Improving the patient experience tops the list of strategic priorities for many healthcare organizations. However, that attention often results in improvements to clinical care or to remodeled patient rooms.
What’s often overlooked is a hospital’s billing and revenue cycle.
With rising patient financial responsibility, people are bringing an empowered sense of "consumerism” to healthcare. Someone facing a significant medical bill is more likely to have high expectations for that experience. And this same person likely loves Amazon’s 1-Click checkout. They expect their hospital to not only be on the cutting edge of medical care, but also deliver a simple, easy-to-read medical bill that they can pay as easily as they do other bills.
Many studies have demonstrated that a patient’s payment experience colors their overall feelings about a hospital stay. As in retail, customer satisfaction is vital as patients begin to exercise greater choice, both in how much to pay and where to go next time. As they say, the last impression is a lasting one.
How to solve this problem? Many innovative providers are already rethinking the role of revenue cycle in overall patient engagement strategies, and are building a blueprint for the rest of the industry. They have discovered that a positive billing and payments experience can impact patient satisfaction and loyalty as well as reduce costs and raise revenue.
Here are three ways that hospitals can empower healthcare consumers through their patient revenue cycle.
Mimic consumer strategies. Online and self-service are mainstream in key industries such as retail, banking, and travel. 58% of consumers prefer self-service banking and 69% prefer to pay their energy bills online. Given the choice of greater transparency and convenience, people will choose self-service—and healthcare billing and payment options should mirror these trends.
Integrate your billing and payment experience. Challenge the traditional view of patient billing by incorporating a modern, clean, jargon-free design focused on driving patients to your website. ValleyCare Health System increased online payments by 2.5X and completely eliminated their early-out collections within 4 months of revamping their self-service payment options.
Optimize for self-service. Can patients quickly and easily find your website and pay their bill online? More the the point, ensure a clear call-to-action on your homepage to capture the inbound flow of patients seeking to make a payment. And once they’re ready to pay, make sure the payment flow is fast, easy, and secure.
Pioneering healthcare leaders are redefining medical billing by engaging their patients as consumers. If you build a system that empowers patients, your patient revenue cycle can quickly become a strategic advantage resulting in happier patients, higher collections, and lower costs.
Tomer Shoval is CEO and a Co-founder of Simplee. A veteran e-commerce leader, Tomer is a frequent speaker on the intersection of healthcare, technology, and consumers. He founded Simplee as a way to help people better understand and manage their healthcare bills.