Nowadays, people choose where they want to receive care the same way they pick where they’d like to eat or shop. It’s important to learn what folks in the service industry have known for a long time: In order to succeed, you must manage the customer experience from start to finish. Patients have a lot of options for health care providers. In order to thrive you need to succeed at both patient acquisition, as well as retention.
Let’s look at the story of Joe. Joe made the mistake of forgetting to put on oven mitts when he picked up a hot plate of lasagna. A few things come to mind for where he’s going to get his hand treated: Where is the nearest facility? What are the reviews like online? Is the cost transparent and affordable? As you can see, your facility is analyzed well before the patient even walks through your doors. In order to get Joe to pick your facility, you’re going to need to check multiple, if not all the above boxes, or he’s going to be heading to one of your competitors.
Picking a convenient location and providing an exceptional experience is critical, but in this piece i’m going to hone in on the topic of price transparency. Patients are craving a better understanding of what they’re paying for and why. It all starts with consumer-friendly billing, which begins with engaging the patient at the point-of-service. People want to have an idea of how much their visit is going to cost them the same way we glance at the tag before purchasing clothes or the menu before ordering food. This not only gives them a better chance of making sure they can afford their treatment, it also forces you to better understand the costs associated with running your business. Knowing your margins allows you to charge competitively, which is key for patient retention.
By beginning the patient’s financial experience at the point-of-service you also open yourself up to being able to collect part of the payment upfront. I’ve worked with numerous providers over the past 7 years that I spent in revenue cycle management. It’s far too common for facilities to be concerned with recouping their expenses. By implementing upfront payments, you put yourself in a much better position to cover essential costs and stay out of the red.
Now that patients have more choice on where to receive care, the pressure is on you to deliver the best complete experience. This starts before they even arrive at your facility and doesn’t end until the bill is paid. Are you up to the challenge?
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