March 29, 2018
When we talk about revenue cycle, a yoga studio may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, many components of a revenue cycle, when managed properly, can mirror the flows of a good vinyasa yoga class (“vinyasa” can be translated as “arranging something in a special way”).
Just like any yoga practice, the patient must first warm up to the payment process. This may occur during an office visit using clear communication outlining estimated costs and even discussion of pre-payment options. Collecting and respecting patient communication preferences (do they prefer a call or a text message?) can also help initiate a positive and respectful relationship from the beginning.
Almost half of Americans – 49% – polled by a Kaiser Family Foundation survey in 2017 said they are worried about not being able to afford medical expenses. A well-informed patient is more likely to meet their financial obligations when they are aware of the upcoming bill and payment expectations.
A yoga flow is not a regulated athletic competition. The practice is designed to be flexible and fluid. While one person may opt to hold in downward dog for a few additional breaths, another person may be ready to move into warrior pose. The same philosophy can apply to your patient payment options – be flexible and fluid. Provide options and a structure that allows patients to choose a payment option or financial assistance that is suited for them and generates better payment outcomes and a more positive patient experience.
Instead of delivering an ala carte menu of options, adding analytics and scoring to your patient payment experience is like hiring an experienced yoga instructor who is knowledgeable and can help guide the patient to outcomes that are best suited for their situation. Make sure your first billing communication connects with the patient’s financial situation and likelihood to pay and use design to influence their behavior and optimize access to payment options so that people can access their information and make a payment 24/7.
Just as tree pose requires balance and focus, revenue management solutions hang in the balance of an organization’s financial statements, and the reality that the path to getting a payment is different for every patient. Intelligent payment management systems are designed to set consumers up for financial success by clearly communicating all payment options – and, at the same time, maintain an equilibrium of both the organization’s requirements and the patient’s payment abilities.
Vinyasa is the movement between yoga poses, accompanied by regulated breathing. As your patients transition through phases in your patient revenue cycle, you can aid their movements and payment decisions with communication and payment options.
For example, in a RevSpring study conducted in 2018, 28% of portal payments are made outside of traditional 8-to-5 business hours. When given the option, patients prefer payment methods that accommodate their schedules, such as 24/7 pay-by-phone and online portal payments over traditional mail or a customer service call. Providing a way for patients to pay when the time is right for them increases your collections and makes the patients experience smooth and comfortable.
Namaste is a gesture of honor and respect – a concept that should be baked into every part of the patient experience, especially when the patient owes money. The results of providing an experience that is personable, sincere, and honest is overwhelming. According to an Accenture study, hospitals that offer a superior patient experience tend to have 50% higher margins than their peers. How did they do it? By understanding their patient preferences and needs, and by respecting them with a communication strategy that is transparent and easy to understand.