A comprehensive patient engagement strategy must not only include all the tools available to connect patients to their care, it also must include all the tools available to connect patients to their financial information and options to manage payment for their care. So says RelayHealth, an IT business unit of McKesson Corp., in a new white paper called “Financial Patient Engagement: Best Practices to Increase Collections.” By providing those financial tools to patients, hospitals and other providers will improve their bottom lines as well as patients’ satisfaction, according to the four-page report.

In the white paper, RelayHealth outlines the essential components of a successful financial patient engagement strategy. Among them are thoughtful, data-rich patient education and communication at each point in the revenue cycle management process, from pre-service to point-of-service to post-service. And at each point in the revenue cycle, providers must have systems and tools in place that connect all the players involved, including financial services, call centers, collection agencies and patients. Only by doing that will providers have “…a complete, end-to-end process for informing staff, education patients and collecting self-pay dollars at every opportunity. And self-pay dollars are a key part of the equation in 2013,” according to RelayHealth.

The white paper also says providers will see the greatest return on their investment in their financial engagement strategies if those strategies offer patients the same payment options and conveniences that they’ve come to expect based on their experiences with the consumer retail world. Those options and conveniences should include:

  • Fast online credit card payment available 24 hours a day
  • Scheduled payment plans
  • E-mail payment reminders
  • Secure e-mail access to the business office to answer questions
  • Well-crafted, easy-to-understand payment statements

“While clinical patient engagement helps healthcare providers qualify for Meaningful Use financial incentives and improve quality of care, including a financial component can also yield significant benefits, such as more peace of mind for patients and better financial health for your organization,” the white paper concludes.

Download “Financial Patient Engagement: Best Practices to Increase Collections.” 

Download a related white paper on estimating patients’ upfront expenses, “Credible, Defensible Estimates: More Accurate Upfront Financial Calculations Bring Increased Revenue, Satisfaction with Entire Experience.”