If there’s anything we crave, it’s personalization. We want nothing more than for the items we buy, the meals we eat or the clothes we wear to be made for us. And when it comes to consumerism, we as consumers expect it.
But when it comes to healthcare, patients are used to that being a much different story, especially with patient payments. Bills that didn’t come in the mail? They could only wish. A payment plan that fits their needs? If only.
So when the patient payment experience feels lackluster, even with a digital health platform, what can providers do to make the experience appeal to each patient? We pulled together some ideas that will not only make your life easier but also make a healthcare consumer’s world feel complete.
Providers use all kinds of approaches to appeal to their patients, but at PatientBond, we use an approach called psychographic segmentation to motivate healthcare consumers using five psychographic segments. By looking at a healthcare consumer’s attitudes, beliefs and values versus just their demographic characteristics, you get a clearer picture of what motivates them to take action to improve their health outcomes.
The same concept can also apply to making patient payments. For instance, if you want to motivate more proactive healthcare consumers, like Self Achievers, to pay their bills, contacting them right after their appointment to pay their bill is the best option. They want to stay on top of it and complete that goal. Willful Endurers on the other hand like to focus on other things in their life, so expect to send them several reminders to pay their bill and use language in your messaging that notes how quick and easy the process is, they will be more likely to do it.
Psychographics integrate easily within patient engagement efforts on the PatientBond Digital Health Platform, and as a result, many of our clients have found success in garnering more patient payments, reducing the amount of payments that go to collections and generating more revenue.
Itemize Patient Bills
Healthcare is already confusing enough for patients. If they can’t figure out what they’re paying for, how are they supposed to know if their bill is accurate?
When you send patients their bill through a digital health platform, clearly list what patients are paying for with an itemized bill, detailing the procedure, tests done, doctors that took part in their care and the total for each portion, including what insurance covers. It helps patients determine what they’re responsible for and what costs go into their care. If patients have questions, include the billing department’s contact info. Or, use your platform’s messaging tool. Full pricing transparency will be appreciated and is a cornerstone of consumerism.
Of course, you also want to note the due date and their options for payment, which we will get into next.
Diversify Payment Options
The days of paying by check in the mail are waning, although it is, and still should be, an option. Healthcare consumers want options when it comes to their payments, from how they pay for it to how the payment will work. These days, the most popular tend to be online.
A digital health platform makes it easy for patients to pay online using a credit card or their bank information. You could even look into other services like PayPal or Venmo.
While there are many who will want to pay all at once, that may not be preferred or even an option for others. Depending on what segment they are, you can determine what payment option a segment prefers. Online payment is the top choice among all psychographic segments according to the PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, but some also prefer PayPal like Self Achievers and Willful Endurers. The PatientBond Digital Health Platform adjusts based on each patient’s personal preference using these segments and shifts within them using AI.
As noted earlier, be sure to include contact information to your billing department or have a chat window for them to ask questions. Billing can work with patients on a case-by-case basis with a payment plan, making it easier for them to make these payments.
The last thing you want is for their bill to go to collections because it costs you money and hurts the patient experience. Going the extra mile to show you care goes a long way.
Utilize Patient Reminders
Payment reminder tools are there for a reason. Use them to your advantage and allow healthcare consumers to customize how often and how they get their payment reminders once they receive their bill online. They can choose email, text or app notifications, fitting whatever digital preference they prefer. Again, not every patient can pay right away, so having that ability to choose is invaluable to them.
When it comes down to it, patients value having choices for their healthcare needs, including bill pay. The key is trusting patients will make the decisions that fit their needs so that you can leave them with a positive patient experience and still collect the patient payments you need to build revenue.