June 26, 2018

Patients as Consumers — Adopting the Amazon Model

For healthcare organizations, it may be time to take a closer look at consumers and their engagement expectations. Think patients aren’t the same as consumers? That’s risky, especially when patient receivables make up a larger (and larger) portion of a healthcare system’s total revenue pie. In fact, self-pay and self-pay with insurance account balances have increased in number and value, reaching 25 percent of total receivables in 2016 and projected to exceed 30 percent in 2018.

Beyond Customer Service — Retailing Healthcare
Superior customer service once set the bar for engagement excellence, but Amazon upped the engagement ante. Consumers now expect a list of healthcare engagement “amenities” that feel more like online shopping experiences than healthcare necessities. In healthcare’s case, engagement excellence is in the eye of the bill-paying beholder.

Healthcare engagement includes personalization, price and quality transparency, customer loyalty, operational excellence, tech-forward (predictive) engagement, automated bill payment, one-click checkout, and of course, customer service and satisfaction. These engagement musts are chapters from a consumer-obsessed Amazonian playbook, and they’re on your patients’ expectation wish list.

How does the Amazon experience impact healthcare? Remember, patients are consumers, and they want to engage with consumer-obsessed healthcare retailers.

Healthcare’s Affordability Challenge Sets Consumer Expectations
Patients are responsible for a growing share of their healthcare costs. Even patients covered by healthcare insurance report that care affordability is deteriorating. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, care costs are on the rise. From 2015 to 2017, premium costs rose from 27 to 37 percent, deductibles increased from 34 to 43 percent, and copay and prescription drug costs rose from 24 to 31 percent.

As Care Affordability Deteriorates, Service Expectations Rise
Studies show that customers respond to personalized engagement. Your patients want an Amazon-like experience, complete with electronic outreach, price transparency, operational excellence, and patient-focused (dare we say patient-obsessed) engagement before, during, and after the “sale.” Patients may not always have the ability to choose their healthcare providers or service locations, but their experience dictates their likelihood of responding to payment requests.

Beyond payment, research shows an enhanced patient experience reduces provider exposure to liability, increases care instruction compliance, and positively impacts a physician’s reputation in the care community.

Delivering tailored experiences also drives customer loyalty, with 70 percent of consumers saying a service provider’s understanding of their individual needs influences their loyalty, and 69 percent saying the same of personalized care.

Adopting the Amazon Model — Take a Consumer-Obsessed Approach
According to Forrester Research, organizations that put the customer at the center of their processes, policies, and practices successfully develop and deliver the experiences that customers are ready to embrace — and that includes bill payment. That’s good news for recognizing on-time payments and reaching accounts receivable conversion goals.

From the front desk to the back office, patients want consistent engagement experiences — including financial interactions. Look for patient outreach solutions that deliver comprehensive, cohesive, and tailored financial experiences that provide pricing transparency at every engagement touch point.

Blend consistent, high-quality care delivery with tailored engagement to improve payment response, increase patient satisfaction, and deliver a patient-obsessed experience.

In an upcoming blog post, Three Ways to Deliver a Patient-Obsessed Experience, we’ll guide you through three Amazon-like outreach solutions that will help you engage patients like a retail ninja.

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 the patient’s ability to pay and mapping his or her 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. Stop by Booth #225 at the HFMA Annual Conference in Las Vegas from June 24-27 or request a demo to see how we can help your organization meet its goals.