Patients are the lifeblood of a healthcare facility, which makes patient loyalty key to a financially sound operation. A recent survey by El Studios found that 90% of patients say loyalty depends on their financial experience. Providers and payers can improve their patients’ financial experience by remaining engaged with them throughout the entire cycle — from first appointment to final payment.
The patient financial experience
With rising healthcare costs and insurance premiums, patients are more concerned with medical bills than ever. They want more transparency in billing and more engagement regarding their healthcare options. They are also demanding more flexible payment plans and more convenient payment methods, such as digital payments and patient portals. When providers and payers encourage patients to be actively engaged financially, it promotes preventive care, leads to better health outcomes, and improves the provider’s bottom line.
The importance of patient financial engagement
It’s important for a patient to feel engaged throughout the entire revenue cycle, from intake to final disposition of their bill. Engaged patients feel more in control of their options, which fosters trust with providers and healthcare facilities. When patients are unclear about how much they will owe, they may neglect preventive care or necessary treatment. It’s essential for providers and payers to engage with patients, so they understand their financial obligations for a procedure or diagnostic test. Engagement provides patients the opportunity to compare costs and make treatment choices, which results in less financial stress and a more positive patient experience. A good financial experience makes patients more likely to pay for medical services on time, promotes patient retention, and increases referrals. It also reduces a patient’s confusion about medical billing. Conversely, a negative financial experience undermines overall patient satisfaction. It reflects badly on providers and their facilities, decreases patient loyalty, and reduces retention.
Facilitating patient engagement
Patient financial engagement involves more than explaining medical expenses. It’s about empowering patients to take an active role in their medical journey. Digital payments and patient portals make engagement convenient and keep patients informed about charges and balances. Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can discover data patterns for helping providers and payers understand a patient’s personal financial situation and customizing payment plans to each individual patient. Revenue cycle management technologies, such as digital payment systems, patient portals, and AI-enhanced data analysis, give patients ownership of their journey through the healthcare system. Providers and payers can help with engagement by combining integrated, seamless technologies into a holistic end-to-end experience that will leave the patient satisfied and the provider fairly compensated. To learn more about enhancing patient engagement — and your bottom line — for a mutually beneficial financial experience, contact TruBridge.