Patient consumerism is coming of age. Gone are the days where it’s talked about in strategy meetings and put in quarterly goals, but not brought to action. 2019 is going to be the year you take patient consumerism to the patients, and that starts with strategic communication.
A few key trends are emerging as we move into 2019, and several will have a direct impact on how patient communication should work.
Artificial Intelligence and Analytics
2019 is poised to be the year when AI starts to find its footing, and the revenue cycle — with its high volumes of data and predictable workflows — is prime for AI applications.
Revenue cycle leaders who want to turn around areas of substandard performance can take big steps forward in augmenting their teams and processes with powerful analytics solutions.
At a communication level, AI and analytics can free up resources to enhance human interactions with patients and bring data-based customer service communications to the revenue cycle experience.
Attracting Great Talent
Talent acquisition will be even more important in the age of patient consumerism, and 2019 hospital hiring patterns will reflect that.
The hospital revenue cycle is transitioning from a front line made up largely of entry-level positions. As individual organizations gain a better understanding of their patients’ preferences and revenue cycle trends, they will need to encourage an increase in the skill and experience level of the people who engage with patients most intimately on a customer service level.
Hospitals should aim to attract, develop, and retain higher levels of talent to keep customer service results aligned with a new level of industry expectations.
Keeping Up With Technology
From advanced portal payment options to integrated merchant services solutions and even traditional IVR, revenue cycle technology has landed squarely in the patient-facing sphere.
While diverse payment and self-service options are a huge boost to the services you offer your patients, more possibilities also mean more efforts to educate and communicate with patients.
A key component of your customer service work in 2019 should involve not only familiarizing your patients with the services you offer but also connecting them with the options they prefer and that will optimize your revenue cycle outcomes.
Complex Patient Financial Responsibility
If there’s any area where customer service is going to make a difference in patient communication, it’s patient financial responsibility.
With increasingly complex plans, changes to the ACA, and a general lack of transparency, expect the conversation around eligibility and financial responsibility to not only be more complex, but also involve more communication with patients.
Couple that with increased demands for estimates early on in the patient journey, and communication founded on a positive and effective customer service experience becomes a must have.
Overall Healthcare Consumerism
Consumerism might be a given in 2019, but don’t get complacent. Patients of all ages are becoming more adept in the use of the internet and other online tools, and their expectations around customer service and communication are moving in the same direction.
Increased demands for price transparency, flexibility in communication, and personalized experiences mean customer service communication will become an entirely new game within the next year.
The hospital revenue cycle is bound to see a lot of growth over the next 12 months, and while that will involve new perspectives and complex changes, you will never go wrong with an approach that centers your patients and prioritizes excellence in your customer service initiatives.
This article was originally published on RevSpring and is republished here with permission.