Technology – we rely on it 24/7 in our personal lives, but how often are you utilizing it in your revenue management cycles? Are you missing out on opportunities to improve cash performance? A quote from B.F. Skinner says it best – “The real problem is not whether machines think, but whether men do.”Here are 4 ways that self pay technologies can boost your cash performance and the patient experience:
Online Patient Portals
Many of us can relate to rushing to try to take care of our personal matters outside of our work hours. We sit on hold during our lunch break and take personal time away from work in order to handle our affairs. It can be a struggle to find the time to fit it all into our busy lives. It’s much easier to pay a bill when you can access it at your own convenience. And what happens when it’s easier to pay? More patients make payment! 93% of patients would prefer to pay their healthcare bills through the provider portal and nine out of 10 patients would prefer to pay their healthcare bills online.
Why not make it easy for your patients to access their billing information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? Online patient portals can do just that. They also have other capabilities that can make revenue cycle processes much more efficient. For example, a patient could update their address or insurance information online instead of calling to do so by phone. They could also set up their own payment plan and request a new copy of a statement without needing to call to do so by phone.
43% of consumers reported that having multiple ways to pay bills would increase overall satisfaction, and 42% of consumers will use a different way to pay the same bill than they did the month before.
Payment Inbound Voice Response System (IVR)
Some patients are less inclined to use the internet and prefer to pick up the phone and make a call. However, they often encounter the same obstacles mentioned above. The patient is limited to call and speak with a representative during standard business hours, oftentimes while they themselves are at work. Payment IVRs are available 24/7 so that patients can pay at their personal convenience. They’re incredibly easy to use and directions can even be included with your patient statements! In addition to the convenience factor, your organization will collect more self pay dollars, and free up the phone lines for those patients who have a pressing concern with their bill.
Outbound Call Strategies & Propensity to Pay Technology
Let’s face it; things happen. Statements are mistaken for junk mail or stuffed into a mail basket and forgotten. Sometimes they’re not received at all due to a recent change of address. This is why it’s crucial to reach out to your patients by making a phone call to check in with them regarding their account balance and offer the convenience of a quick payment by phone. Reach out to your patients and offer them a resolution to their account rather than waiting for them to contact you. Build a workflow for patient contacts to optimize your resources.
Along with the forgotten bills, sometimes patients simply forget to take care of their balance. Maybe they don’t have the means to make a payment due to financial hardship. Perhaps they just generally tend to disregard incoming statements. Using propensity to pay technology can help identify those patient populations and define a strategy to manage those accounts.
Why spend precious manual resources making 6-10 phone calls to a patient who will not respond or make payment when you could be calling the patient who simply needs a gentle reminder to make a payment?
Strategizing your outbound call efforts will allow you to utilize your people in the most efficient and productive manner possible.
Also, many patients are grateful for a gentle phone call reminder because it prevents them from ending up with a bad debt agency. Propensity to pay technology can help you reach out to the patients who want to make payment. Without strategic efforts to contact these patients, revenue opportunities will be lost.
Per the American Hospital Association's annual financial report, in 2015, $35.7 billion dollars worth of hospital care was uncompensated. This includes bad debt, financial assistance and patients balances that simply went unpaid.
Even for the best providers and revenue offices, some accounts may slip through the cracks. It’s too late to collect on them and timeliness adjustments then have to be made, which equates to more lost revenue opportunities. You can proactively avoid this situation by having robust reporting software to bring light to any accounts that could be missed by standard workflows. Find a technology partner who will help you create custom reports and deliver them straight to your inbox. Some of the important key performance indicators to track include adjustments, bad debt placements, age of inventory, call metrics and call outcomes. Make sure that they have the tools needed to prevent lost AR. Missed or lost revenue opportunities can put your organization’s financial performance at risk. Be proactive and take the time to focus on areas of revenue opportunity.
The Bottom Line
The first step in implementing any new technology into your patient pay program is to create a thoughtful and strategic workflow in lock-step with the other departments in your facility. Once implemented, the right touch will enhance the efficiency of your resources while you profit from a greater return. Your patients will profit from the added convenience to the overall patient financial experience.