Accelerate healthcare collections with an enhanced, secure, digital experience
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in major revenue loss for hospitals and health systems. To limit the damage, these organizations must find ways to accelerate healthcare collections for services that have already been rendered.
One recent report, prepared by Kaufman, Hall & Associates and released by the American Hospital Association (AHA) in February 2021, found that hospitals and health systems could lose $53 billion in revenue in 2021 “under the most optimistic scenario.”
The worse-case scenario is closer to $122 billion if hospitals and health systems continue to experience a slow recovery or if COVID-19 surges-this amounts to losses of 4% to 10% of total hospital revenue.
The COVID-19 pandemic: influences on hospitals, health systems, and patients
Hospitals and health care systems have been contending with a perfect storm of financial issues, some caused by the pandemic, others related to longer term trends in healthcare billing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital admission for reasons other than COVID-19 declined, as patients put off needed care. The costs of labor and supplies, including pandemic-related supplies such as PPE, increased, further narrowing margins.
Meanwhile, patients were contending with pandemic-related financial difficulties. One recent study suggested that 64% of patients have delayed or skipped care because of costs. This situation decreases quality outcomes as patients do not receive the care they need. It also results in a loss of revenue for healthcare providers.
As procedure volumes decrease and expenses rise, one approach to addressing the revenue gap is to look at accelerating collections for services that have already been delivered. With the shift to self-pay, patient payments are a large and growing part of hospital revenue and accelerating patient collections can deliver significant financial relief.
Addressing the revenue gap through digital patient experience
One approach to accelerate collections is to emphasize a high-quality digital patient experience to improve and accelerate the revenue cycle. Studies have suggested that patients prefer digital communication and engagement with their healthcare systems, not only for communications, but for paying medical bills via mobile payment systems and online patient portals.
This increased engagement leads to improved patient experiences, as well as accelerated payments and collections. Healthcare systems can both improve patient experience and capitalize on the trend toward online interaction by adopting sophisticated, flexible digital communications systems designed to personalize and streamline patient engagement.
How the shift to digital accelerates collections
Healthcare patients are already eager to pay their medical bills online, and they are accustomed to paying other bills that way. In fact, 84% of consumers are already engaging in simple, secure, and convenient online transactions for their non-healthcare bills.
The simpler, more seamless, and more flexible the payment method, the less chance a patient will put off payments due to inconvenience. Patients also benefit from, and value, notifications regarding when payments are due, and they appreciate simple online access to view their balance as well. In a climate of revenue loss and increased expenses, every hospital and healthcare system should be focused on making it easy for patients to understand their financial obligations and make payments.
Studies show that a remarkable 72% of consumers surveyed want the ability to pay medical bills electronically, so an investment in a digital communications and payment system can simultaneously meet patient needs, enhance the patient experience, and address the healthcare revenue gap. That is why, for hospitals and healthcare providers fighting to recover from the budgetary impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerating collections through digital systems just makes sense.
To take a deeper dive into the state of hospital and health system revenue loss, and how to accelerate collections with simple, secure, digital experiences, download our Healthcare Dive Playbook now.