Last week, in Authentic Patient Engagement, Pt. 1 - What It Is and How to Achieve It, I began this 2-part series exploring the modern patient’s heightened expectations of healthcare providers, along with the Loyale solutions that providers are leveraging to deliver it. This week, we’ll continue to examine patient expectations while digging more deeply into the provider’s experiences and outcomes.
Patients want to be Included
Patients want to participate in their care, unlike the old days when we deferred almost entirely to our primary care physician knowing that insurance would cover the expense. Today, we do our homework. We’re informed and engaged, and we feel entitled to know what’s going on with our health. We want to engage in dialog with our provider about how they intend to treat us, how much it will cost and how we’ll be expected to pay for it. This is especially true now, when patients account for more than a third of provider revenue.
Up until now, we’ve been talking general principles, although I can support them with specific evidence-based examples. Now - to demonstrate how consideration, inclusion and choice can drive both patient loyalty and enterprise financial success - I would like to share a specific use case to illustrate how these principles are actually delivering patient loyalty in the real world.
Several well-known health enterprises, including one of the largest healthcare systems in the world, partner with Loyale to include their patients in a variety of ways. By integrating their EMR and multiple revenue cycle point solutions with the Loyale platform, they’re delivering a single, seamless online experience that tells the patient what they owe and why throughout the patient’s care journey, with effortless 2-way communication when patients have questions or comments.
In the event that actual costs are less or more than anticipated in the patient’s payment plan, the patient is alerted early using Loyale’s omni-channel communication platform. With omni-channel communications, patients receive new balance notifications, balances due, alerts and more by email, SMS (text), chat, online or with traditional channels like snail mail.
Patient Revenue Cycle Management by Evidence, Not by Anecdote
Loyale’s system analytics continually track patient revenue cycle activity, adjusting channels and the frequency of communications as actual patient behavior dictates - responding to a patient’s stated preferences and adapting to actual patient behavior.
These data-gathering capabilities power Loyale’s portfolio of provider dashboards and reports, giving these healthcare system the most comprehensive view into patient revenue cycle they has ever had. Analytics reveal what’s working and what’s not, offering critical insights to inform planning for what’s next.
Integrating to Reflect the Complete Patient Experience
The Loyale clients above are leveraging an integrated Loyale platform to combine and present clinical, administrative (scheduling, prescriptions, etc.) and financial information throughout their respective enterprises, delivering each patient a personal “digital front door” that acts as the patient’s interactive gateway to care.
At the same time, these providers’ staffs and management are benefiting from Loyale intelligent workflow capabilities - sophisticated technology that automatically designs personalized collection strategies to optimize staff productivity and improve financial performance. It is important to note here, that these clients are using Loyale to integrate not just the clinical services it owns and control, but also those affiliated professionals who are material contributors to patient care and cost.
Patient Revenue Cycle - A Portfolio Perspective
Traditionally, many healthcare providers have exercised a largest-balances-first patient collections strategy. The evidence suggests there is a better way. At Loyale, we and the Loyale clients mentioned in this article have learned that by engaging with patients personally and offering custom-tailored interactive options, the following things happen:
- Costs go down due to patient self-service, digital delivery, and staff productivity gains;
- Patient satisfaction improves because financial anxiety is reduced and the overall quality of care is more positively perceived; and
- Patient collections increase, and - because of their “financially friendly” capabilities, each provider’s market competitiveness has been enhanced.
Equally important, especially in this time of clinician burnout and overload, the experiences of staff have also improved, as they feel better supported and equipped to deliver on their very important role in the patient's total experience.
As you can see, authentic patient engagement is a big deal. But implementing it doesn’t have to be. All of the Loyale clients I’ve described in this 2-part series custom-configured and deployed their self-funding Loyale solution in a fraction of the time of ordinary technology solutions. And most experienced a return on their investment in the first year. This is in addition to the enhanced growth potential that accompanies superior patient engagement.
I began this 2-part article by observing that many in the industry are talking about patient engagement, but that we don’t all agree on what that is. I’ve attempted to bridge those differences with a values-based approach to patient engagement. An approach that begins with the premise that patients expect and deserve to exercise their right to choose; to be considered and included. And that these considerations affect every aspect of the patient’s relationship with their provider - whether it’s the care itself, or the financial and administrative elements that inevitably accompany the care.
At Loyale, we’ve engineered sophisticated solutions so providers can connect with their patients more openly, more honestly and more helpfully. To us, that’s what authentic patient engagement is all about.
The consumer-driven healthcare marketplace I envisioned when we started Loyale is becoming a reality. To say that it has been gratifying to work with industry innovators like the ones described above would be an understatement. Now, we’re looking ahead as the rest of the industry adjusts to thrive - or fail - in the new healthcare economy. We at Loyale feel privileged to play a part.