When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., healthcare organizations took a necessary all-hands-on-deck approach. Providers quickly rose to the occasion, changing their care delivery model to treat COVID-19 patients while keeping other patients – as well as clinicians and staff – safe.
As healthcare leaders implement a strategy for surviving after the COVID-19 crisis, it’s imperative that patient experience play a major role. Before they’ll considering returning for an appointment or elective surgery, patients must trust that their providers will keep them safe. This means your patients want continued, ongoing communication about what you’re doing to prevent exposure to contagion. They want to learn about virtual care methods like telehealth and make sure you’re offering digital self-service options.
To achieve this, healthcare providers will need to review or reset their patient engagement strategy. They must acknowledge what’s broken to patients right now – and understand that patient experience transcends the clinical setting and includes every touchpoint, including financial and administrative interactions.
In addition, it’s important to leverage what disruptors outside healthcare are doing. While healthcare differs from other industries, these learnings can have many applications. For instance, Amazon’s model for continuous, ongoing customer engagement can be applied to the end-to-end patient experience. The revenue cycle should be utilized as a mechanism to drive a consistent, streamlined and effortless experience, which in turn, will increase patient satisfaction.
A trusted revenue cycle partner will help you implement strategies to improve patient experience, including how to:
Unless repealed or postponed due to COVID-19, the new price transparency law is slated to take effect January 1, 2021. Hospitals will be required to publicly share the rates they’ve negotiated with insurers, the rates they charge self-pay and out-of-network patients and will need to give patients this same cost information in an easy-to-read format for 300 “shoppable” services. Price estimation is difficult to determine without a true end-to-end standardized and componentized revenue cycle process. To drive accuracy and optimal patient experience, hospitals must conform the revenue cycle to an efficient and specialized standard operating procedure.
Accurate, pre-service price estimation can be a game changer. In an R1 study, we found that just by informing patients up front of their likely costs, they paid their bill 20 percent more often than when they were not informed. The earlier the patient pays or commits to pay, the more likely the hospital will receive payment and avoid bad debt.
Standardization and componentization of the end-to-end process is critical to deliver a more convenient experience to patients. By reducing the revenue cycle into granular atomic tasks, you can optimize its operation through highly efficient and specialized staff and streamline the patient experience through automation.
A broader, more patient-centric form of financial patient engagement isn’t linear. Instead, it’s an ongoing loop that restarts every time the patient has a new care encounter and continues to proactively engage throughout the care continuum. While healthcare differs from other industries, a patient-centric paradigm is very applicable. A new, seamless clinical and financial experience has the potential to lead to true disruption in your market as you immerse your patients in a truly meaningful engagement with their health, their providers and with their medical finances.
By transforming the revenue cycle to become completely patient-centric, you can provide an engaging experience across all clinical, administrative and financial activities. In doing so, your organization can deliver the new and innovative value the healthcare market is ripe for – and emerge from the COVID-19 crisis as a winner.