The best way for healthcare leaders to add value to both their organization and patients is to evaluate front- and back-end decisions. The most impactful strategies will improve patient engagement and affect the organization in the long term.
“One of the best ways to ensure this longevity and success is to improve patient engagement as an organizing principle while considering improvement strategies.”
Automation has the potential to impact various facets of patient engagement. Patient engagement is essential for organization viability, efficiency, and the bottom line. So, why are automation and improved patient engagement so crucial to achieving improved health outcomes, better patient care, and lower costs? How will automation affect patient engagement and your organization’s overall strategy and efficiency?
Automation in Healthcare
Automation likely affects almost all jobs and how organizations operate on a day-to-day basis.
Healthcare has a technical potential for automation of approximately 36 percent. Technical potential refers to the potential that a given task could be automated by utilizing currently established technologies. The technical potential for health professionals whose occupations require clinical expertise and direct contact with patients is significantly lower. It is estimated that less than 30 percent of a registered nurse’s activities could be automated, and for dental hygienists the estimation drops to 13 percent. Occupations requiring less expertise and more data-focused tasks have a higher potential for automation.
For example, the financial sector has the technical potential to automate activities taking up 43 percent of its workers’ time, and mortgage brokers spend as much as 90 percent of their time processing applications.
“Putting in place more sophisticated verification processes for documents and credit applications could reduce that proportion to just above 60 percent. This would free up mortgage advisers to focus more time on advising clients rather than routine processing. Both the customer and the mortgage institution get greater value.”
Healthcare leaders should identify where automation can be implemented to improve their organization. The main goal is to target areas where automation can not only reduce labor costs, but also increase productivity through error reduction and improving quality of care and efficiency. The benefits of automation in the finance and mortgage sectors can easily translate into healthcare, specifically the issue of offering patient self-pay.
The rise of automation can help healthcare organizations address the struggle of procuring payment from patients and reliance on snail mail or collections agencies. “Providers have the opportunity to leverage industry trends to empower patients with new payment tools and options for a better payment experience.”
Collecting payments is a decades-old problem healthcare organizations face. In 2022, the three major United States credit reporting agencies initiated changes to how medical collection accounts are reported, further complicating patient payment collection:
- Paid medical collection debt will no longer be reported.
- The period before unpaid medical collection debt will appear on a patient’s credit report will increase from six months to one year.
- In spring 2023, patient debt collection under $500 was no longer required on credit reports.
On top of the challenges presented above, healthcare organizations are facing more logistical and financial adversities due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “Most healthcare organizations are just now seeing patients resuming non-critical procedures. This delay in services has severely strained healthcare staff, resources, and finances.”
Healthcare organizations are not alone in their need for automated, efficient payment processes for their bottom lines—86% of consumers want to make all of their healthcare payments in one place.
HealthPay24 offers patients several convenient ways to pay within a simplified patient portal, all while maintaining PCI and P2PE compliance to ensure security and privacy.
Improving Patient Independence
A vital element of patient engagement and the overall patient experience is patient independence. “The independent patient is capable of managing his/her life and medication. The freedom to care for him/herself and be independent of other people makes the patient’s life easier.” Patients need to feel that they have control over their health, physically and financially.
As expected, patients who are more involved in their healthcare journey are more likely to be connected with the financial aspect of their care. Patients are more likely to give better patient satisfaction scores when they experience a seamless payment process and can understand their medical bills.
An easy-to-understand, patient-focused financial experience allows patients to avoid the headache of receiving bills by mail weeks after their treatment. Patients aware of their financial obligations before treatment are typically more comfortable with meeting those obligations.
HealthPay24 takes a proactive approach to medical bills by integrating with estimation tools to allow estimates to be available in the patient portal before patient-clinician contact, alleviating some of the anxiety patients may have about paying their medical bills.
Catering to patient needs and utilizing automation improves the healthcare experience, leading to patients who are engaged in their medical journeys. “Increased ownership and involvement in how patients pay their bills are essential to engagement. The benefits of this engagement are myriad and symbiotic.”
Staff Satisfaction Affects Patient Experience
Research shows that office staff has as much impact on patients’ attitudes and opinions as clinicians. The billing portion of the healthcare process can be difficult for some patients. However, it is an unavoidable part of the patient experience, and it’s the last chance to impress patients regarding their quality of care.
In fact, customers’ willingness to pay for a product increases by 14.4 percent based on their experience. This is just one reason to ensure your healthcare staff is satisfied with their workload and resources.
Providing healthcare workers with quality tools and resources is essential to generating high-quality outcomes. Automated solutions can speed up tedious tasks such as paperwork, as well as reduce human error. Big or small, changes that increase back-end automation have the potential to help staff excel at their jobs by improving efficiency, effectiveness, and comfort.
Mitigating staff fatigue and burnout can promote job satisfaction in healthcare workers. Happier team members, reduced human error, and streamlined communication between patients and the healthcare organization all lead to better overall outcomes for all parties involved.
Automation, Patient Engagement, and the Bottom Line
The technological developments of the last decade offer the opportunity to automate and streamline various features of how patients experience healthcare. One way to improve the patient experience and keep patients engaged is to make the payment process simple and comprehensive.
HealthPay24’s patient payment solution offers a comprehensive system that automates workflows and processes and synthesizes medical bills into one workflow, making payments more convenient for the patient and provider. By logging in to the payment portal, patients can:
- Make quick online payments on new and prior balances.
- Set up payment plans.
- Enroll in electronic notifications.
- Take advantage of discounts offered by your healthcare organization.
A Patient Engagement Solution for Your Organization
HealthPay24 has been a leader in the healthcare sector for over twenty years. Our business is built on a foundation of trust, dedication, and some good old-fashioned teamwork. If you are interested in maximizing your organization’s patient self-pay revenue by providing innovative and comprehensive payment solutions, please visit us at https://www.healthpay24.com/.