The rise in patient pay is not diminishing anytime soon, if ever. In last months’ blog, we listed top patient pay trends we have been watching and ones that you should be too. Now, we are going to list out strategies for engaging with patients to increase the likelihood of payment because of a personalized experience treating the patient as a consumer. There are certain actions that can be taken before and after the patient arrives for service that improve the patient financial experience.
Prior To The Service:
- Use scoring to personalize the experience when determining when and how they will engage and what their repayment behavior will be. Intelligent segmentation of the patient population determines its propensity to pay. By segmenting this population into categories of which segments will be easy or not easy to collect from is helpful for your staff and allows you to use your resources in the most effective way. This segmentation can also navigate them on how best to engage the patient about collecting a payment whether it’s via a phone call, email, paper statement, text, email etc.
- Eliminate surprises. Provide estimates and options before service. Whether you use a bill estimation tool or have staff manually calculate the costs that the patient is liable for, providing this estimate/cost in a patient-friendly manner ahead of the service could result in the patient paying upfront and eliminating surprises post-service.
- Engage the patient with the right communication method. If your intelligent segmentation lists outpatients that may be difficult to collect from, you could have your staff call the patients ahead of time to try to get the payment settled up front. Perhaps some of your patients, such as millennials, would respond better to an email or text. By sending out as much information as possible ahead of time via a preferred communication channel, you increase the likelihood of payment. If you have reminders and notification for upcoming care visits, you could append a link to quickly resolve the impending bill for the service.
After The Service:
- Automate and personalize how you communicate with your patients to reduce collection costs. Similar to the last point above, sending out payment information via communication methods that are preferred by the patient improve the patient experience and the likelihood to collect payment. By automating phone, text and email communications that are tailored with the right message and sent at the right time, you will increase the likelihood of payment since the patient will be more receptive.
- Enable a patient-friendly portal or do-it-yourself technology to easily and quickly collect payments. Most portals that come with an EMR are severely underutilized because they are clunky and not intuitive. Most patients don’t remember their username and password and aren’t willing to go through the measures to retrieve that information to successfully log in. Utilizing a user-friendly portal that takes the patient through a quick, few steps process for payment can improve overall patient satisfaction since the patient was able to resolve their bill without having to spend time on the phone or hunting down a paper trail of bills.
- Offer personalized payment plans. One size does not fit all when it comes to payment plans. In fact, 40% of payment plans are never paid because the plan that was offered was not feasible for the patient. By offering a personalized payment plan that is tailored to the patient’s circumstances, you are giving the patient a greater chance of successfully fulfilling financial obligations.
As more and more consumers are paying out of pocket costs, it’s important to engage with patients as much as possible without being overbearing. Otherwise, the patient will have a negative experience and seek care elsewhere. These strategies have been proven to deliver positive engagement results.