When we talk about the patient financial experience, we tend to focus on events and interactions such as:
- Are we enabling empathetic and yet effective financial communications at the point-of-service?
- Does the design and delivery of the patient statement provide clarity and inspire action?
- Are payment tools and processes not only intuitive, but appropriate?
- Are payment options and current account status explicitly communicated to the patient?
But we also know that the patient financial experience is not an event, it’s a journey. And just as important as it is to consider each step in the process, it’s essential to consider how integrated and consistent the experience is for each patient.
According to patient insights uncovered in our 2016 Patient Financial Experience Report, more than 80% of patients value consistency in the financial experience. By consistency, we mean that the patient receives similar communications and options regardless of the point of interaction. That consistency is slightly more important to patients between the age of 25 and 44, but the importance cuts across all generations.
Consistency is a tall order, but it is achievable. It starts with a fundamental understanding of what patients want, what their unique needs or circumstances might be, and how they are most likely to engage in financial interactions. We can gain that understanding by looking at behavioral data, demographics, history and most importantly, patient preference and feedback.
Consistency drives a higher standard for personalization. It’s important to note that most patients cite that a personalized healthcare billing experience is important to them, again most commonly for patients between the age of 25 and 44. A personalized healthcare billing experience means that patients are provided communications and payment options that fit their particular needs. It stands to reason that if patients expect personalization – they expect that level of empathy to extend to every interaction.
Use what you know about a patient to create a profile – an experience roadmap, if you will – that fits the patient. Leverage that insight to tailor communications at every touchpoint, so regardless of whether your patient is speaking with your staff in person or over the phone, opening their statement in their kitchen, or interacting online, they have access to the same account history, the same payment choices, and the same channel options for the consistency they crave.