As patient financial responsibility grows, the patient experience becomes very important in your revenue cycle. Aligning the healthcare revenue cycle with patient needs becomes the key to improving revenue collection and increasing patient volumes.
Here are 3 strategies to consider for your revenue cycle:
1.Personalize Financial Plans and Options
Each patient’s circumstances are unique and require a different approach in terms of financial services and counseling. Some patients can easily afford to pay their bills while others would need payment plans tailored to their ability to pay.
The key to more personalization would be data on patient’s propensity to pay and also data gathered from patient engagement. Providers would then be able to predict the likelihood that patients will pay their out-of-pocket balances.
To achieve this, here are some of the things that a healthcare provider should do:
Estimate patient out-of-pocket obligations.
Verify patient information and benefits eligibility.
Predict the patient’s propensity to pay.
Offer payment plans tailored to each patient’s budget and ability to pay.
When appropriate, offer financial assistance programs especially to the uninsured.
2. Leverage Technology and Build Automated Systems
Eliminating redundant manual processes allows providers to better connect with their patients to resolve financial issues. With automated systems, your staff can focus on patient interaction and communication. Technology can make the revenue cycle management process more efficient and more accurate by reducing missed appointments, verifying insurance information, limiting claims denials, and reducing coding errors.
Healthcare providers need to implement people and technology systems to automate and streamline workflows specific to patient needs. Here are some areas where automation can improve the patient experience:
Prioritizing staff workflow
Preventing eligibility denials
Gathering critical data
Self-pay vendor automation (daily account submission and real-time account adjustments)
3. Align Collection Strategies with Patient Consumerism
Healthcare providers can learn a lot from the techniques used by the retail industry in terms of billing and collections. Consumers are accustomed to flexible payment options, installment plans, and easy-to-understand bills. Consumers also know the price before they purchase services or items. But the key challenge in healthcare has always been clear price information (lack of price transparency).
As patient responsibility increases, understanding the cost of care prior to service will be critical to boosting patient collections. When patients are educated about their financial responsibility and given financial estimates, they are more likely prepared to pay in advance through point-of-service collections.
To be able to transform the collection process, patient should be provided with the following:
Online payment arrangements or online patient financing options
Online (or mobile) bill pay
Price estimates based on the patient’s specific payer information
Guarantor-level billing (family’s statements)
Healthcare providers now rely on their patients as much as their payers with regards to their bottom line. Improving the patient experience and meeting consumer demands will be more crucial to improving the healthcare revenue cycle in the coming days.