Written by Caleb Varoga on May 7, 2020
The Benefits of Innovative Online Bill Pay Offerings for Patients and Providers
Patients often live in a world where they’ve been conditioned by retail, restaurant, and entertainment industries to expect immediate and instant gratification. However, the healthcare industry has yet to catch up to consumer needs, and is often bogged down by inefficient processes, especially with regard to payments. In 2020, you can pay your phone bill by sending a quick text message to your service provider, so why don’t all healthcare providers do the same for your annual checkup? Patients want to be able to pay their healthcare bills how they pay all other bills, simply. But there are more benefits than patient satisfaction behind offering innovative, online bill pay solutions.
Building Patient Loyalty
Traditionally, while the clinical side of the healthcare industry has embodied innovation, the administrative and financial arms of healthcare have been behind the curve in being proactive, digitally-enabled, and making changes based on the needs of the average patient. The healthcare industry will need to continue to evolve its best practices, and learn from technology companies and retailers to ultimately provide the best patient experience possible. By identifying the pain points and investing in technologies and processes to overcome them, the healthcare industry can provide a personalized and improved patient experience.
Patient loyalty is generated through better overall experiences, and quality of care is often the first thing that comes to mind in this regard, but what we often fail to realize is that care delivery is only one part of the patient journey, and only one factor influencing satisfaction. If a patient has a bad experience in clinical or non-clinical areas, they may not continue to choose your facility. In our 2019 Patient Payment Technology Report our survey found that more than three out of every four consumers consider the billing and payment process to be somewhat or very important when evaluating a new medical provider, meaning that many patients are disqualifying certain institutions before they even walk in the door, regardless of quality of clinical care. While the perceived quality of clinical care may be more difficult to influence at times, all hospitals and health systems have the ability to level up their payment processes, and in turn increase loyalty, through technology partners that simplify the process.
With the continued rise in patient responsibility and pressure for revenue cycle teams to reduce their cost to collect, healthcare providers are looking for increased efficiencies from their collection teams and third-party partners. Technology integrations like market-leading patient accounting platforms paired with advanced payment functionality, along with intuitive online bill pay solutions that support resolution of balances in a self-service manner, deliver more streamlined patient financial workflows that can strongly contribute to patient brand loyalty.
Driving Revenue & Convenience
Mobile technology is prevalent in all of our daily lives, so it makes sense that it needs to be more relevant when it comes to healthcare as well. With the ability and functionality that comes with the smartphone, users have higher expectations, so having a well-designed mobile payment system will have dramatic results as far as increasing patient satisfaction as well as convenience. The more convenient you make the payment process, the more likely that a patient is actually going to make that payment.
Today’s healthcare providers are in the position to lower any barriers to their patients making payments. At Salucro we will fill that gap by making the process more convenient than ever before. Consumers are coming to expect multiple billing and payment options from service providers of all types and sizes. Offering solutions like mobile-friendly bill pay, paperless e-bills, and options to use new and emerging payment types are all ways to enhance the patient experience to drive loyalty to providers.
Our product vision is aimed at continued innovation to provide advanced technology that accommodates each and every patient payment scenario and payment preference. In fact, younger consumers seem to be the most frustrated with the patient billing processes which could increase the chance that they switch providers if they have a poor financial experience due to the lack of digital tools. Part of our strategy has been to focus on offering healthcare providers the necessary payment options designed to help drive revenue from all consumer types, including reaching that 22% of Americans on the platforms they are already using, like Venmo, PayPal, and Apple Pay.
In the coming years, we should expect to see technology companies continue to partner with providers to drive better patient engagement and experience, inclusive of a retail-like experience when it comes to paying their healthcare bills, while mostly focused on the ability to pay their outstanding balances online. We’re always trying to improve by identifying the latest consumer billing and payment innovations, and bringing them to healthcare. By identifying the pain points and investing in technologies and processes to overcome them, we can provide a tailored experience that drives patient engagement and ultimately, loyalty.