January 24, 2020

When Should You Send a Digital or Paper Financial Communication?

Sending digital communications is not a radical, new concept. Most providers use text messages in their appointment reminder processes. However, when it comes to financial communications, 77% of CEOs stated that they still rely on paper as a primary method of communicating financial obligations. In an era of digital connectedness, why are healthcare revenue cycle departments the last ones to make the leap?

“Adding digital channels can be a daunting task, especially when RCM departments have a lot on their plates just trying to keep the ship afloat,” said Sean O’Brien, product manager of omni-channel at RevSpring. “Once executed, there’s also the question of how to measure a digital channel’s success.”

The Answer Lies in “The View of the Patient”

Deciding on when to use a digital or paper channel is not a cut and dry, binary process. While digital is a cheaper, faster, and more effective option, It’s not right for everyone. On the flip side, sending paper-only statements doesn’t provide the speed, flexibility, and convenience that your patients want.

By gaining a clear view of the patient—their behaviors, their financial situation, and their preferences—you can create a healthcare journey that is personalized and impactful to each patient you serve. “Patient data that currently exists in your communication streams is highly valuable,” Sean said. “The challenging part is being able to study and analyze that data in a way that predicts what channel will be most effective. The more we understand patient behavior across the journey the better the experience becomes. And, there is no other way to scale channel decisioning except through an analytics approach.”

So, what are the steps you can take to move toward more effective channel engagement? Below are some suggestions on how to use the data and technology you have today:

  • If most financial communications you send are print, now is the time to start using digital billing reminders. If you’re struggling to get started, click here to learn more about a digital first strategy.
  • Have your patients already provided consent for digital notifications (such as pre-service appointment reminders)? Revisit your consent environment. Make sure your consents are as broad as possible, and document where it starts and stops. Patients want a better relationship with their provider, and you most likely already have their consent.
  • What do you know about the efficacy of your digital communications? Do they work, and do patients respond? Look deeper into the data, beyond the aggregate information, for trends, red flags, and strive to understand why some notifications work and others don’t. Test different messages. The best companies can tell stories from their data, and what a metric means in the context of a patient journey.
  • Create models around predictive analytics. Demographic data can provide general information, but predictive models refine and define when and what channel to use.

The Future is Omni-Channel

The healthcare industry is shifting away from fragmented technology systems and siloed communication funnels. RevSpring offers a holistic, omni-channel solution to remedy these challenges. Our omni-channel solution unifies all your communication channels, automates the task of analyzing and augmenting patient behavior and preference data, and determines when and whether a digital or paper financial communication will be most effective. To learn how we can make your communications work smarter, click here.