Posts Tagged ‘patient experience’

Guest Post: Why Healthcare Marketers Should Care about the Patient Financial Experience

August 9th, 2018 by Will Reilly

In most cases, health system marketing is focused on dynamic content on healthcare organizations’ latest clinical advancements, philanthropic efforts, wellness management and relationship-building efforts within the communities they serve. It’s also understanding patients and their motivations, using consumer research and analysis, focus groups, surveys and other tools.

Healthcare marketing does not often include the healthcare billing experience, which is understandable. Frank discussions about finances remain a taboo in our society. The rising costs of healthcare—and the increasingly large percentage of that cost carried by the patient—makes this a delicate subject for even the most talented marketing team.

Yet, patient financing is a core pillar of a health system’s ability to deliver a positive experience to consumers and capture their loyalty.

According to HIMSS, “patient financial touch points…may exceed the number of clinical touch points,” yet its specific impact on the patient’s perception of the health system is rarely measured beyond common—and often incomplete—metrics like point-of-service collection rates, call abandonment rates and registration wait times.

Even HCAHPS, the national standardized survey that ties performance results to reimbursement, does not capture a patients’ financial experience, even though that experience can negatively impact a health system’s scores.

Healthcare’s Financial Quagmire

Imagine a state-of-the-art health system. The clinical care is second to none. The staff is highly professional and empathetic. The amenities and design details ensure a comfortable and reassuring stay.

Then the bills come. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later. Some come by e-mail, others by the post office. Some contradict each other, some are wholly unexpected and some are just plain wrong. According to a 2017 report from the Center of Healthcare Quality & Payment Reform, 70 percent of patients find their medical bills confusing.

Strong, trusted relationships between provider and consumer have been nurtured over generations, but they are being eroded one faceless statement at a time by what has become a significant “kitchen table” issue across almost all consumer demographic groups across the country: how to deal with the high costs and frustrating experience of healthcare billing today.

The patient financial experience is ripe for marketing innovation. The changing dynamics of U.S. healthcare has left the patient bearing more and more of the financial responsibility for their treatment. Every statement sent by the provider to a consumer is an opportunity for the provider brand to show up in a positive way: with clarity, transparency, flexibility and compassion. But too often each billing statement is a brand opportunity lost—a disappointing financial experience that follows a positive clinical experience.

The work to be done to address the high overall cost of healthcare in the United States doesn’t change the fact that extraordinary improvements can and should be made in patient satisfaction with the billing process right now.

So what should marketers do about it? Here are three starting points:

  1. Understand the Patient Financial Experience

    Spend time with your revenue cycle team to understand existing policies and approaches to working with consumer as payer. Revenue cycle teams are on the front line of the provider-consumer experience as never before. Beyond the financial consequences of every dollar left on the table by the health system are very personal, human stories.

    One of the hard realities is that provider billing is managed very differently than other financial obligations consumers face every day. It’s complicated and confusing, and the balances are often large and unexpected.

    What financing terms does your health system offer (beyond financial assistance)? What do your paper or digital statements look like, and how many are sent each week? What is the average post-insurance balance owed by patients and how has that changed over the last five years? How easy is it to pay a bill over time? How much of the total revenue of your health system is due from patients rather than commercial or government payers?

    Armed with this information, you’ll have a good understanding of the way your health system shows up to consumers today and what’s at stake. The most important thing to remember is that “one size fits all” actually fits no one.

  2. Measure the Experience

    We know that patients’ financial experience informs their overall impression of a healthcare provider, but how can that be measured?

    Use focus groups and online panel groups to talk to patients about the financial experience, and measure satisfaction with the current billing experience. A simple five box customer satisfaction survey will get the lay of the land. Or you could find out your financial experience NPS score.

    Once the program is in place, it’s important to use the right type of data and reporting to measure results. This platform should include a feedback loop that allows healthcare organizations to continually optimize and improve financial and satisfaction outcomes. Failure to include this element in the patient financial interaction platform will result in a sub-optimal experience for both patient and provider.

  3. Develop a Patient Financial Journey

    Think about the end-to-end patient financial experience. What determines how patients look at their financial interactions with your system? It could be balance due, demographics, clinical condition, or other things. Can you identify patient financial segments that share common characteristics for whom you can design a better experience?

    Understanding the financial side of your brand experience is an important building block in the overall effort to offer a positive consumer experience across the continuum of care.

About the Author:

Will Reilly

Will Reilly

Will Reilly is the Vice President of Consumer and Client Marketing at VisitPay. He has more than 15 years of marketing and branding experience at major corporations and startups in Europe and the United States, including IBM.

Guest Post: Increase HCAHPS Scores Through Healthcare Design

July 10th, 2018 by Rebecca Donner

Improving HCAHPS scores from an interior design perspective.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey was established as a way to measure patients’ perspectives on healthcare and make comparisons across hospitals based on the patient experience. Receiving a high score can boost hospitals’ Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement, while a low score can decrease funding by as much as 2 percent. Because HCAHPS scores can affect a hospital’s bottom line, it provides an incentive for them to place a greater focus on patient experience to receive a high score.

There a number of ways to increase a HCAHPS score, including patient communication and respect, speediness, cleanliness and even pain management procedures. But one way that may be overlooked is how to raise that score through interior design. There are a number of ways to approach HCAHPS scores from a design perspective.

Noise Reduction

With so much commotion in hospitals, it can be difficult for patients to rest, which is a key component to the healing process. Standard noise levels should be 35 dB(A) during the day and 30 d(B)A at night, but peak noise levels in hospitals often exceed 85 to 90 db(A), according to the Center for Health Design.

Aside from limiting overhead announcements and machine beeping, hospitals can reduce noise by focusing on the materials they use inside their facility. Carpet tiles or rubber flooring, as opposed to tile, can reduce the noise of foot traffic outside patient rooms. In addition, acoustic wall coverings and ceiling tiles act as giant sonic sponges, soaking up unwanted noise and echo. This can prevent any loud conversations or unwanted noises from traveling down hallways.

Privacy

Privacy and comfort rank high in ways to improve patient experience. According to the 2016 Hospital Construction Survey, many hospitals are now converting semi-private rooms into private rooms to increase patient privacy. After all, no one wants to share a room with a stranger during what can be one of the scariest times in someone’s life. Plus, two patients in a room can increase the chance of infection.

Many hospitals are also increasing the square footage of patient rooms. This way, even if two patients are sharing a room, they each have plenty of private space.

Personal Controls

To make the hospital feel like home as much as possible, many facilities are now offering patients greater control over the lighting, temperature and window shades in their rooms. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to how warm or cool, or how dark or bright, they want a room to be. Personal dimming controls allow patients to adjust the lighting depending on their activity, whether they are trying to sleep or need extra light for reading or examinations. Giving patients control over these variables can lead to higher patient satisfaction.

Mobility

Hospitals with high mobility and accessibility receive higher HCAHPS scores. Installing handrails makes it easier for patients to get to the bathroom, and wide bathrooms give patients the space they need when using the facilities.

About the Author:

Rebecca Donner

Rebecca Donner

Rebecca Donner is the owner and founder of Nashville-based healthcare interior design firm Inner Design Studio. For more information.

Infographic: Provider Appointment Wait Times

May 23rd, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

With an on-demand economy, patients value convenience in their healthcare experience, according to a new infographic by athenahealth, Inc.

The infographic examines patients’ perceptions and the impact of provider appointment wait times, along with ways to reduce these wait times.

UnityPoint Health has moved from a siloed approach to improving the patient experience at each of its locations to a system-wide approach that encompasses a consistent, baseline experience while still allowing for each institution to address its specific needs.

Armed with data from its Press Ganey and CAHPS® Hospital Survey scores, UnityPoint’s patient experience team developed a front-line staff-driven improvement action plan.

Improving the Patient Experience: Engaging Front-line Staff for a System-Wide Action Plan, a 45-minute webinar on July 27th, now available for replay, Paige Moore, director, patient experience at UnityPoint Health—Des Moines, shares how the organization switched from a top-down, leadership-driven patient experience improvement approach to one that engages front-line staff to own the process.

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Infographic: The Journey to Population Wellness

May 21st, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Population health has become a puzzle of processes and technologies to improve health outcomes, enhance the physician-patient experience, and reduce costs. The healthcare industry must work together to chart a path toward interoperability, analytics and care tools that will impact the future of population health and wellness, according to a new infographic by Transcend Insights.

The infographic helps convey this journey in alignment with key findings from a Healthcare Financial Management Association executive survey on population health.

Care Coordination in an ACO: Population Health Management from Wellness to End-of-LifeWhen acknowledging its position as a top-ranking Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), Memorial Hermann is quick to credit its own physicians—who in 2007 lobbied for a clinically integrated network that formed the foundation of the current Memorial Hermann accountable care organization (ACO). Now, collaboration and integration continue to be the engines driving the ACO’s cost savings, reduced utilization and healthy patient engagement rates associated with Memorial Hermann ACO’s highest-risk population.

Care Coordination in an ACO: Population Health Management from Wellness to End-of-Life details Memorial Hermann’s carefully executed journey to quality and the culmination of the ACO’s community-based care management program.

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Infographic: The Digital Patient Journey

April 23rd, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Patients rely heavily on digital sources for information and support at many points along their patient journey – making patient journey mapping a complex, fragmented exercise, according to a new infographic by Decisions Resource Group (DRG).

The infographic highlights key digital touch points along the patient journey from DRG’s studies of patient behavior and attitudes.

UnityPoint Health has moved from a siloed approach to improving the patient experience at each of its locations to a system-wide approach that encompasses a consistent, baseline experience while still allowing for each institution to address its specific needs.

Armed with data from its Press Ganey and CAHPS® Hospital Survey scores, UnityPoint’s patient experience team developed a front-line staff-driven improvement action plan.

Improving the Patient Experience: Engaging Front-line Staff for a System-Wide Action Plan, a 45-minute webinar on July 27th, now available for replay, Paige Moore, director, patient experience at UnityPoint Health—Des Moines, shares how the organization switched from a top-down, leadership-driven patient experience improvement approach to one that engages front-line staff to own the process.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Infographic: Assessing Patient Communication

January 19th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Healthcare providers can increase the chance of their words having their desired effect by assessing their communication skills in the moment, according to a new infographic by Health Communication Partners.

The infographic gives you five essential patient communication elements and five questions you can ask about your communication.

UnityPoint Health has moved from a siloed approach to improving the patient experience at each of its locations to a system-wide approach that encompasses a consistent, baseline experience while still allowing for each institution to address its specific needs.

Armed with data from its Press Ganey and CAHPS® Hospital Survey scores, UnityPoint’s patient experience team developed a front-line staff-driven improvement action plan.

Improving the Patient Experience: Engaging Front-line Staff for a System-Wide Action Plan, a 45-minute webinar on July 27th, now available for replay, Paige Moore, director, patient experience at UnityPoint Health—Des Moines, shares how the organization switched from a top-down, leadership-driven patient experience improvement approach to one that engages front-line staff to own the process.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Infographic: Who is Your Healthcare Customer?

January 12th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Each consumer has their own unique set of health and wellness concerns and how healthcare organizations market to them should be just as unique, according to a new infographic by Precision Dialogue Marketing.

The infographic provides a snapshot of four generations of healthcare customers.

UnityPoint Health has moved from a siloed approach to improving the patient experience at each of its locations to a system-wide approach that encompasses a consistent, baseline experience while still allowing for each institution to address its specific needs.

Armed with data from its Press Ganey and CAHPS® Hospital Survey scores, UnityPoint’s patient experience team developed a front-line staff-driven improvement action plan.

Improving the Patient Experience: Engaging Front-line Staff for a System-Wide Action Plan, a 45-minute webinar on July 27th, now available for replay, Paige Moore, director, patient experience at UnityPoint Health—Des Moines, shares how the organization switched from a top-down, leadership-driven patient experience improvement approach to one that engages front-line staff to own the process.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Infographic: Technology and Patient Empathy

January 8th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

The vast majority of physicians agree that patient empathy is very important. However, one in five physicians admits empathy for patients is decreasing over time, according to a new infographic by the Digital Health Coalition.

The infographic examines the importance of clinical empathy, patient empathy trends over time and the growing trend toward tele-empathy.

Patient Portal Roll-Out Strategy: Activating and Engaging Patients in Self-Care and Population HealthIncreasing patient portal usage is one of several key attributes that contribute to better performing physician practices, according to new research from the Medical Group Management Association. Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN)’s patient portal launch in 2015 and its continued growth in portal users has earned it the distinction of being the fastest growing patient portal on the Epic platform. Since that time, LVHN continues to promote the portal through targeted communications and add new features to increase activation and engagement.

During Patient Portal Roll-Out Strategy: Activating and Engaging Patients in Self-Care and Population Health, a 45-minute webinar on November 15th, now available for replay, Lindsay Altimare, director of operations, Lehigh Valley Physician Group at LVHN and Dr. Michael Sheinberg, medical director, medical informatics, Epic transformation, LVHN, share the initial portal roll-out strategy as well as the key details on how portal engagement and functionality have evolved since its launch.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Infographic: Trending in Digital Healthcare

December 8th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

A focus on improving the customer experience is driving collaboration and co-innovation across the healthcare ecosystem, according to a new infographic by Axway.

The infographic examines how customer experience (CX) networks are used in healthcare and the top business benefits of these networks.

UnityPoint Health has moved from a siloed approach to improving the patient experience at each of its locations to a system-wide approach that encompasses a consistent, baseline experience while still allowing for each institution to address its specific needs.

Armed with data from its Press Ganey and CAHPS® Hospital Survey scores, UnityPoint’s patient experience team developed a front-line staff-driven improvement action plan.

Improving the Patient Experience: Engaging Front-line Staff for a System-Wide Action Plan, a 45-minute webinar on July 27th, now available for replay, Paige Moore, director, patient experience at UnityPoint Health—Des Moines, shares how the organization switched from a top-down, leadership-driven patient experience improvement approach to one that engages front-line staff to own the process.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Data Analytics, SDOH Screenings Flag Disengaged and 12 More Patient Engagement Trends

October 5th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

More than 70 percent of healthcare organizations have created formal patient engagement initiatives, according to 2017 benchmarks from the Healthcare Intelligence Network.


To identify individuals that are poorly engaged in their health, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of healthcare organizations mine clinical data analytics, according to the 2017 Patient Engagement Survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network, while 37 percent screen patients for social determinants of health related to housing, care access, transportation, nutrition and finances.

Patients who screen positive for social determinants of health (SDOH) and individuals with diabetes are typically the most difficult populations to engage, according to 2017 survey benchmarks.

Thirty-five percent of respondents to the September 2017 survey said the presence of SDOHs, which the World Health Organization defines as “conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age,” pose the greatest challenge to health engagement, while 26 percent said a diabetes diagnosis presents the top clinical challenge to engagement interventions.

One-quarter report some resolution of SDOH factors resulting from engagement efforts.

To improve engagement, 75 percent of respondents rely on education of patients, family and caregivers, supported with telephonic outreach (13 percent) and home visits (13 percent).

Efforts by 71 percent of respondents to create a formal patient engagement program underscore the critical role of engagement in healthcare’s value-based care and reimbursement models, particularly in regards to chronic illness.

In other survey findings:

  • Patient experience rankings are the most reliable measure of engagement program success, say 43 percent.
  • For one quarter of respondents, patient engagement is the primary domain of case managers.
  • Eighty-three percent saw quality metrics improve as a result of patient engagement efforts.
  • Half attributed a drop in hospital emergency room visits to their patient engagement interventions.

Download an executive summary of the 2017 Patient Engagement Survey.