Evaluating RCM Partners with the Patient Experience in Mind
Revenue cycle technology and choosing the right RCM partner go hand-in-hand to provide efficient and personalized interactions for patients, as well as cost savings and increased propensity to pay for health systems. In fact, research from The Health Management Academy (The Academy) showed that 93% of health systems rely on at least one strategic RCM outsourcing partner.
In the search for the best patient experience solution and partner, health systems will need to look further than scaled technology, cost reduction, and sophisticated analytics. While those are absolute “musts” on the list, it’s important to look through the lens of the patient in order to provide the best experience.
Learning how you can find the best holistic revenue cycle partner to meet the needs of your health system while increasing patient satisfaction is the first step.
Putting Patients in the Driver’s Seat
Rapidly evolving technology coupled with the ever-changing complexities of healthcare revenue cycle management has led to an increase in providers seeking an outside partner. While health systems are looking for avenues to reduce costs, protect and increase revenue and thoughtfully engage patients, consider what your patients are looking for and how that might influence the outcomes you also desire.
Patients expect a seamless digital experience in healthcare, similar to what they encounter in banking, retail, dining, and other industries. They should be able to easily access and manage their medical bills, review payment options, and receive real-time updates on their financial transactions. While the healthcare industry is playing catchup to the evolving digital-first trend, the COVID pandemic sped up the industry’s adoption of patient-facing technology.
When you find the right partner that can keep up with evolving technology and patient needs, the benefits have ripple effects across your organization. Improved patient satisfaction leads to better patient engagement and financial outcomes, which then builds patient trust and loyalty – elements which all contribute to meeting the needs of patients and the communities you serve.
Taking a People, Process and Technology Approach to Patient Payments
When it comes to patient engagement, it’s tempting to only consider the digital aspects. A full financial suite of options should include price transparency tools, bill consolidation options and customized payment plans, which should all be considered when vetting a revenue cycle partner.
However, that’s only one part of the equation. Rather, a truly thoughtful patient engagement partner considers the entire picture, which includes people, processes and technology to ensure you’re providing the most optimized experience for patients as well as your staff.
As with any technology solution, there will always be a need for compassionate human services with patient engagement solutions. Look for a partner that can serve all patients, no matter their level of comfort with technology. While a tech-savvy patient may have no problems paying in an online portal, a less tech-savvy patient may require instructions or assistance to pay over the phone or navigate a user portal.
When you focus on technology and added human services, it helps increase patient satisfaction rates while lowering your cost to collect. Just how important is the billing experience? According to the 2023 Revenue Intelligence™ Data and Insights Report, 56% of patients would recommend a provider based on billing experience alone. That’s why it’s important to choose a patient engagement partner that puts patients’ needs at the forefront of the financial experience by:
- Giving patients the same payment options no matter how they pay. Whether they call in or pay online, offer the same personalized options.
- Offering compassionate assistance when patients need help or want to interact with a human to help them choose the right option or navigate technology.
- Lowering the speed to answer calls and the resolution rate, saving your patients time and lowering frustration with multiple callbacks or long hold times.
For health systems considering a new RCM partnership, it helps to take a deep dive and analyze your current processes and identify your top areas for improvement. For the best results, remember to choose a partner that focuses on people, processes and technology delivered as one robust solution.