In our previous blog How Well Do You Understand Your Patients? we mention the importance of understanding patients and providing a more personalized experience. To maximize patient loyalty and growth, providers across the country are focused on providing the best possible experience to their patients. The financial experiences is a significant part of the patient experience and should be addressed throughout the patient journey. This may seem like a daunting task… so to help you get started, we’ve developed a list of goals specific to each patient touchpoint for you to consider:
Start the financial conversation earlier. Extend visibility to patient access staff for more successful conversations
No one likes to be surprised by a bill. Beginning the financial conversation at the point-of-service will eliminate any potential surprises and provide patients with financial options specific to their situation earlier in their journey, which will only increase their ability to pay.
Offer more payment options at the point-of-service.
Patients are familiar with paying for co-payments at the point-of-service… but many would also find it very convenient to pay their balance while on site. There are a few simple ways this can be done:
- Simply notify patients that they have a balance due and ask if they’d like to pay while they are there. If you have an estimation tool – offer the option to pay the balance for the current visit. This saves the patient time and postage for mailed-in payments.
- For patients that have recurring services, suggest an AutoPay plan that will automatically pull payments at or below an agreed amount from a saved credit card or bank account.
Deliver a billing statement that meets their needs and expectations.
Tailor communications on the billing statements to be specific to each patient’s preferences. For example, payment plans should be promoted to those that cannot afford to pay their balance in full and mobile or online payment options should be promoted to patients of a certain demographic, or to patients who’ve adopted electronic payments in the past. Not only will this type of tailored, strategic messaging provide a better experience for patients, it will improve patient payment results for providers.
Provide a better online billing and payment experience.
Patients are unique. Some prefer to put a check in the mail, some prefer pay in their patient portal account, some prefer to pay online without logging in to a portal, some prefer to pay via mobile app, and some want to scan a QR code that takes them directly to a pre-filled payment site. If you are not providing their preferred payment channel, you may be negatively impacting the online experience for a significant number of patients.
Stay top of mind. Offer payment reminders.
Patients are just like you and me; they are busy. As many as 20 percent of patients don’t pay on time simply because they forgot. Most patients want to pay on time – which means missing a payment may add additional stress to their lives. Incorporating payment reminders via email or text will significantly reduce the number of late payments and reduce unnecessary stress for your patients.
Ask for feedback at the end of the patient experience.
Offering a short survey after the financial experience is a simple and effective way to gain insights into satisfaction of the billing process. Regularly monitor results and continue making adjustments to ensure the best possible experience for your patients.
Stay tuned! Throughout the year, we will continue to post blogs and other valuable content pieces to help providers across the country provide the best possible financial experience to patients.