No one likes receiving bills, no matter how much they are. When were you last excited about an invoice you had to pay?
Like it or not, invoicing customers or patients is part of running a digital health company. And while you may not be able to induce excitement around your billing and invoices, taking steps to improve your patient financial engagement can strengthen your organization’s financial footing.
What Is Patient Financial Engagement?
Patient financial engagement is a patient’s involvement in paying for healthcare costs. It involves how responsive (or unresponsive) a patient may be when paying a bill. Optimizing patient financial engagement looks at ways to increase payments and reduce the time patients take to pay an invoice.
Regardless of the services you provide, improving patient financial engagement is critical for a digital health company’s revenue cycle. A high amount of unpaid patient payments (also called patient accounts receivable or A/R) means less cash flow to operate your business.
How to Improve Patient Financial Engagement
According to a Connance Consumer Impact Survey, patients are less likely to pay their medical bills in full when they have a poor billing experience. More than 75% of survey respondents paid their balance in full or in stages when they had a positive billing experience. Only 50% of the patients who reported a bad billing experience said they paid their balance in full or in stages.
Improving patient financial engagement with your digital health platform comes down to a few key themes: automation, customization and performance tracking. Let’s dive into some ways to increase payments and reduce time to payment.
Simplify and Automate Payment Communications
If too much time passes between an appointment and an invoice, a patient is less likely to pay quickly — if at all. But with streamlined healthcare payment workflows, you can send bills and invoices promptly while the appointment is still fresh in the patient’s mind. Consider a tool that allows you to create communication triggers based on patient criteria, such as the amount owed or days past due.
Having all your invoicing communications in one place can also help you see the full lifecycle of payment communications, so you can identify and fill messaging gaps as needed. A payment workflow tool can also help ensure you’re not duplicating messages.
Use the Channels that Matter to Your Customers
Each patient is unique, meaning they can have different preferences on how they receive billing communications. Some patients prefer text-based invoices, while others prefer a hard copy or paper bill.
It’s critical to have a payment tool that allows you to track communication preferences and deliver on those preferred channels. You’re more likely to see successful and prompt payments when you reach patients on the medium they use most. And if you can incorporate multiple channels within one platform, you can test those channels to find what works best.
Customize Payment Communications
Would you pay a medical bill if it wasn’t clear who sent it?
It’s critical you customize your payment communication to fit your organization’s brand. You’ll build trust and encourage prompt payment if your statements and invoices clearly come from your business.
Make sure to use your logo and other essential branding elements, as well as clear contact information for questions or concerns. Think about your audience, too — which details do they need to see on the invoice? Too much information can be overwhelming, and too little may confuse patients about their care costs.
Integrate Payment Systems with Your Platform
As a digital health company, you put a lot of work into your platform and user experience. Maintaining that experience throughout the billing process is crucial for patient financial engagement.
Integrating your payment system within your existing platform will build trust and ease the burden of paying a bill. When collecting payments, the last thing you want is more confusion and obstacles for the patient. So, make sure it feels easy and familiar to your platform users.
Be Up Front and Transparent About Pricing
One of the best ways to improve patient financial engagement is to collect payments upfront, avoiding the invoicing process altogether. You can do this by sending payable estimates before the appointment.
You can also build trust with patients (and increase payment collections) by providing upfront pricing on your website or through your platform. Patients are often more likely to pay a balance if they understand the upfront costs.
Track and Monitor Performance
Creating, customizing and integrating your payment workflows is only half the battle. Once you have your patient payment process in place, track performance to measure whether the workflow, well, works.
Look at key performance indicators (KPIs) such as:
- Payment conversions – What percentage of your invoices get paid? How many are paid in full the first time?
- Time to payment – How long does it typically take for a patient or customer to pay a bill?
- User engagement – Which channels or types of messages are most effective in collecting payment?
Tracking these KPIs can help you refine your process and improve your overall patient financial engagement, ultimately providing more cash flow for your organization.
Improve Patient Payments with Automation, Customization and Transparency
Invoicing and paying bills are all part of the business cycle for a digital health company. But that doesn’t mean it has to be tedious or confusing.
Automating payment workflows and customizing bills to fit your audience will save your organization time and improve collections. And with regular performance tracking, you can continually improve and optimize those workflows to create consistent and reliable cash flow for your business.
Improve payment collections with the resources you have. Gentem’s automated patient pay solutions help you grow collections by automating and streamlining your invoicing process. Plus, you’ll reach more patients with customizable billing templates and channels. Schedule a quick intro call to see how it works.