Healthcare organizations are facing more competition than ever. If your organization does not have patient-friendly billing, then you could be pushing patients to competitors.
Adopting patient-friendly billing may be easier than you think. By implementing patient-friendly billing standards today, you can create better patient outcomes, customer service, and revenue cycle optimization.
Keep reading to discover some of the best and most proven strategies for creating patient-friendly billing standards.
Analyze Patient Billing Data to Identify Problem Areas
Your patient billing system may already be good – but there is always room for improvement.
Analyze patient billing data to identify problem areas. Check metrics to make sure you understand how patients are managing your billing system and what steps you can take to improve.
Revcycle recommends checking three crucial metrics to identify problem areas within your patient billing system:
- Average Days from Statement to Payment:In a perfect world, every patient pays on time, and your payment date is soon after your statement date. In the real world, that’s rarely the case. That’s why the number of days between your statement and payment is a crucial metric when analyzing your billing system. Every day that a claim goes unpaid is a day your cash flow suffers. As payment dates drag out, payments become increasingly costly to collect. Your goal is to minimize the length of days between your statement date and payment date.
- Cost to Collect:Your healthcare organization could have poor revenueoptimization because of high collection costs. To measure the cost to collect, check the amount collected and then subtract the delivery cost and labor cost. Consider the number of calls you needed to make, for example, or the time staff spent answering billing questions. All of these things increase costs on your end without increasing your payment.
- Revenue Per Statement: How much revenue does your organization receive based on the number of statements sent? Are certain statement formats superior to others? Split test different patient billing statements to determine the best way of presenting information to patients. To analyze the effectiveness of your new patient billing system versus your old system, check the revenue per statement.
How Patient Friendly Billing Works
The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) has collected a list of the best patient-friendly billing strategies. By implementing these changes today, your organization can make it easier for patients to understand, accept, and pay each bill.
The HFMA emphasizes four foundational principles of a patient-friendly billing system, including:
Clear: Bills should be written in plain language. They should be easy for anyone to understand. Patients should be able to quickly determine what they need to do with that information.
Concise: Bills should contain the right amount of detail to communicate the message, but not too much detail to confuse customers.
Correct: Bills should not include estimates, incomplete information, or errors. All information on the bill should be accurate and correct.
Patient Friendly: The design of the bill statement should be based around the needs of the patient and the patient’s family – not the needs of the healthcare organization.
Patient Friendly Billing Techniques to Implement Today
According to the HFMA, these are some of the best patient-friendly changes to make to your billing system today:
- Consider the needs of patients and their family members when designing administrative processes and communications. Understand that patients could be angry, sad, frustrated, or confused. Train staff to deal with these emotions.
- Gather information and coordinate with other providers and insurers. Coordinating efforts allows the collection process to be done efficiently, privately, and with as little repetition as possible.
- Do not communicate financial information during the medical encounter unless necessary.
- All patient billing statements should contain plain language the patient can easily understand. They should not contain jargon, ambiguous terms, or terms the average person would not understand unless necessary.
Organizations should continue to improve the billing process by incorporating better practices, implementing feedback from patients, and analyzing billing data.
3 Ways to Test your New Patient Billing System
We’ve explained simple changes to make to your patient billing system. Now, it’s time to test those changes in the real world.
To do that, test your patient billing system using the following techniques:
Set Benchmarks: You’ve invested in a new patient billing system. Set benchmarks. Say you want to reduce the statement date and payment date by 5 days, on average, for example. Use the metrics mentioned above to set practical goals.
Evaluate Costs: A new patient billing system could be cheaper or more expensive. Evaluate the costs of the billing system. Consider mailing costs, software costs, technology costs, and other expenses.
Isolate Changes and Split Test: Maybe you made a dozen changes to your billing system in the last week. You improved your billing processes, but you don’t know which process led to which improvement. Isolate changes and split test to see which changes work best.
By monitoring the three metrics above, you can calculate return on investment. Continue to track these measurements over time to ensure you maintain the most efficient possible patient billing system.
Discover Efficient Patient Billing with HMI, LLC
Patient-friendly billing is crucial for revenue cycle optimization. As revenue cycle management specialists, we can implement actionable changes to your billing system to improve your billing processes.
Schedule a consultation with HMI, LLC today to discover the best patient-friendly billing strategies.