Patients are responsible for significant portions of their healthcare bills. There is a rise in high-deductible health plans and healthcare costs. Many organizations want to engage patients in financial conversations and collect timely payments. Organizations need to have processes in place to educate patients and capture revenue. Those processes need to be punctual and patient-centered. It would help to improve patient satisfaction and retention.
What is the definition of patient engagement?
Patient engagement ensures that patients and providers collaborate to improve the patient’s health. Providers must empower patients to have a voice in their healthcare experience. They must allow patients to become engaged. It means making decisions about their illnesses, expenses, and treatment options.
Importance of patient financial engagement:
It is critical for a patient to feel engaged throughout the revenue cycle. Patients who engage in their financial decisions are more in control. It builds trust in providers and healthcare facilities. Patients unsure about their expenses may need to pay more attention to treatment. Providers must interact with patients to make them understand their financial responsibilities. Engagement allows patients to compare costs and make treatment decisions. It results in less financial stress and a more positive patient experience.
A positive financial experience increases the likelihood of timely payment for medical services. It promotes patient retention and increases referrals. It also helps patients understand medical billing. A negative financial experience reduces patient satisfaction. It reflects poorly on providers and their facilities. It also reduces patient loyalty and retention.
Top strategies for boosting patient financial engagement:
The consumer journey will be smoother if providers have a strong strategy. This strategy will also help providers collect more money. It will increase staff productivity and improve patient satisfaction. Here are three methods for increasing patient financial engagement in healthcare organizations.
Accept all digital payments:
Many consumers prefer digital payment platforms for both safety and convenience. Patients like to use credit/debit cards and digital token wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. They want to pay with their phone or other mobile devices online. They are willing to download apps and create an online account. The majority of consumers wish for electronic payment options as they are more accessible. Giving patients access to these options increases their financial involvement.
Enforcing Digital Payments:
Digital payments must be available at every interaction point. Providing a mobile check-in followed by a paper bill will create an inconsistent experience. It can affect patient satisfaction. Here are some pointers for enforcing digital payments throughout your institution.
Accept all forms of electronic payment:
Each patient has different priorities. You should accept all payment methods. However, this will help you include patients who prefer to use Apple Pay or an HSA debit card.
Allow any payment channel:
Patients have choices for where they want to pay. Some patients prefer to pay their expenses through their bank’s bill pay portal. Some may place support on their health plan’s online member portals. You must consider how to enable the various consumer-driven channels.
Make use of electronic communications:
They encourage the use of digital payment methods. eStatements encourage patients to make online payments. It helps you to save money on printing and mailing. They can motivate patients to pay by providing a link to your online payment system. It would give an even more complete digital experience. Apart from this, you can use a check stub maker to keep everything online and paper free.
Consider healthcare-specific partners:
The healthcare industry has distinct characteristics that make payments and reconciliation difficult. You should keep these complexities in mind when enabling new payment channels. You’ll want to broaden payment options without adding to your staff’s operational burden. Moreover, you must ensure proper security and compliance. You should consider healthcare-specific payment vendors when creating your digital payment strategy.
Using financial advisors:
Monetary advocates meet with patients as soon as possible. They estimate payer coverage and out-of-pocket costs. Patient financial advocacy assists patients in meeting their financial obligations. Thus, this includes identifying, verifying eligibility, and connecting uninsured patients to public benefits programs. It can mean finding supplemental insurance or ways to cover out-of-pocket expenses. The financial advisors of the patient should aim to:
• Provide hospitals with accurate financial data for each clinical meeting.
• Moreover, it’s vital to Identify appropriate resources to assist patients in paying their bills.
• Ensure that providers get paid for all services provided.
The role of advocacy is critical, mainly when serving financially vulnerable populations. There are many reasons for providing patient financial advocacy services. They improve the economic experience of patients. They also improve a hospital’s bottom line by securing revenue. They can improve cash flow by increasing refunds.
Moreover, they help reduce bad debt and ease the burden of charity care. Financial advocacy shifts a hospital’s focus to patient engagement. It aids in meeting the price transparency mandate. They shift the financial conversations from the back end of the revenue cycle to the front end. Significantly, they contribute to a patient-centered experience. It supports loyalty and improves a hospital’s reputation in the community.
Send Out Compact Billing Statements:
The patient experience does not have to be a tricky one. Sending one bill is better than sending many bills for the various services induced. Do this across your healthcare organization’s units and locations. You can also combine invoices from different family members. For example, even if the visits were on other dates, send a bill for services rendered. Because there is only one bill to manage, all payments are made in one place. It helps to streamline collections. Make sure you take care to avoid interfering with current methods.
Above all, work with a vendor who can merge billing without interfering with your business. Consolidation can improve your brand’s presence and recognition. Besides, it will assist in business processes. Your patients will perceive your healthcare organization as a single entity. They will acknowledge the simple and convenient payment options.
Financial engagement with patients entails more than explaining medical expenses. It is about empowering patients to be active participants in their medical journey. Digital payments and patient portals make engagement more convenient. They also inform patients about charges and balances. Revenue cycle management technologies empower patients to take control of their healthcare journey. Providers and payers can help with engagement by providing compact bills. It satisfies the patient while paying the provider.