By David Law, Chief Client Officer for Zotec Partners
We’ve all had consumer experiences that have stood out—for both good and bad reasons. Some experiences leave us feeling accomplished and invigorated, while others drag us down, leaving a negative impression. That is why patients now have the power and expect a retail-like technology experience for their healthcare needs packaged with care — a personalized and empathic approach.
Today’s consumers are savvy and smart, expecting more, faster than before. Patients are no different—they want a supportive, uncomplicated, and empathetic experience, from clinical care to bill care. Although provider and financial experiences are composed of very different processes, the two should appear to the patient seamlessly and feel like a continuation of care.
Healthcare professionals provide the best clinical care to patients but often relegate the financial experience which can lack cohesion and coordinated planning. For this reason, establishing a trusted partnership with a revenue cycle manager is essential for maximizing and enhancing the business of bringing continued care to the patient healthcare experience.
The billing process is traditionally where the partnership begins between provider and the revenue cycle company to provide enhanced patient experiences. Working together they are focused on paying attention to every patient and medical claim with the goal of ensuring all parties receive correct information to file clean claims and secure payment. And not only does this create more patient satisfaction, but it also maximizes physician revenue and can help organizations reduce their bad debt from the self-pay patient population.
Successful RCM firms are now adapting the billing process to center around patient experiences, which actually begins prior to the patient even seeing their healthcare provider. The bill care experience is the only exposure patients have in healthcare to someone who is not related to their clinical treatment or care, so it’s an essential portion of the care continuum. Expanding the way providers and RCMs interact with patients, including when and how frequently is directly related to getting paid appropriately and building trust among patients and providers.
Follow these three key steps to improve your patient bill care experience:
1. Keep it simple
If you consider the best consumer experiences, you might think of Uber, Amazon, Google and Starbucks as exceptional examples. As so much responsibility for healthcare dollars shift to consumers, these companies have greatly influenced Zotec’s Patient Bill Care Solutions.
Patients want simple solutions that give them a frustration-free medical bill payment process anytime, anywhere or any way. They expect mobile-friendly applications that enable appointment scheduling, registration, and consent to be completed remotely from their mobile phone or tablet, offering greater consumer convenience.
Providers don’t need several platforms or bolt-on technologies to deliver an extraordinary patient experience when one comprehensive solution already exists. Zotec’s Patient Bill Care Solution is a one-stop process enabling users to schedule, register, collect demographic info, insurance, guarantor, provide eligibility and estimation, collect general consent, clinical consent, and any other pertinent medical history.
Zotec has developed the industry’s most high-tech revenue cycle tools that enable providers and patients with straightforward and seamless tools. Our solution places patients at the center of their healthcare financial encounter– empowering them to manage their entire bill care experience with one simple yet complete solution.
2. Empower with price transparency
According to Kaiser Family Foundation, employers continue to offer more and more high-deductible health plans. Employees take on a more significant share of healthcare expenses—combined with the high unemployment rate, the reality of newfound financial responsibility is daunting for patients.
On top of the added financial burden, the U.S. has a highly complex and often confusing healthcare system for patients to navigate. Further research suggests that up to 40% of patients don’t pay their bills because they don’t understand them.
For providers, ensuring bills are applied appropriately and making sure it’s timely, transparent and convenient for patients to make a payment is key to maximizing revenue and decreasing bad debt. Implementing revenue cycle solutions with up-front cost estimates and eligibility can give patients greater clarity, decrease frustration and create accountability for out-of-pocket expenses.
As patients are more accountable for their bills, providers haven’t completely reduced friction around payments due to the lack of price transparency. In 2020, Zotec conducted a survey with nearly 200 Becker’s Healthcare readers that revealed that less than 60% of providers are using cost estimations.
With price transparency, patients become empowered in the financial decision-making process, which will result in better payment and satisfaction outcomes.
3. Drive engagement with personalization
Providing patients with the personalized experience they prefer creates loyalty. Giving patients access to multiple options with transparent information at their fingertips will ultimately build trust and confidence around paying bills.
First, providers must understand how patients want their interactions. It’s like asking your patients which arm they want their flu shot or COVID vaccine in, right? Understanding how your patients interact shows you are listening to them.
Zotec uses predictive analytics and user preferences to create a customized experience for patients. From tailored payment options to personalized communication methods, revenue cycle solutions should enhance the bill care experience.
Providers should ask patients what their preferences are for payments and communications. Gone are the days of only offering snail mail as a bill solution. We now have the technology, data, and know-how to provide patients with what they want – from emailing, texting and chatting, patients have more options and choices that are suited to their preferences.
In the Zotec study completed last year, respondents disclosed that less than 63% of providers offer follow-up communication with patients. There’s enormous potential here for providers to engage with patients and drive a more engaging, seamless and simple bill care experience.
To set your organization up for the future with a competitive edge, focus operations on the patient-centric experience. Meeting them where they are for care (both clinical and billing) and giving them an empathetic, customized financial engagement will put you ahead of the game.
To explore what Zotec’s end-to-end revenue cycle and industry-changing patient bill care solutions can do for your healthcare organization, visit us here.