4 digital strategies to transform self-pay performance

As hospitals navigate operational challenges amid the pandemic, it has never been more important to modify the patient experience to generate great outcomes and receive adequate payment. 

Step one in this process is better understanding patients' propensity to pay.

"Innovation often comes from a crisis. As we're coming out of crisis mode, it's vital to understand where the patient sits within their current financial environment to have more predictability in terms of billing," Casey Williams, senior vice president of patient engagement at RevSpring, said during a workshop at Becker's Health IT + RCM Virtual Event. 

The Oct. 6 event focused on several digital payment strategies hospital administrators can use to transform self-pay performance. The session also featured Kristen Jacobsen, vice president of product and marketing at RevSpring.

Four takeaways:

1. Providers must make strides to understand their patients on a personal level. Patients' propensity to pay varies by age, employment, marriage status, and behavioral and geographical characteristics. From a financial perspective, Mr. Williams said knowing these facts not only allows for "more empathetic conversations around payment, but more meaningful conversation toward the best pathway forward."

2. Meaningful conversation with patients starts with predictive analytics. By using past data, providers can create individual profiles that better predict how patients will react to a bill. Providers can submit patient data into a proprietary algorithm to generate predictive scores that indicate patients' propensity to pay, their likely payment method, or if they qualify for financial assistance.

"Predictive analytics gives you the ability to say: Now that we understand that these individuals qualify for free care under our policy, what is the best way to communicate with them?" Mr. Williams said.

3. Increasingly, the best way to communicate with patients is digitally. According to a market survey completed by RevSpring, close to 60 percent of providers already have patient information like phone numbers and email addresses on hand. However, providers don't regularly use that digital contact information to communicate with patients about their balances.

"Providers have information that patients willingly give them to engage digitally. But it's locked in a silo. They're maybe using it for preservice, for appointment reminders, perhaps for lab results, clinical information, but they're not using that information in the financial experience," Ms. Jacobsen said.

4. When information from preservice is used to engage patients in digital payment, it not only increases the likelihood that patients will pay but reduces costs for providers. For example, Ms. Jacobsen said RevSpring saw that when patients receive a text or an email about an outstanding balance, 64 percent make a payment the day they receive a digital engagement. On the provider side, strategically using digital communication with a mix of print for billing proposes can lower provider costs by an average 15 percent.

To access the workshop on-demand, click here.

To learn more about RevSpring, click here

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