May 24, 2021

Personalized Information Leads to Empowered Patients

RevSpring dedicates a blog post each month to explore what matters most in healthcare engagement and payments. Last month we focused on Uncomplicating Patient Engagement.” Here we explore “Empowerment,” which is about providing patients and employees with personalized information that allows them to make the best decisions.

In the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy of Kansas learns she “had the power all along” to get back home. This surprising fact is shared with her after a long and painstaking journey. She learned a lot but had to guess many times when making important decisions. Eventually, she found her way and gained confidence. In essence, Dorothy became empowered in her quest to meet the “great and powerful” Wizard, and that empowerment—not the Wizard—was her ticket home.

While Hollywood movies take a lot of liberties with reality, this story’s basic message rings true in healthcare financial management—as long as savvy providers make it easy for patients and staff to become empowered. Rather than forcing them on a tortuous journey to obtain the information they need to make decisions or do their jobs, vital personalized information should be available everywhere to everyone, making it uncomplicated.

Personalized + Uncomplicated = Empowerment

There’s a lot of talk about empowerment these days—in public policy discussions, psychology and even management trends. But most everyone seems to agree that empowerment cannot be bestowed; it’s more about creating conditions that make it possible for people to take responsibility for themselves. Providing personalized information that is uncomplicated and that leads to empowerment in healthcare can include:

  • Price estimates that are easy to understand and reflect a patient’s unique insurance co-pays and deductibles
  • Appointment reminders with the option to pay each patient’s specific insurance co-pay amount
  • Statements delivered using the method preferred by each patient
  • Payment options based on each patient’s personal financial situation

Pushing the Oz metaphor just a bit further, imagine a “road” paved with personalized patient financial information instead of yellow bricks. And instead of meeting clueless characters along the way, our Dorothy encounters well-informed and helpful employees—front office staff, customer service reps and revenue cycle management team members—that help her see her healthcare costs and payment options clearly because they, too, have access to current personalized data about her unique financial journey.

Glinda the Good Witch could not bestow empowerment upon Dorothy. Glinda simply let Dorothy know she had the power herself. It’s the same with your patients and employees. If you provide clear, personalized information, they will be empowered to make the best choices according to their varying needs and financial means. If the information you provide is uncomplicated (i.e., consistent and coordinated throughout the journey, and presenting the best options for each individual), it’s fast and easy for patients to act. None of this will require wizards or fairies, but patients will be able to manage their financial obligations effectively and your organization will achieve multiple financial goals in the process.

For more on empowerment, read our white paper: Patients Are People, Too.