Post Covid-19, healthcare leaders are focusing more on refining their organization’s consumer experience and technology usage as a means to improve patients’ lives and the bottom line simultaneously. Recent studies show that patients are now considered consumers, creating new expectations of healthcare services and overall patient experience. Healthcare organizations that want to stay ahead of the curve will need to optimize the patient experience from start to finish, including the patient payment process.
A great first step to curating an excellent patient financial experience is implementing effective health payment systems and improving patient self-pay practices.
Current Trends in Patient Self-Pay Practices
Historically, patients have not been treated as consumers—this is because many providers felt as if assigning the terms “consumer” or “customer” degraded the customary patient-provider interaction. The result is that many aspects of the patient experience, such as transparency, trust, convenience, and affordability, have been neglected by healthcare leaders.
However, current trends show that patients actually are consumers. Patients make an array of decisions about their health and healthcare journey. The rise of technology and the internet has empowered patients to seek additional care of their own volition, shop around for different physicians, research and choose their medications, and more. As healthcare progressively moves to value-based care, where reimbursement is tied to outcomes and patient satisfaction, providers will be held accountable for the health-related decisions of consumers.
The Deloitte-Scottsdale Institute recently completed a survey of health systems’ digital transformation initiatives and found that 92 percent of health systems cited consumer satisfaction and engagement as top priorities for investment. Consumers expect that their healthcare experience will rival experiences offered by other industries. Prioritizing patient satisfaction and engagement is no longer a back-burner item on the agenda. It should be at the forefront of any healthcare organization’s strategy.
One way to keep patients engaged and offer a stellar patient experience is to meet the rising demand for technology in health payment systems. Implementing effective health payment systems and offering transparent, convenient, affordable strategies in patient self-pay practices is imperative to growth in the current healthcare market.
As patients become more closely aligned with consumerism, they will consider more factors when deciding where to seek medical care. Price is a huge factor, but patients will also choose their providers based on other elements of the patient financial experience, such as trust, peace of mind, reputation, and quality.
Price transparency is key to obtaining patient trust and providing peace of mind. The first step is to comply with the Transparency Act, which requires healthcare providers to disclose procedure estimates on their websites and also directly to patients if requested. The order is intended to help patients make informed decisions and remove barriers to quality healthcare.
Complying with the Transparency Act — and making a concerted effort to support your patients in making informed decisions about their care — can improve your healthcare organization’s reputation as trustworthy and supportive while improving patient retention and willingness to comply with financial obligations.
Implementing the right health payment systems can empower providers and healthcare organizations to improve transparency among patients. Key indicators of an effective health payment system include real-time reconciliation, removal of manual processes, and automated technology. Employing effective health payment systems, coupled with transparent self-pay practices, is a great step in improving the patient financial experience and your organization’s bottom line.
In what seems to be the age of technology, consumers crave convenience. Other industries are already offering consumers convenient ways to pay for goods and services, and the healthcare sector needs to catch up. The key to convenience is offering patients flexibility and variety in how they pay their medical bills. Powerful, patient-focused health payment systems can empower providers’ patient self-pay initiatives through various features and strategies:
- Prompt Pay Discounts. These allow providers to offer patients same-day discounts for utilizing self-pay payment options—leading to timely bill collection for organizations and flexibility for patients.
- Contactless Payments. Healthcare organizations can refine their patient self-pay practices by offering popular contactless methods such as mobile wallets, contactless cards, and wearable devices.
- Online Self-Pay Options. Patient-focus health payment systems often provide digital payment options, allowing providers to offer more flexibility and security in the patient payment process.
Evidence shows that giving consumers choices can influence product choice and consumer happiness, regardless of price. Most patients want to resolve their healthcare bills, and patient-friendly, flexible payment options allow more patients to satisfy their financial obligations.
By prioritizing patient convenience, healthcare organizations can increase their overall patient engagement and satisfaction rates.
Offering Affordable Ways to Pay
A record-breaking 25 percent of Americans report delaying medical care for serious conditions due to cost factors. Delays in receiving medical treatment affect the lives of patients as they suffer from untreated illnesses and also drain the medical system and economy. Healthcare revenue cycle management is a top concern for healthcare leaders and organizations. Increasing flexibility and affordability in the patient financial experience not only improve patient engagement but also the patient financial experience.
One effective way to make your healthcare organization’s patient self-pay practices more affordable for patients is to offer payment plans. Payment plans are in high demand with patients. 90 percent of healthcare consumers participating in a 2017 survey said that they were more likely to return to a provider who offered medical bill payment plans to encourage patient financial responsibility.
Revenue cycle leaders claim that offering interest-free payment plans is about doing the right thing for patients and the quality of care organizations can offer. Healthcare payment plans are patient-focused and enable patients to manage increasing out-of-pocket costs while also providing a solution for the organization’s collection strategy and revenue cycle.
HealthPay 24: Transforming Patient Self-Pay with Ease
Many providers have been using multiple, inefficient health payment systems, leading to lowered patient satisfaction and engagement, as well as ineffective workflows and confusion for patients. HealthPay24’s patient payment solution offers an all-in-one technology that automates processes and workflows for your staff to reduce system complexity and consolidate bills into one view payable by a guarantor to lessen confusion.
HealthPay24’s patient payment technology is expertly designed for the consumer of today, keeping your patients engaged and happy throughout their entire healthcare journey. With features that serve both your patients and your bottom line, HealthPay24 empowers the best possible financial outcomes for everyone—including those who participate in self-pay practices.
By logging into HealthPay24’s payment portal, patients can:
- Make quick online payments on new and prior balances.
- Pay open balances through Pay-by-text.
- Establish payment plans.
- Enroll in email and text notifications.
- Enroll in autopay.
- Take advantage of discounts offered by your healthcare organization.
Additional features that providers can offer patients when utilizing the HealthPay24 provider portal include:
- No Interest on Payment Plans
- Discounts for “Pay-in-Full”
- Customizing the Length and Amounts Allowed for Payment Plans
- Extending Payment Plan Start Dates and pay the same day each month
A Patient Self-Pay Solution for Your Organization
HealthPay24 has been a leader in the healthcare sector for over twenty years. Our business is built on trust, dedication, and effective teamwork. Optimize your organization’s patient self-pay practices by implementing HealthPay24’s innovative, comprehensive, digital-first patient financial engagement healthcare solutions. Visit https://www.healthpay24.com to learn more, or request a demo to join the growing number of providers using the HealthPay24 patient engagement solution.