STATEMENTS | 10 MIN READ

2019: The Year Healthcare Providers Finally Start Taking Consumerism Seriously

Written by Michael Wise

Written by Michael Wise
We arrived at the #HIMSS19 Conference in Orlando excited to be first-time exhibitors.  Our immediate focus was to connect with people and gain a better understanding of the needs of the current healthcare ecosystem. We used our booth space to record stories of healthcare providers and technology vendors as part of our I Am Changing Healthcare Awareness Campaign. You can find out more about that HERE.
This pay-it-forward approach really paid off as we were able to get fresh insight into parts of the healthcare equation not generally considered to be part of the “revenue cycle.” We shared some of our unique communication and payment tools to several executives and managers who want to address the issue of consumerism in healthcare.

Unlike previous years, this HIMSS conference year showcased a heightened sense of urgency to embrace technology that can adapt to consumerism in healthcare. For many, the fear of not making a change was greater than the fear of change itself.

Why? Because patients are now evaluating a hospital, clinic or physician’s office based on the quality of their entire experience—including the front office or extended billing office.

After comparing notes with all the members of our group, there seemed to be two themes echoed by healthcare organizations and technology vendors—both involving consumerism in healthcare.

1.  Healthcare CIOs are actively looking for services and technology that cater to both the patient and the consumer throughout the entire treatment journey.
2.  Hospitals, clinics, and physicians groups see a significant increase in Patient Balances After Insurance (PBAI)—and they don’t have the automated payment tools in place to make collections.

Why are these observations important to you?

For patients, the benefit isn’t immediately noticeable—account numbers or unique access codes will require a patient to find their statement in order to pull up their records. However, when used properly, unique access codes can be used to shape and refine the consumer experience by catering to their preferred communication and payment preferences.  Here are some benefits that a medical communnication software solution could offer:

When making a payment

 

  • The ability to pay over the phone after normal business hours
  • Not just the ability to pay online, but pay through a site that is mobile responsive
  • Flexible payment plans they can set up themselves
  • Have payment receipts emailed
  • If a prompt pay or lump sum discount is offered, the ability to negotiate and settle their responsibility online (at a time and manner most comfortable to them)
  • An online portal that allows them to see past statements and payment history, as well as update CC info, communication preferences, and personal information

Making contact or attempting to reach the billing office…

  • The agent or associate having the ability to send relevant information or reminders by email or text
  • Receive billing statements that clearly show all available payment options and information needed to access their account
  • When being transferred between associates or departments, only having to provide account information to an associate or IVR once
  • When calling during business hours, having the option to quickly check balances or make a payment without speaking to anyone or waiting on hold
  • When calling after business hours, having the option to access account information and make a payment
  • A paperless billing option where mailed statements are replaced by email notifications with links to view online
  • The ability to quickly have commonly asked questions answered through chat or two-way SMS messaging
  • Include QR Codes on mailed statements to access payment sites quickly using a mobile device—and if possible—have the code pre-fill their account number for the ultimate consumer convenience.

More News from HIMSS19

When consumers find out they can go from reading a paper statement to accessing your payment page with their pre-filled account information, they’ll never want to call your office again!
Mike Morgan, the CEO of Updox, spoke on consumerism in healthcare at the conference.
“The power of consumerism is really impacting healthcare and the need for patient engagement is alive and well. Providers across the board must look at new technologies and ways to redefine patient engagement to better communicate with patients and partners, but do it via channels that are easy for staff and customers to use.”
Morgan went on to mention patients demand for immediate and convenient engagements like text and tele-health.

 

Mike Peluso, CTO of Rectangle Health says that the industry is at a crossroads between what changed and what remains the same.
“The power of consumerism is really impacting healthcare and the need for patient engagement is alive and well. Providers across the board must look at new technologies and ways to redefine patient engagement to better communicate with patients and partners, but do it via channels that are easy for staff and customers to use.”
We weren’t the only organization to have these changes and challenges validated at the conference.  Electronic Health Reporter highlighted comments from Susan M. Reese (DNP, MBA, RN, CPHIMS) at Kronos Incorporated.
“HIMSS19 drove considerable momentum for trending topics like the rise of consumerism in healthcare, and the collaborative nature of technology integrations. On the topic of consumerism, HIMSS19 opened our eyes to how changing models of care delivery and disruptive technologies are evolving the patient experience – a.k.a. the customer experience – by making technology more intuitive and accessible for consumers worldwide.
 These are just a small sample of comments that strongly reinforce our own consumer research and approach to revenue cycle management.

Want to know more?

Whether you’re looking to upgrade one part of your billing process or the whole enchilada, we can help!

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