3 tips to improve patient interactions in the digital age.
The 2016 InstaMed Trends in Healthcare Payments Report found that 58 percent of patients polled wanted to pay their healthcare bills online, and 61 percent were interested in using mobile technologies like Android or Apple Pay to settle their healthcare bills. In this age of electronic convenience, patients want more from their healthcare providers. And yet 86 percent of patients surveyed say they still receive their bills through the mail.
As value-based payments continue to grow in popularity, patient experience becomes key. How can an institution ensure each patient has the same experience as they communicate with the business office? This can be difficult with disparate patient accounting systems and differences in quality measurement tools.
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Yet patients expect more, and providers need to provide the same conveniences other businesses do. To do so, follow these three disciplines.
The digital age is here, and consumers want the same conveniences they get from every other business. This means healthcare must provide multiple communication mediums to the patient. Having only an inbound call center and a web portal is no longer acceptable. Patients interact with interactive voice response systems, mobile sites, text messages and email, too. The technology to provide them with these channels exists today — so leverage it to provide the complete patient experience. Not only does this make for a happier patient, it also reduces costs, as fewer people will be forced to ring the call center for answers. Happier patients mean more repeat business, loyalty that is important in a much more competitive marketplace.
As the accounts receivable department builds out multiple mediums for the patient to communicate, be sure they can see a complete picture of every account they have. If the receivables department has different patient accounting systems with multiple CBOs, combine the data into one database to present a unified view to patients, and show them a complete picture of what they owe. Patients should see self-pay balances and pending insurance resolution and denial appeals. Without this insight, patient frustration will rise, leading to complaints and dissatisfaction.
After creating a single database and channels for patients to interact, it will be important to monitor quality. Typically, every provider uses scripting to handle patients who call in. The key is to ensure each interaction is as uniform as possible. With an embedded quality system recording calls and attaching them to the account, supervisors can perform quality audits and score accounts based on required actions for each call. This should feed into a dashboard and subsequent reporting that leadership can see each month. With this data, supervisors can now target key areas where training has the biggest impact. By taking one or two of these each quarter and providing specific training programs, patient experience can continue to be the same across all agents.
Managing the patient experience to provide all the channels they want, showing the complete picture of what the patient has open, and managing quality for human interactions are all keys to being successful. This leads to more repeat business, referrals and reduced staffing costs in call centers. Patients want the same experience as they have with other businesses through the same channels they use today.
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