Skip to content

Improve Patient Engagement With Automated Workflows to Increase Revenue

01 Improve Patient Engagement With Automated Workflows

Improve Patient Engagement With Automated Workflows to Increase Revenue

As a healthcare provider, you always seek new ways to elevate the patient experience and boost your revenue. However, improving patient satisfaction and engagement extends far beyond one-on-one care. Using automated solutions, your organization can create a streamlined, unified patient journey from patient intake to the moment they pay their bill with the end goal of increasing revenue.

Today’s effective patient billing processes combine modern and patient-friendly technology, advanced analytics and workflow automation to drive a well-planned strategy for patient engagement. Individually, the concepts are not game-changers. When perfectly integrated, though, they enable transparency and convenience to increase active self-pay revenue and boost patient satisfaction. 

Connecting the Dots: Implementing Automated Patient Engagement Strategies

A comprehensive, automated workflow allows you and your support staff to dedicate more time to providing value-based care. Using a digital patient engagement solution, your facility can transform your revenue cycle and reputation with the following building blocks.

1. Optimize Patient Engagement

Research demonstrates that a patient’s payment experience colors their overall feelings of satisfaction. In fact, one healthcare study revealed that emotionally satisfied patients are willing to pay higher fees for a preferable service environment. Patients were also willing to pay more when they trusted their service providers. The study concluded with the result that patient satisfaction significantly influences their likelihood to engage in positive word-of-mouth about a facility and their intention to revisit the facility, thus increasing revenue.

As in retail, customer satisfaction is vital as patients begin to exercise greater choice, both in how much to pay and where to go next time. Generally, the first impression is a lasting one. 

It is a new world for providers across the healthcare landscape. Many innovative providers are already rethinking the role of the revenue cycle in overall patient engagement and revenue cycle management strategies. Healthcare organizations have discovered that positive billing and payment experiences can impact patient satisfaction and loyalty. In turn, this can lead to reduced costs and increased revenue

Additionally, modern high deductible insurance plans to have shifted the revenue cycle to a business-to-consumer model that many were unprepared for when the industry lived so long in a solely business-to-business model between providers and insurance companies.

Today, patients should not have to jump through hoops to understand how to pay their bills. Mobile solutions enable patients to conveniently and efficiently pay from their phones at any time, facilitating more revenue for your organization. The more your organization maximizes engagement, the more you can maximize revenue collection.

An expertly executed digital patient engagement strategy, fostering a satisfying patient experience, should include: 

  • Early and consistent contact with patient education surrounding the billing process 
  • Easy-to-use technology and digital tools 
  • Building and maintaining patient trust in the process
  • Patient-friendly statements 
  • 24/7 access and convenience for information and payments 
  • Personalized contact 
  • Varied and convenient payment options

2. Maintain Early and Consistent Contact

02 Early And Consistent Patient Contact

Early and consistent patient contact helps patients understand and plan their out-of-pocket expenses. Specifically, educational content on the revenue cycle and billing process can simplify the complex, resulting in happier patients. You can provide education about the billing process through instructive infographics and educational illustrations, short videos on your website, and easy-to-read inserts with your billing statements.

In general, you may find that providing educational content helps new and existing patients know:

  • What to expect when they leave your facility 
  • How services are charged
  • How to read and interpret an explanation of benefits (EOB)
  • How an insurance or contractual adjustment is calculated

3. Build Rapport and Trust

A great patient experience requires that rapport and trust be established and sustained between the provider and the patient. A quality assurance (QA) process that thoroughly vets the patient balance before sending the billing statement is critical to building rapport and trust. 

Inaccurate billing creates distrust in the billing process and slows the speed of payment. Conversely, employing a simple quality control before bill drop ensures accuracy the first time around. Those who have received inaccurate statements are less likely to pay the first statement for future services. 

It’s important to build a patient advocacy program, one that provides a personalized touch to educate, consult and assist the patient. Pairing advocacy with thorough, timely follow-up that is essential for patients who need assistance results in a superior patient experience — anything less diminishes the patient’s trust. Providers who offer friendly, professional assurances and promptly address inquiries or concerns can make patients feel heard and nurture their confidence in the process.

4. Create Patient-Friendly Statements

Navigating billing statements and understanding charges is becoming increasingly cumbersome for patients as out-of-pocket expenses increase. In addition to concerns about their health and well-being, patients must also consider:

  • High deductibles
  • Coinsurance 
  • Copays
  • Non-covered charges 
  • Out-of-network expenses 
  • Multiple bills from both the professional(s) and institution 

These complex processes often contribute to a very confusing patient billing experience. It is not uncommon for patients to believe they are being billed multiple times for the same services, and this confusion can lead to a drop in visits.

Industry innovators have begun to combine as many professional and institutional charges into one bill as possible. This helps limit the number of statements a patient receives for a single procedure or visit while clearly indicating and highlighting the types of charges included in the statements. Some leaders take the additional step of coordinating policies to allow combined payment plans and discounting policies for outstanding professional and institutional balances.

Another important feature is to simplify and focus statement design to ease understanding and clarity, which may include vibrant aesthetics, clear, relevant imagery, and messaging that appeals to the individual reader. For example, if the patient is an adult female, the message or images may include a yearly physical or mammogram reminder. 

Designing statements with formatting similar to an EOB, with a note encouraging the patient to compare the statement to an EOB, makes it easier and more digestible for the patient to understand the balance due. At the same time, overengineering statements with an array of summaries, colored boxes, multiple fonts and superfluous design elements can confuse the patient. Simplicity is often the best way to present information, especially when it is both quantitative and qualitative.

5. Provide Ease of Access

03 3 Ways Organizations Can Empower Healthcare Consumers

Empowering patients to manage their patient accounts promotes a successful outcome. Three ways that organizations can empower healthcare consumers through their patient revenue cycle include:

  1. Mimicking customer strategies
  2. Integrating your billing and payment solutions
  3. Enabling self-service options

Mimic Consumer Strategies

Online and self-service are mainstream in key retail, banking and travel industries, and retailers are looking into alternative payment methods, including digital wallets, now more than ever.
To stay ahead of consumer demand and expectations, healthcare billing and payment options should mirror these trends. Offering convenient, self-service options and personalizing the payment experience provides a competitive advantage for healthcare facilities. 

Integrate Your Billing and Payment Solutions

Challenge the traditional view of patient billing by incorporating a modern, clean and jargon-free design focused on driving patients to your website. Online portals and self-service options enhance the patient experience by allowing them to pay their bills when it’s most convenient for them. These options can reduce call volumes and wait times for patients inquiring about billing over the phone.

Enable Self-Service

Self-service options let patients take more control over their health management. As a healthcare provider, you can execute this empowering strategy in your facility by:

  • Allowing patients to quickly and easily find the website and pay their bills online 
  • Ensuring a clear call-to-action on the homepage to capture the inbound flow of patients seeking to make payments
  • Providing a fast, easy and secure payment flow

Healthcare providers can also help patients to manage their billing process on their own terms through:

  • Self-service interactive voice response (IVRs)
  • Robust patient portals
  • Mobile pay options
  • Text to Pay options
  • Expanded hours of operation

For example, a comprehensive self-service IVR will provide an explanation of the balance due and direction to commonly asked questions, in addition to prompting available payment. As a result, patients can manage their payments without having to call their providers. This can free up time for support staff to focus on more patient-oriented tasks.

An effective patient billing portal should allow the user to: 

  • View and print previously received patient bills
  • Review the up-to-date status of current patient bills, charity and payment plan policies 
  • Produce a statement on demand 
  • Manage payment plans 
  • Submit requests and speak to a customer care representative 

Basic “patient portals” that merely accept payments do not increase patient satisfaction with the billing experience.

6. Develop Personalized Contact

No two patients are the same, so why treat them that way? Today’s advanced analytics, integrated with workflow automation, allows an organization to promote a better patient experience by enabling the patient to choose how they would like to be contacted regarding an outstanding balance. Similar to the way consumers manage their utilities or revolving credit, patients expect options. 

04 A Combination Of Patient Friendly Statements

A combination of patient-friendly statements, email, text messaging and paperless billing are effective methods of personalized contact when included in an automated workflow. Paperless billing reaches the recipient quicker, giving them more time to remit payment before the due date. It also allows the patient to access the bill from anywhere, anytime.

7. Offer Various Payments Options

While healthcare reform has significantly increased the number of insured patients, most of the covered individuals have plans with significantly high out-of-pocket costs — healthcare providers across the country are experiencing the resultant increase in patient self-pay accounts receivable. 

To optimize recovery from these accounts, it is imperative to establish payment policies offering various payment options. Supporting a wide range of options ensures patients who do not have the ability to pay in full can make alternative payment arrangements. Payment options for patients include the ability to pay in full or to enter into a payment arrangement through various outlets, whether in person, through a self-service patient portal, IVR or with the assistance of a customer care representative. Many successful policies require that patients enter into a payment agreement on any open preexisting account balance before scheduling a new appointment. Although this is sometimes difficult to enforce, it is vital to foster a culture of payment.

In addition to access to payment arrangements, if needed, patients appreciate the ability to schedule payments on their terms, including determining the payment method, type and frequency. Progressive providers enable automated and manual payment plan options that include the ability for the patient to utilize a wider range of payment options, such as:
•    Major credit cards, with card-on-file options
•    E-check
•    Health savings account (HAS) cards
•    Mobile payment options like GooglePay and ApplePay
•    Financing or payment plans

Let’s Review: Usability, Engagement and Revenue

Favorable patient engagement will increase when messaging conveys respect and appreciation. Early and consistent contact providing education about the process and patient expectations is key to a successful and timely outcome.

Implementing practices that foster trust and assuring all customer-facing staff are trained to build a rapport with your patient population is essential to the process. Patient-friendly statements that pull as much information together in an easy-to-read and relatable way are also critical.

In addition, patients who can access their accounts at their discretion are more likely to take ownership of the process. Patient portals that allow patients to add insurance, set up payment arrangements, review statements and speak to customer care representatives at their convenience increase the quality of patient contact and build patient engagement success.

Contacting patients in the way they are most likely to respond is key to a successful campaign. Gone are the days when patients were merely contacted via statement once a month. Phone calls, text messaging and email allow the patient to be contacted in their preferred way. Finally, payment options that account for the changing landscape in patient responsibility while consistently adhering to firm payment plan policy will encourage a culture of payment.

05 Partner With Millennia

Partner With Millennia

Patient engagement is a vital component of a successful organization, but it requires addressing every disconnected aspect of the patient journey. At Millennia, we support healthcare providers with solutions that build digital engagement, drive revenue and create enhanced patient journeys.

Your organization can implement early and consistent contact from pre-arrival to post-visit. Our payment technology platform offers convenient solutions for enabling higher payments. For a comprehensive ecosystem, providers can use Millennia Complete to support a streamlined, automated workflow for a unified patient journey.

Request a free consultation today to learn how Millennia can integrate into your current systems and benefit your healthcare organization.

Learn how Millennia can help you increase revenue!