Within the last decade, patient responsibility regarding healthcare payments has evolved and increased. In the past, people relied heavily on employers and healthcare providers to manage the intricacies of their healthcare plans and payments. Over time, however, patients have been paying more attention and taking responsibility for their healthcare costs.
Unfortunately, many in the U.S. are still slow to jump on board, finding the healthcare payment process stressful. A West Corp study found that 56% of Americans delay medical payments to some extent. The report also found that millennial patients are more likely to make late payments than their older counterparts. With millennials beginning to age and forming a larger proportion of medical patients, healthcare providers have to react to their unique communication preferences and financial behavior when conducting outreach for outstanding payments.
Digital transformation and technology, along with consumer demand for a better customer experience, are driving healthcare providers and lenders to ensure consumers can understand, manage, and pay their bills.
To meet the demand for a centralized and convenient means of medical payment collection, providers and lenders need to close the communications gap that is making the payment process ineffective and inefficient.
Why providers and lenders struggle to settle medical payments
Outdated communication methods are still used for payment reminders
While more customers prefer to use digital methods of communication ranging from email to messaging, business communications have lagged behind. Many customers still receive payment reminders via traditional postal service delivery. This can result in customers receiving statements, bills, and payment reminders late or not at all; potentially incurring fines and penalties that lead to a poor customer experience and negatively impacting the healthcare provider.
Financial options available to them are inflexible
A report by Deloitte found that healthcare expenditure in the U.S was increasing at a steady pace. At the same time, payment options remained rigid and inflexible, forcing customers into expensive payment plans that only increased the financial strain on the patient. Emerging software models have allowed businesses to provide a variety of integrated payment options at the point of communication.
3 ways to improve accounts receivable communication for healthcare providers
Customize your approach to each patient’s past financial behavior
Customers in the healthcare sector are unique and have personal communication needs. Healthcare providers often follow a standard protocol that does not account for these differences between patients. Using artificial intelligence, payment reminder messages can be customized to reflect the customer’s preferred communication tone, frequency, and channel. This becomes even more important as digitally savvy patients expect high levels of personalization when receiving messages from businesses.
Drive customer loyalty with personalized payment reminders
The lifetime value of a healthcare patient is approximately $600,000. This means that healthcare providers that can keep their customers engaged and satisfied have a higher chance of keeping this value from being lost to competing hospitals or clinics. A recent study on healthcare payment experiences found that digital communication is crucial for maintaining customer loyalty, particularly among younger patients, with over a fifth of patients saying that they would switch healthcare providers if their preferred provider did not provide digital payment reminders. With modern white-labeled software, providers can outsource personalized payment reminders and payment options while keeping their brand front and center.
Engage patients on their preferred platforms
In the digital era, patients are consistently shunning traditional methods of communication in favor of mobile-friendly digital platforms. Although more healthcare providers and lenders are using consumer-focused strategies to collect payments, automating payments and communications—while ensuring patient data is secure—improves the payment process. Communicating with patients on their preferred platform not only increases the likelihood of patients seeing and responding to financial correspondence, but white label software also helps healthcare providers develop a positive long-term relationship with their patients.
With clear communication and awareness of financial options available, a coherent and cohesive digital communications plan can be implemented to help healthcare and insurance providers reach out to their patients efficiently and effectively. With advanced AI algorithms and user-friendly software, companies can ensure that customers are fully aware of their outstanding balances and are given integrated payment options to respond to payment reminders efficiently.
To find out how you can use white label communications software to transform patient outreach in financial matters, schedule a demo with us today.