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EMR Product Enhancements are Improving but Still Leave Patient Dollars on the Table

EMR Product Enhancement are Improving but Still Leave Patient Dollars on the Table

According to a study by Kodiak Solutions of 1,850 hospitals and 250,000 physicians worldwide, patient collections fell from 55% in 2021 to 48% in 2022 and 2023. This study shows the need to improve the patient payment process.

Over the last 18-24 months many EMRs have been making improvements to their functionality with the goal of increasing the healthcare providers’ patient revenue collection rate.  Some have even started to become more of a fintech (financial technology) solution, charging the providers based upon dollars collected.  

Patient Collection Enhancements are Falling Short

Some of these enhancements have included QR codes on the patient statement, text messages reminding the patient about their outstanding balance, and guest pay in the patient portal.  These enhancements are a great step forward in improving the provider’s engagement with the patient to help collect outstanding balances, but they are still falling short. The reason that these additions are still missing the mark is that they still take the patient back to the patient portal and require the patient to log-in and navigate the system to pay their bill.  

Some patient portals have processes that are complicated and involve multiple steps creating confusion and ultimately leading to the patient abandoning the process. Some portals are also limited in the payment options patients can use. Finally, most portals do not have a live chat function that allows the patient to quickly ask questions to understand their bill, forcing the patient to either call in or send an email. This delay impacts the adoption rate for patient payments.

EMRs Alone Don’t Collect Patient Payments

The reality is that EMRs alone are not helping the providers collect enough patient payments.  Millennia has identified that the average collection rate of the patient balance after visit, which includes true self pay and self pay after insurance is 40%.  Acute care organizations often see lower collection rates due to the patient population mix that they serve. Most providers do not have visibility into this patient collection percentage and look at their patient revenue collection rate as a single number rather than breaking it down between pre- and post-visit. That lack of visibility is causing healthcare providers to struggle to even identify the problem and then develop a patient collection strategy to improve.  

Patients Prefer Multiple Digital Payment Options

The reason for the poor patient payment collection rate is as an industry we are continuing to drive the patient to a select few methods of payment rather than providing them with more options.  A JP Morgan study shows that 83% of consumers want to continue leveraging virtual and self-service options that were deployed due to the pandemic and they expect those choices to still be there today, especially in healthcare. Many consumers turned to digital payments during the pandemic but in healthcare, many providers are still requiring payments to be made through the process of mailing a check.  Patients prefer credit/debit cards, digital wallets, tools such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. They want to pay online quickly and easily.  

Multiple patient payment options that are quick and easy to use are important. Providers should deploy solutions that augment the client’s digital strategy creating different pathways for the patient to pay with a single click of a button on their smartphone or computer.  Instead of taking the patient back to a portal, forcing them to log into an account, they should be able to leverage the digital wallet and make a payment with a single click.  Payment plans should be easy to set up, chat should connect patients to a live agent, and the agent should be a live person rather than a bot. We should communicate to each patient individually, allowing them to engage in the manner that they choose.  

The Healthcare Revenue Cycle Is A Business To Consumer Relationship

It still takes a village, and this is not different in the healthcare revenue cycle. When it comes to collecting patient payments, patient responsibility is different from managing insurance claims.  Patients are people, meaning you are in a business-to-consumer relationship rather than a business-to-business relationship, which creates different and challenging pain points for many healthcare providers. For example, when we speak with potential clients, most identify inbound phone calls as a significant  pain point  because of the challenges to recruit, hire and maintain staff. This is why it’s important that any patient payment solution includes a contact center function, giving patients a way to get help with questions about their statement and healthcare providers a way to make outbound calls to improve payment collection..  While we have moved to a self-service culture, there are still times when you want to ask a person a question to understand why you received a bill, and making it easy for a patient to get help is critical to creating a positive patient experience.  

Your End-To-End Solution For Patient Payment Collections

The patient side of revenue cycle management is becoming more critical as patient financial responsibility continues to increase. With that comes the need for providers to shift to a business-to-consumer mindset to maximize collection of patient revenue. Giving patients a consumer-friendly experience means healthcare providers need to do more than just send monthly statements and accept checks and credit cards for payments. 

Millennia’s Patient Payment Solution is purpose-built to provide the consumer experience patients want and the financial results that providers need to continue to deliver high-quality care.  Our comprehensive, unified solution brings together technology, patient engagement intelligence, and a concierge team of patient support specialists to drive increased patient revenue, reduce operating costs, and ensure patient satisfaction. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Millennia Patient Payment Solution please request a consultation today.

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