From the moment a patient walks into your clinic or hospital, they’ve already begun to form an opinion about the quality of their experience.
The goal of all healthcare providers should be to deliver patients an experience that lets them know that they are a top priority. The secret to doing so is to meet their expectations, not only with respect to their care, but also when it comes to their financial experience.
Remember, from food delivery to buying a car to healthcare, consumer preferences are rapidly changing. Today’s patients want a streamlined experience that includes everything from fixing an appointment to hassle-free healthcare payments.
They want it to be easy, transparent, and fast—not unlike the Amazons and Netflixes of the world.
Why The Patient Financial Experience Matters
The patient financial experience has far-reaching implications for healthcare providers. It’s directly connected to your organization’s financial health and impacts patient confidence and your overall reputation.
More than ever, focusing on patient satisfaction via the financial experience is essential, as patient payments account for upwards of 35% of provider revenue. Less than 20 years ago, it was only 5%. Without patients who pay, healthcare systems suffer revenue losses and can’t hit net collection rate goals. And although patients want to pay for their healthcare, they also want it to be convenient and easy.
Like an abandoned online shopping cart, patients won’t follow through if it’s not easy. As many as 26% of patients who paid out-of-pocket healthcare costs said they would switch to another provider if the payment experience were better.
8 Strategies to Improve the Patient Financial Experience
With the patient financial experience tied directly to both your organization’s financial health and your patients’ satisfaction, improving it should be a high priority for your organization. Here are eight strategies to help you do exactly that.
1. Engage Early and Often
Every touchpoint of the patient experience matters, especially initial interactions. The earlier you can form a connection, the more likely your patients will be to use the digital payment tools you provide them. Make it incredibly simple for patients to interact and communicate with you, and let them know what to expect every step of the way.
2. Focus On Transparency
Transparency builds trust. This is why doctors discuss procedures in detail and ensure patients understand a recommended course of treatment or care. The same logic applies to patient payments, especially if you imagine the patient as a consumer. Just like consumers want to know how much something costs before they make a purchase, patients need/want to know what their healthcare bill will look like.
Discover how you can ensure financial transparency in three simple steps.
3. Double Down on Personalization
Patients want a provider that is intentional with its communications and intimately familiar with their needs. Do patients prefer emails, texts, calls, or a patient portal? Knowing this information and incorporating it into the patient payment experience can go a long way to building patient loyalty. Remember, 75% of consumers are more likely to make purchases from a company that provides products based on their preferences and history.
4. Commit To Flexible Payment Plans
High deductible health plans translate to rising out-of-pocket costs. Healthcare costs are on the rise, meaning medical bills carry a higher price tag, which many patients can’t afford.
For the University of Kansas Health System, offering extended payment windows through the help of Accessone had an immediate, positive impact on revenue with a recourse rate of less than 10%. Flex repayment plans offer patients the leeway and choice that they need, as well as the privacy and automated installment payments they want.
5. Prioritize Mobile Payments
Healthcare, now more than ever, is all about meeting patients where they are. With respect to treatment, this is now possible thanks to “televisits” and similar services.
This same concept applies to patient payments. Remember, receiving a surprise bill in the mail isn’t conducive to meeting patients where they are. Instead, consider mobile payments. Offering benefits to both patients and providers, mobile payments are the easiest way for patients to pay.
With no need to download an app or even log in, AccessOne MobilePay empowers patients to easily and securely make payments with zero friction. With MobilePay, patients can pay in full, “pay-in-4,” make a partial payment, or opt into an extended payment plan right from their phone. Self-service takes away administrative tasks for a provider’s staff and reduces call center traffic.
6. Emphasize Patient Education
Research shows that when patients are informed about their financial responsibility, they’re more likely to pay. Empowering patients with knowledge about their care and financial responsibility puts them in control and eliminates the fear of the unknown. It is a huge confidence boost that will assist patients as they plan for their medical care and position them to make better decisions regarding their healthcare needs.
7. Upskill Your Staff
Your staff is the bridge between healthcare and the patient.
Equipping them with the resources and knowledge to handle patient inquiries about healthcare payments, as well as their care, is important. Help your staff become more comfortable talking about financial options up front with patients. This will help eliminate uncertainty and boost patient confidence during the early stages of care.
8. Treat Patients Like Consumers
In 2023, providers need to understand that patients are now healthcare consumers. We began the article with this point, and we are going to finish by reinforcing it.
Providers need to be more aware of recent shifts in patient preferences if they want to attract and retain them. Here, data can help. In the same way that Netflix or Amazon collect and analyze consumer data to improve their products and services, providers need to leverage patient data to improve their overall experience.
The greater the patient satisfaction is, the more likely they are to pay for treatment. Here, a seamless digital experience (both in general and with respect to payments) matters: nearly half of healthcare consumers say one single bad digital interaction can ruin their entire experience with a provider.
AccessOne: A Five-Star Patient Financial Experience
AccessOne is dedicated to improving the patient financial experience to provide better outcomes for both providers and patients. We offer a number of solutions that can boost patient satisfaction while helping you more efficiently manage your revenue cycle. Book a demo today, or reach out to speak with a sales team representative.
Want to learn more about how providers across the U.S. are incorporating our patient payments solutions? Check out our client success stories.