Transforming the Patient Financial Experience - 4 Best Practices

John Talaga
John Talaga
is the Executive Vice President and General Manager in Healthcare.

Earlier this month, I had a chance to co-host a discussion about Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) and the patient financial experience with Priti Shah, Chief Product Officer at Finvi. If you are not familiar with Finvi, the company provides workflow automation to streamline revenue recovery for healthcare organizations (as well as government agencies and financial institutions). Their technology supports some really valuable best practices in healthcare revenue lifecycle management.

Our discussion covered a lot of ground on some of the big challenges for both patients and providers – from the growing patient affordability gap and how consumerism is changing preferences for engagement – to the impact of remote work on provider finance teams. We also shared some best practices for addressing those challenges.

In this post, I wanted to highlight the four best practices Priti and I discussed because I believe they can help almost any hospital or health system be more successful in their patient pay efforts. Below is a quick summary. If you are interested in more details, just click on the link to the full webcast.

Patient Financial Experience – Four Best Practices

  1. Advanced Segmentation
    Transforming the patient financial experience starts with segmentation. What do you know about your patients that can help you engage with them more effectively? Most providers are likely doing some form of basic segmentation already, likely based on insurance coverage and credit history. But that’s not enough. It can’t predict a patient’s current ability, or willingness to pay. Look at other sources such as demographics and engagement preferences to create dynamic propensity-to-pay scores. All this information can improve your strategy to help patients pay their bills.
  2. Personalized Digital Engagement
    With that segmentation information, you can be more targeted in how you engage patients – via the channel(s) they prefer and are likely to respond to. For example, consider two patients with the same balance of $1,200. “Joe” has a high deductible and can only afford $200 a month. He responds to text and is more responsive in the evenings. Proactively offering him a six-month payment plan makes sense. “Mary” has Medicare, can pay her balance in full, and is more likely to respond via email in the morning. There is no need to offer her a payment plan or financing. By personalizing the engagement, you optimize payment cycles, minimize unnecessary contacts, and reduce demand on finance staff.
  3. Purposeful automation
    Using automation in the right ways can free up staff to focus on higher-value activities and increase patient satisfaction. But this is not automation for automation’s sake. The question to ask is will it produce the desired outcome, e.g., reduced staff time, faster response, more timely and up-to-date information. The sooner a patient understands their responsibility, the higher their willingness to pay. Nothing slows payment cycles more than surprises.
    Two other considerations here. RCM does not need to be completely machine-driven. You have to allow for the human touch where needed. There is also interaction with other systems required to make automation work – for both staff and patients.
  4. Remote workforce support
    Remote work is here to stay at some level, so how can we equip them to serve patients properly and efficiently? They require real-time visibility into patient and payer actions, contact history, payment status, etc. They also need access to different engagement options in one place so they can contact patients via the most effective channel. Finance leaders also need visibility into team performance and process gaps so they can provide coaching and assistance, make improvements where needed.

The best practices outlined above can produce very meaningful results for providers and health plans including higher billing satisfaction scores, increased claim efficiency, more timely patient payments, greater adoption of self-service plans, and reduced payer call volumes and hold times. Consider how your organization can embrace and adopt them to gain the same.