What millennials want from the health system revenue cycle today: 5 key thoughts

Millennials today are demanding real-time services, price transparency and a consumer-centric approach to all purchases they make, including in healthcare.

During a panel titled "The Future of Revenue Cycle – The Patients as Payers and Engaged Consumers" at the Becker's 5th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference in Chicago, four healthcare leaders discussed the big trends in patient engagement and collections today. The panel, which occurred on Oct. 9, featured: Jason Petti, eeputy network director of the VA Midwest Health Care Network; Joe Polaris, senior vice president of product and technology for R1 RCM; Terri Meier, director of system patient revenue cycle for UC San Diego Health; and Vincent Pryor, senior vice president and CFO of Silver Cross Hospital. Senior Writer at Becker's Healthcare Kelly Gooch moderated the panel.

Five key takeaways:

1. As millennials age and become higher utilizers of healthcare, they are taking a different approach to selecting providers and consuming healthcare; waiting 20 to 30 minutes to see a physician is not acceptable. Additionally, they don't want to wait for paper bills and then send back checks in the mail to make the transaction. As a result, health systems are making changes to their revenue cycle to become more consumer friendly.

2. Health systems and provider organizations that can differentiate themselves with their mechanisms of easy access and convenient payment processes will be competitive in the future and gain market share. Negative experiences in healthcare are often related to the administrative aspects of healthcare delivery, which can be fixed.

3. The consumer-driven healthcare environment engages patients and gives them upfront expectations about what they can expect during their visit — both from the clinical care as well as the billing side — and follow-ups. The digital front door to the organization should be easy to access and the best place to make a great first impression.

4. The healthcare industry could see a similar transition to consumer control over their experience as the airline industry. Instead of calling the airline to book a flight and then checking bags, the process is now automated so each person can book a flight whenever they choose online and then use the self-serve kiosks to check bags. People don't even need to print boarding passes anymore; it's all available digitally on their phones.

The healthcare system can automate the scheduling process, data entry and several other aspects of the patient care journey so patients can control their care. This takes waste out of the process and allows staff to work at the top of their abilities at tasks that really need them. To make the transition, it will take staff members who are retail-oriented to guide patients through the process and construct a workflow for self-service technology.

5. Some organizations are implementing online estimation tools and platforms integrated with payer information to get an idea of what patients' out-of-pocket costs will be. Staff can either help patients with this, or patients can do it themselves through the organization's website. It may be necessary to increase customer service training and boost staff wages to ensure they are giving clear and concise information to patients about potential out-of-pocket costs in a high-value interaction.

Don't miss the Becker's 3rd Annual Health IT + Clinical Leadership + Pharmacy event in Chicago, May 19-21, 2020. Click here to learn more and register.

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