HealthLeaders recently interviewed Chris Johnson, vice president of revenue cycle management for Atrium Health in North Carolina, regarding the patient financial experience and self-service.  Recent surveys have shown that patients are looking for more self-service and have also taken advantage of telemedicine during the pandemic to eliminate unnecessary interactions.  In a recent survey by doctors.com83% of patients expect to use telemedicine even after the pandemic resolves.  Self-service and telemedicine have become critical drivers for providers to gain loyalty from patients. 

However, healthcare billing is complex and Johnson believes that moving 100% towards self-service would not be effective as patients need opportunities to speak to someone regarding amounts due and how it was calculated. If the process is difficult, patients will opt out of online portals and may put obligations aside until they receive their next statement. 

Instead, Johnson believes health systems should use a combination of methods to make paying bills easy for patients, in the format they want.  One strategy Atrium Health uses is to make sure they provide a variety of payment options for patients.  Using payment plans is an option that is widely adopted by their patients.  Using AccessOne’s patient financing solution, patients have access to affordable payment plans that every patient qualifies for.   

Using a variety of options that include 0% interest and lower monthly payments with interest, and the flexibility to switch programs when necessary, has been a driver of patient satisfaction and high net collection rates.  It also gives patients the ability to manage their accounts 24/7 through an online portal, a 24/7 self-service phone line, as well as live agents through multiple call centers.   

“It is our goal to give our patients every single option that we can think of—and that they can dream of—to pay their bill,” Johnson says. 

To read the full article, click here: Why Paying Your Hospital Bill is Not like Making a Retail Purchase