A good clinical experience followed by a bad billing experience always leaves a patient disappointed. Today, patients are bearing more and more financial responsibilities of their treatments and are very interested to know when, where, how they have to pay. With health issues already being their major problem, patients do not want to be stressed about their medical bills. It is necessary that the healthcare providers focus a little more on ‘Patient Financial Experience’. Every billing statement that is sent to the clients can be used to create a positive brand image on them. It can be a leveraged to show transparency, clarity, fidelity, and flexibility of the firm.
The world is going digital and what better than leveraging this to enhance the patient’s billing experience? Healthcare providers, today, have several tools and methodologies at hand to implement this. Some traditional ways along with some modern techniques can help an organization strategize a perfect financial experience for its customers. Mentioned below are some tips for the same.
Meet the Patients at their Door-Step
To stay in the race, it is very necessary to go digital. Make available digital payment tools for the patients, with which they can pay their bills sitting in the comforts of their home. In today’s day, maximum population owns a smartphone or a computer and has access to the internet. It is beneficial for the healthcare providers to acknowledge this fact and provide digital payment options to their patients.
Educate the Patients
Once the patients are aware of their financial responsibilities, their medical bills come as no surprise to them. This also increases the predictability of the financial dues on the patient’s end. It is a good practice to educate the customers about their medical duties before the start of any treatment process. This helps them to choose between the available options and be prepared in advance.
Estimation at All the Points-of-Care
With a state-of-the-art, reliable system, a firm can generate accurate billing statements at every point in the treatment process; from registration to service delivery to post-treatment care. This develops a sense of involvement in the patients and prevents the impending stress. All the staff members should have the access to the same information, so that whenever a patient enquires, he or she receives the same answer.
To enhance the patient financial experience, it is important to communicate with them effectively. This can be done by leveraging technology to create a patient engagement platform on their preferred communication channels. The system should customize the messages separately for every patient, to provide a patient-centric experience. Implementation of this technique is said to increase patient payments by around 25%.
How easy it would be if the patients could access information about the needed treatment and its billing statements online; more so, if they could select the packages that could fit their financial situation? This would make healthcare very convenient and burden-free for them. Additionally, the features of negotiation as well as customization can be added, to further ease the process and enhance the experience. Colleting the patient’s data can help the health system device a perfect package tailored to fit the patient’s needs.
Keep them updated in Real-Time
The patient financial experience can be further made better by providing the patients with their billing statements in real-time. This will develop in the patients a sense of loyalty and transparency in the services provided by the organization. ‘Price Transparency’ is valued today, more than ever. Having the latest data and updates about the billing statements will ensure faith of the patients in their healthcare provider.
Employ the Right Staff
Once you put your feet in the patient’s shoes, the realization that the patient-facing roles cannot be entry level comes automatically. The billing aspects are as significant as clinical aspects for the patients and they expect likewise from the providers. The staff involved in patient engagement should be properly trained and efficient. All the members should have the access to the right and similar information, so that everyone can provide the same answers to the client’s questions. They should be well informed about every patient’s financial history, insurance coverage, payment process and channels, and the patient’s responsibilities.
Allow them to Rate the Experience
A feedback always helps to find the loophole in the system or the place where the organization is lacking. It ensures continuous improvement. So, how can patients rate their experience? Focus groups and online feedback panels can come to aid here. Using these, patients can talk about their financial experience with the company. Receiving feedbacks after every treatment process can significantly improve the health system as well as the quality of service.
When it comes to the medical billing process, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Healthcare is moving towards providing more affordable and accessible services to the patients. Also, patients are bearing most of the financial burden. And in this landscape, the healthcare providers should pay more attention to their revenue cycle management and come up with ideas to revamp the financial experience they provide to their patients. Today, numerous tools and technologies are available to aid them in this. The catch is to leverage these efficiently to provide sophisticated, flexible, and compassionate services.
–By Aishwarya Nawandhar