Putting the Patient at the Center of Your Self Pay Strategy, Part 3
- (As reported recently by Health Data Management) In its fourth annual report on trends in healthcare consumer payments, claims clearinghouse InstaMed finds stark evidence of the growing impact of high deductible health plans on the industry. Consumers are receiving more health care bills and paying larger amounts.
- Analysis of the data during 2013 shows that the annual number of patient payments to providers rose 72 percent between 2011 and 2013, and the average payment of $110.86 in 2011 increased 20 percent to $133.15 in 2013.
- An InstaMed survey of providers that complements the data analysis shows 67 percent of respondents saw an increase in patient payment responsibility in 2013. Forty-two percent of providers did not know patient responsibility during the visit, 76 percent said it takes more than a month to collect from a patient and 56 percent pegged collections as the top revenue cycle concern.
With statistics like these further revealing the rapid move toward significantly increased patient payment responsibility—and the revenue cycle threat that exists as a result—providers should immediately evaluate their processes, procedures and systems to see where improvements can be made. Improvements that will soften the blow and improve the experience for their patients, and increase the likelihood that those patients (now consumers in a very real sense) will continue to seek care at their organizations.
We previously examined the benefits of highly functioning patient portals and patient-friendly statements in our previous two blogs. Now in Part 3, let’s take a look at the benefits of automated dialing technology.
Once you’ve sent the statement, follow up is vital. For every 30 days an account ages, your chance of collecting drops by as much as 50%. By the fourth statement, you’re down to a 6% likelihood of payment. Yet even the largest providers often don’t have sufficient personnel to implement and carry out a successful follow-up, patient-outreach strategy. This is where proactive, predictive dialing technology can literally save the day. Whereas conventional, manual dialing methods allow for fewer than 100 patient touches per day, an automated dialing system can help you get through thousands per day.
Proactive follow up helps to educate patients about their recent care and associated charges, resolve outstanding financial issues and commitments quickly, and deliver positive results and a real patient service opportunity for the provider. Automated technology can be customized to meet the requirements of any size organization and, should you not have the appropriate staffing levels necessary to fully capitalize on its potential, outside revenue cycle management firms adept in this technology can be brought in to ensure personal contact for incoming patient calls.
Automated dialing technology has undergone significant improvement in recent years and we believe it’s one of the best things a provider can do to ensure continued positive relationships with patients.
So there you have it. Patient financial responsibility is increasing in a very large way. Providers who view them as consumers as well as patients and implement technology solutions such as patient portals, patient-friendly statements and automated-dialing technology to enhance their experience, will have a much greater chance of having those patient/consumers return for care in the future.