that data into insight will help you tailor your financial conversations to boost patient satisfaction, improve financial performance, and protect future revenue.
Here are some ways healthcare providers can use analytics to leverage often overlooked patient demographic, behavioral and financial data to personalize and optimize the patient financial experience.
Gather the data that tells you how your patients pay
Your facility is collecting data - but are you connecting the dots to build financial understanding of your patients? You gather data at many touch points throughout the revenue cycle. It all starts with basic demographic data at or before their first appointment: age, residence, marital status, and insurance – so you have an understanding of patient responsibility.
A lot of that data is captured in your practice management system. Other data can be acquired through front desk or phone interactions throughout the patient revenue cycle – obtaining more specific information that reveals patient needs and preference.
- Technology preferences
- Financial needs
- Payment options
Segment patients to build profiles
To really get an understanding of your patients, you can combine this data with internal and external behavioral data to create common patient profiles that enable you to tailor your patient financial communications.
- Behavior and lifestyle characteristics by generation
- Household composition (single, married, # of kids, parents living with kids, etc.)
- Technology use or propensity
- Balance due and payment history
- Propensity to pay
Transform what you know into understanding through Analytics
Tracking patient payment activity and estatement adoption by segment will help you understand patterns that provide insight into where opportunities lie to improve communication, patient experience, and financial performance.
For example, you may see that a high percentage of patients are of relatively low income, use technology at a higher than average rate, and a majority are families who bear the burden of healthcare expense for many individuals. In this scenario, you might want to promote electronic communication options, like patient etatements and mobile pay, and also promote payment plans early in the healthcare billing cycle to fit their needs.
Develop a communication strategy and measure satisfaction
After analyzing patient segments and determining where your opportunities lie, develop a communication strategy. To provide patients with a sense that “you know them,” communications should be consistent through the revenue cycle, from encounter to encounter, and regardless of channel – whether it’s a printed statement, a text, an online payment experience, or a call to patient services.
And there’s no better way to tailor the financial experience than to capture the voice of the patient. Ask them about their experience – and document their preferences. Patient satisfaction surveys shouldn’t be limited to the care experience. Provide each patient with the opportunity to give their feedback after a payment is made. Use this supplementary data to further segment your patients and adjust your strategy to better fit each patient’s needs - or as we say, Fit the Payment to the Patient™.
If you are interested in learning more, watch our Free Webinar in cooperation with HIMSS Media.