Shifting your views to understand patients as consumers in the healthcare industry can take some getting used to. While there are practical ways to apply patient data and behavior analysis to the revenue cycle, it can be helpful to take a step back and look at the forces that are driving this shift to consumerism in healthcare.
Gaining a better understanding of your patients’ motivations and preferences will help you respond with smart, efficient solutions that will propel your revenue cycle and patient financial engagement initiatives ahead of the ever-changing healthcare ecosystem.
Let’s take a look at three of the most prominent forces shaping consumerism for your patients.
1. Owning Their Journey
With out-of-pocket costs rising, and treatment options becoming more sophisticated every day, your patients have every reason to take on more ownership of their healthcare decisions. This desire isn’t just coming from the healthcare space.
Every industry, from retail to dining, is priming your patients to take control, ask more questions, and demand more transparency. For your revenue cycle, this means you’ll need to provide more sophisticated payment options, better healthcare financial literacy resources, and tools that empower patients in their growing demands to control how they invest their healthcare dollars.
2. The Push Toward Localization
Healthcare is an inherently local relationship, and many providers take this for granted. If you looked at many hospital’s approaches to patient engagement and revenue cycle communications, you might not be able to tell a facility in Fernandina Beach, Florida from one in Anchorage, Alaska.
While population health is pushing many organizations to understand local trends on the clinical side, the revenue cycle needs to catch up. The trick to staying in line with patient consumer expectations is understanding that successful localization is all about finding balance between which elements of your business should be localized and which function better from a standardized approach.
Your patients will expect fine-tuning in this area, so be prepared to apply preferences to your local demographics in smart ways. For example, your patients might respond positively to online payment and negotiation options that are standardized across the health system, while preferring their print statements to feature more local identifiers, like a photo of the facility.
3. The Pull of Digital Integration
Retail has spent the last couple of years breaking out of a digital discovery period and learning how to integrate digital technologies into mainstream retail experiences — with an emphasis on the “experience.” They no longer think “store vs. web” and instead are priming their consumers to expect holistic interactions that give them more control and more ways to shop.
Inevitably, your patients bring those expectations along with them. For retail, this has meant the need to grow past an obsession with new ideas and technologies and adopt a willingness to revisit and review older systems and procedures.
In healthcare, this translates to fighting the urge to dump an IVR in favor of online payment options, and instead center the patient perspective to find a place for both traditional and new patient engagement technologies in shaping productive patient financial experiences.
Quality and results will always set healthcare apart, but patients are clamoring for more. McKinsey’s 2017 Consumer Health Insights Survey revealed that the desire to be better healthcare consumers was a key patient driver. Revenue cycle leaders have unprecedented opportunity to connect with these desires and align their offerings in ways that improve outcomes for everyone involved.
RevSpring Can Help
RevSpring is a leader in patient communication and payment systems that tailor engagement touch points to maximize revenue opportunities in acute and ambulatory settings. Since 1981, RevSpring has built the industry’s most comprehensive and impactful suite of patient engagement, communications and payment pathways backed by behavior analysis, propensity-to-pay scoring, intelligent design and user experience best practices.
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.