Consumers are demanding more digital payment options from companies, and their healthcare providers are no exception. Many traditional billing models fail to explain charges and payment options. Instituting modernized, self-service payment options is not only a key step toward ensuring your health system is innovative, it results in hospitals collecting more money at the time of service.
During a July 23 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Flywire, industry leaders discussed strategies to modernize patient billing systems. They shared the processes Altamonte Springs, Fla-based AdventHealth and Phoenix-based Banner Health employed when implementing Flywire technology for a better payment system.
The speakers were:
- Tomer Shoval, senior vice president of sales, strategic accounts and business development at Flywire
- Tim Reiner, senior vice president of revenue management at AdventHealth
- Bradley Tinnermon, vice president of revenue cycle and revenue integrity at Banner Health
Hospitals should focus on five key strategies:
- Adopt a consumer-centric mindset. Patients want to interact with payment systems that are transparent and affordable, so hospitals need to consider their needs if they want to garner patient engagement. Self-service payment systems should be easy to use and offer flexible options. AdventHealth added a loan service option to its patient billing system to meet consumer needs, and Banner Health similarly instituted a deferred payment program into its model.
- Get your definitions straight. It's important to know what is meant when terms like "patient experience" and "patient financial experience" are used. To find this out, health system leaders need to examine how patients want to be engaged. Banner Health identified what these terms meant within the context of their health system, which helped it figure out how its patients' needs coincide with their own revenue goals.
- Get all hands on deck. To rework a health system's revenue cycle, several teams have to work together. When Banner Health changed its revenue cycle model, plans were devised among messaging and marketing teams, project managers, financial analysts and hospital executives to bring the new system together.
- Find ways to drive patient engagement. Hospitals shouldn't assume patients are aware of how much they owe and when payments are due. Healthcare providers often need to educate patients about their out-of-pocket responsibilities, a task AdventHealth addressed by establishing an email notification and reminder system so its patients have greater awareness about their bills. Banner Health also made sure it had a messaging and marketing team dedicated to identifying creative ways to make patients aware of its new payment system. By focusing on modernizing patient engagement, Banner Health saw a 16 percent increase in post-service collections, while AdventHealth is seeing 84 percent of its payments now come from patient self-service.
- Don't become complacent. If you find yourself satisfied with the way your health system is billing patients and receivings its revenue, there is usually something you can change to improve outcomes even further. AdventHealth conducted focus groups with consumers to better understand their medical billing experiences, and it implemented tweaks to its payment model after receiving the feedback. For example, the health system made it possible for patients to view all their bills in one place, rather than having to check multiple websites for various care bills.