How to Adapt to the Rapid Changes Behind Patient Financial Engagement Preferences in 2022 and Beyond

Salucro Founder and CEO Clayton Bain discusses key findings from the 2021 Patient Payment Technology Report, and why it’s important to adopt patient engagement preferences and adapt your 2022 plans around them. 

In this Q&A, Clayton breaks down the results from the 2021 Patient Payment Technology Report, a survey of over 1,000 patients conducted by Salucro, and shares key findings on what patient financial engagement preferences will look like moving forward.

What do you see as the rising trends in patient financial engagement?

It comes down to trust, innovation, and flexibility. 

Patients want to trust their providers not only with their clinical care, but also with their financial well-being. Data from our 2021 Patient Payment Tech Report reveals that a patient’s financial experience has a profound impact on provider loyalty. Consumers expect their healthcare providers to offer a simple, accurate, and flexible payment experience.

Patients continue to bear more of the cost associated with their healthcare. With rising patient deductibles, co-pays, and other liabilities comes increased expectations for their providers, especially when it comes to billing accuracy–64% of consumers say they would leave their provider due to inaccurate or confusing bills.

Not only do consumers want accuracy, they also want innovation. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need for innovative technology solutions and it redefined patient expectations of the financial experience. Consumers expected their providers to provide remote support, contactless patient payment options, and flexible billing processes. 

And consumers’ expectations for their digital payment experience continue to evolve–32% of consumers would choose contactless payments, like Venmo, Zelle, and Apple Pay while the desire to pay with cash and checks decreased. 

What risks do providers face when they are not in tune to patient payment and billing preferences in their healthcare community?

Like it or not, your patients’ demand for innovative, flexible payment options will continue to increase. In fact, the 2021 Patient Payment Technology Report shows that 65% of patients would pay their balances faster if their billing preferences are used, highlighting that patient payment preferences simply cannot be ignored any longer. 

Healthcare providers that proactively plan a strategy to meet and exceed patient’s demands will achieve greater patient engagement and loyalty. If providers ignore these preferences, they risk losing their patients to savvy competitors in the ever-expanding marketplace. 

How should providers plan their digital payment and billing strategies for 2022 and beyond? 

By bringing together the right data, the right technology partners, and advanced patient financial engagement solutions, I believe the market will see some incredible disruptions in the coming years. It’s important to take time to step back and build a digital patient payment and billing strategy to prepare you for the next wave of change.

First, take time to build an integrated, holistic plan. Use resources, like the 2021 Patient Payment Technology Report, to determine what your patients expect in the digital payment space. Discuss how you can leverage tools to improve the patient experience for the 47% of patients who prefer a text or email billing communication over a printed statement. 

Once you identify the gaps, find the right technology partner to help you architect a flexible patient payment model that is intuitive and streamlined. Be sure to incorporate best practices from other industries, like retail and banking, to emulate the consumer-friendly, flexible, and reliable digital payment experience that all consumers have come to expect.

How can Salucro help providers incorporate these findings into their patient financial experience?

While many healthcare providers do recognize the need for innovation in their digital payment experience, their primary focus is clinical care and they may not have the bandwidth or expertise to drive the necessary improvements to their payment or billing process. These challenges leave many providers with a host of manual processes to manage, and less than optimal feedback related to their patient financial experiences. 

Salucro partners with healthcare providers to help them deploy market-leading patient payment and billing solutions, that ultimately help to automate manual processes, reduce the cost to collect, drive more patient payments and ultimately improve brand loyalty for their healthcare community.  

By leveraging data from the 2021 Patient Payment Technology Report and collaborating with technology partners, like Salucro, providers can ensure that they’re ready for the next wave of change in the digital patient experience and understand the driving forces behind patient preferences. 

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