As Q4 2018 approaches, so does an opportunity to take stock of the role you’re playing in your patients’ relationships with their financial obligations.
Despite what some of your metrics might seem to say, lack of motivation isn’t what’s dragging down your self-pay collections. Most of your patients genuinely want to pay their bills and maintain a good financial relationship with you — they just need a little assistance from your end.
Figuring out the best way to support your patients can be complex, but this checklist will help you cover the essentials and get you back on the path to increased cashflows and great patient financial engagement.
Focus on Communication
Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship and your patients’ financial relationship with you is no different.
Keep Bills User-Friendly
A Mad*Pow survey found that almost 61 percent of patients who received bills found them to be confusing or very confusing. If patients don’t understand, they won’t pay, so spend a little time this year rethinking your statement design and how to improve the experience for your patients.
Respect Patient Attention
You observe timely filing deadlines for insurance companies and the same should go for your patients. Getting your first billing communication in front of them as soon as possible (we recommend within 45 days) not only increases the chances you’ll receive payment but also shows you respect their time and attention.
Give Them a Heads Up
Patients have very little insight into your billing process. All they know is that it’s usually less straightforward than what they experience at the banking, retail, and entertainment companies with which they do business. Consider adding a little transparency by letting them know their statement is on the way via text or email. This is also an opportunity to gauge their interest in electronic billing and payment options.
Perfect Your Timing
While it’s a good idea to keep the EOB and bill going out at similar times, you don’t want to pile on any additional communication. Sending other information and requests (like satisfaction surveys) at the same time can leave your patients feeling bombarded. We recommend taking advantage of other windows in the billing process — for example, sending your HCAHPS survey before your first patient statement.
Work Behind the Scenes
Even the best communication needs support. Make sure the behind-the-scenes processes that support your RCM communications are up to par.
Optimize Claims Adjudication Processes
Some denials fly by without so much as a blip on a patient’s radar, but others, like eligibility denials, can send your patients into an unnecessary tailspin of confusion and calls to customer service. Keep your back-end processes patient-friendly with regular audits that will also help boost your revenues.
Run Estimation and Eligibility at POS
The more you know about your patients, the better your communication will be. Running cost estimation and eligibility verification at the time of service for certain service lines (i.e., not the ED) will get your financial relationship off to an optimal start.
Invest in Insights
Helping your patients get better at meeting their obligations is a marathon, not a sprint. Make sure you’re leveraging analytics to maximize your insight and drive optimal outcomes.
Segment Your Patient Population
The days of generic patient communication are long gone. Now, we live in the era of communication that’s customized to individual patient pathways. Segmentation prior to billing (especially when paired with analytics and scoring) is the key to targeted revenue cycle communication.
Measure Your A/R Performance
As you’re making improvements across the board, keep an eye on efficiency issues and opportunities for improvement. A better relationship with your patients should translate into healthier cashflows and improved metrics, so make sure your dashboard is keeping you informed and stay on top of your mission-critical KPIs.
Give Them Options
Today’s patients have a wealth of options in all of their other financial relationships — their healthcare experience shouldn’t be any different.
Get Multiple Contact Details Upfront
If you’re still collecting just one preferred contact method for your patients, you’re missing out on a huge relationship-building opportunity. Your patients’ communication preferences can vary by age, employment status, and even education, so be sure to leverage POS interactions to get the phone, address, email, and text information that will facilitate the diverse communication you need to optimize patient engagement.
Banking and retail, in particular, offer a wide array of financial transaction options to optimize engagement. You have the opportunity to do the same in the form of IVRs, online pay, and even Quick Pay. It’s very likely that your patients, especially the fast-maturing millennials, actually prefer to handle payments with minimal input on your part, so make sure you’re keeping up with their preferences.
Keep in mind that this checklist isn’t just about your patients’ financial experience. The Mad*Pow study also revealed that 56 percent of respondents were hesitant to seek additional care because of their experience with medical bills, a clear reminder that today, the patient financial experience and the overall patient experience are the same.
RevSpring Can Help
Integrated payment communication is part of RevSpring’s DNA. We tailor the payment conversation to influence behavior and inspire action. Our segmentation rules and workflows help you become hyper-focused on the patient, understanding their ability to pay and mapping their financial obligations to repayment pathways.
If you’d like to learn more about our comprehensive patient engagement and billing solutions, we’d love to help you. Request a demo to see how we can help your organization meet its goals.