Insurance reform and the resulting shift toward patients as payers is now the biggest obstacle to both timely payment and overall payment rates. Roughly half of Americans rely on employer-sponsored health insurance, but a decade of high inflation in health benefits costs have forced employers to reduce their contribution. The result is an industry where providers, who are mainly equipped for a revenue cycle oriented around a handful of large payers, now have to manage many small payers who are accustomed to a digital, retail-like consumer payment process.
A lack of clarity in billing and inadequate patient communications, reduces the likelihood that a patient will pay in a timely manner. More alarmingly, a poor healthcare financial experience negatively affects how and when patients choose to receive care. If patients are worried about managing medical bills alongside their other household financial responsibilities, they may be tempted to delay or forego care. If making payments is time-consuming, they may put off dealing with bills. If their provider doesn’t offer convenient tools to help with financing, such as financing programs, payment plans and mobile payments, patients may jump ship to a provider that does. A study by Medical Economics reported patients would consider switching providers for a better financial experience, which could cost healthcare organizations up to 10% of their revenue.
To better adapt to the new realities of patient-financed healthcare, providers must embrace digital engagement strategies and tools that put individual patients in greater control of their own care, improve their experience and encourage active management of their healthcare financial responsibilities.
Patients are consumers who have grown accustomed to easy digital management of their myriad other accounts whether it be for banking, insurance, retail shopping and so on. From a digital payment experience, patients expect:
- Memorable experiences: Patients want favorable memories about the quality of the healthcare payment experience because it affects future decisions to continue care and which provider to select.
- immediate satisfaction: They expect digital communication, such as text and email about their medical bills, and effortless, self-service, mobile-optimized payment options and payment plans they can afford.
- Anywhere, real-time access: Patients want immediate access from their laptop or smartphone to make a payment anytime, anywhere 24/7.
- Personalized experience: They expect a familiar retail-like payment experience that is structured, easy-to-use and provides the environment to choose the communication channel, payment type and payment plan that best meets their needs.
Enabling a digital payment experience for patients offers a host of benefits to providers, too. Consider just a few of the many benefits:
- Faster payments and improved collection rates:
- Simply by facilitating digital billing notifications, 44% of patients pay medical bills faster
- Providers using iVitaFi’s MyPlan digital payment platform report a 30% increase in overall collection rates
- Reduced workload from self-service: In the current tight labor market, digital tools like mobile payments, self-enrollment in payment plans and financing programs, and financial communication can alleviate some of the patient-experience burden for overworked staff.
- Time savings from payment systems integration: Integrating a digital payment solution with the provider’s business systems enables seamless communication with other components of its technology stack. When payments are connected to electronic health records (EHR) systems, staff will spend less time reconciling various platforms and entering information manually. This allows them to allocate significantly fewer hours to billing and achieve better revenue outcomes and patient experiences. Providers can save, on average, time equivalent to that of two full-time employees through the automation of administrative tasks.
Providers need efficient, easy-to-implement solutions to reorient billing around individual patients. iVitaFi MyPlan is a digital patient payment solution that goes beyond just patient payments. MyPlan helps healthcare leaders solve for their toughest patient collection challenges, such as driving digital transformation, addressing staffing shortages, making quality healthcare more affordable and accessible, and lowering costs to collect.
In our next blog, we’ll take a closer look at how MyPlan helps ease administrative burdens and alleviate the pressure from staffing shortages.
Contact iVitaFi today to discuss ways your organization can improve patient payments. We look forward to helping you improve cash collections and the patient financial experience.