End-to-end patient experience becomes top priority in today’s evolving revenue cycle
Regardless of how good the average experience of a patient has been during their time at any given healthcare system, what often determines their general memories of their experience is the financial resolution that follows after. High costs and/or a difficult payment process can tarnish a patient’s perception and greatly affect their opinion on said healthcare system as a whole. One of our own team members experienced a similar situation in which she chose not to return to one of her specialist doctors because their outpatient coder mishandled her bill, resulting in her insurance not covering the charge and her bill sitting in revision. In today’s world, you can leave a review of your experience virtually anywhere where payment is exchanged. It is because of this that health systems need to prioritize reinforcing the structure of their back end and front end financial processes to make them look, feel, and behave more like online retail or personal banking environments.
“Patient payment behavior is changing the revenue cycle. Rising insurance deductibles and higher out-of-pocket medical expenses mean up to 30% of a health system’s revenue is now derived from the patient-as-payer population” (Visitpay.com, 2019). The revenue cycle of today has drastically changed from that of the past few decades and is only continuing to evolve as technology continues to advance, enabling patients to have a greater role in the process. As with many processes in the healthcare industry, revenue cycle has turned into a hybrid of the old structures and guidelines and new methodology. The way in which patients pay their bills has continued to change as well. “Rising insurance deductibles and higher out-of-pocket medical expenses mean up to 30% of a health system’s revenue is now derived from the patient-as-payer population.” (Visitpay.com, 2019).
An answer and stand-out solution to the question of what can be done to bridge the gap between patient and provider, improving the end-to-end patient experience, is segmentation. Market segmentation in regard to the healthcare industry is a process by which medical services are designed and targeted to meet the specific needs of a particular group of customers. Utilizing this technique can help revenue cycle teams engage patients more meaningfully. It is obvious that the patient to provider ratio is staggered, meaning that you can’t engage with every patient as an individual. But in using market segmentations, health systems gain a way to address the needs of different groups of patients who exhibit similar characteristics.
The technique of segmenting, or breaking down a huge audience into smaller, more personalized groups is one that is used across all industries. Sales, hospitality, and retail along with numerous other “consumer-facing” industries make use of segmentation in order to personalize their approach and mold their information in a way that gives the consumer reassurance in feeling like their needs are being met, while not taking on the impossible task of reaching out to each one individually. Providing patient-tailored and consistent financial information throughout the care process is the answer to connecting with and meeting the patient’s needs and giving them peace of mind, while avoiding the confusion and stress that can result from the financial experience that follows.