May 5, 2020

Smart Statements Speak Volumes to Patients

No two patients are alike, so why should their billing statements be exactly the same? A vast number of variables comprise when, where, how and how much patients pay. Many providers know this and use data to understand as much as possible about their patients’ financial inclinations.

When done right, the result of meshing multiple sources of public information and incorporating thousands of attributes about each individual gives providers ample insight into their patient base. But that information and hard work is wasted if billing statements are not carefully written and designed to connect with individual patients in unique ways that most resonate. Why? A smart statement that is based on precise information empowers patients to pay precisely: what they can, when they should, from anywhere.

Let’s consider the anatomy of a smart statement. Just like a human body, it has many parts and they all must work together to ensure the collective whole functions at maximum peak. And just like a human body, the face is extremely important. Sometimes called the window of the soul, humans are naturally drawn to the face. That’s why a smart statement will use a photo of a person. But not just any person! Ideally, the photo will be similar to the person receiving the statement and, for maximum impact, that person should be engaging in a payment activity that replicates how the recipient likes to pay: with a phone, computer or traditional checkbook.

While a picture is worth a thousand words, a smart statement also carefully uses text, numbers, color and white space to encourage the recipient’s eyes to move over the statement in a particular order. It’s all about understanding human factors for intuitive interactions and, if the statement is digital, fewer clicks.

Research into how people in different age and other demographic groups process information is invaluable in the creation of a smart statement. If the recipient only scans the statement in a few quick seconds, a smart statement will communicate how much is due, by when and how to make the payment as quickly and easily as possible.

Modern and responsive design is a major element in making a statement smart, but the actual text is critical too. That’s another reason why it is important to understand how likely it is that the patient is going to pay their bill. Patients that are deemed less apt to pay might be encouraged to consider financial counseling, while a medium likelihood to pay patient with a low balance would be urged to pay in full.

Using smart statements allows the payment experience to be personalized for every patient—and ensures consistency at every touchpoint, including portals or text and phone messages. Providers find that by using these technique can increase the empathetic nature of their message while still improving their receivables and shortening the time it takes patients to make payments.