Millennials are all the rage from a cultural-anthropological perspective, and why not? They are a fascinating group. However, we cannot forget about the Baby Boomers and their marked impact on healthcare revenue cycle today.
The Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, totaling 75 million, which is approximately 30% of the U.S. population. According to an American Hospital Association report, the 65 and over age group will triple between 1980 and 2030. The Boomer demographics will challenge healthcare in very different ways: clinically, financially and socio-politically. According to Pew Research Center approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 daily for the next fourteen years – that is 10,000 new people who are eligible for Medicare, per day! Another important fact about the Boomers is that almost 20% of this population are minorities.
In response to this aging population, revenue cycle management and customer-service techniques will require enhancements to improve the quality of the Boomers' patient-experience. Commercial payers have recently learned that providing the Boomers with a customized, advisory-oriented customer service experience improves patient satisfaction and client retention. It should be no surprise that the same is true for healthcare providers whose goals are retaining patients, attracting new patients and maintaining patient loyalty.
Simply put, provider revenue cycle services must provide the ‘soft–qualitative’ customer service techniques that resonate with Boomers. Consider:
A well trained-educated workforce. Patient account specialists must communicate effectively and efficiently with a focus on resolving the account providing good information in a cheerful professional manner. Also, the proactive ability to escalate issues immediately in order to focus on first-contact/call resolution is paramount.
Accessible customer service. There is a growing need for multilingual and multicultural approaches as well as sensitivity to any physical differences such as hearing loss. Boomers desire:
- Immediate access or at least minimal wait time to customer service
- Comprehensive information regarding the patient statement and payment options
- An accurate, easily-understood patient statement
Self-service solutions, such as elegant, simple-to-use technology available for PC and smartphones. Boomers are tech savvy. They use search engines, apps and patient portals extensively, so long as the technology is valuable to them. The patient portal that allows for easily readable and understandable invoicing, deductibles, insurance payments and patient responsibilty is a tremendous advantage to Boomers, as is, of course, the option to pay online.
Revenue cycle news via email or text messaging. Revenue cycle news can be simply the notification that the commercial payer has paid ‘x’ amount leaving a balance due (list amount) to be paid by a specific date.
As revenue cycle experts, let's help the Boomers maintain their independence and control by meeting their expectations for their entire patient experience, from patient care all the way through to resolution of their account balance.