4 Questions to Optimize Your Patient Financial Services Touchpoints


Optimize your patient touchpoints and create the kind of billing experience that leads to higher revenue.

With the ongoing move toward value-based healthcare, patients are increasingly like consumers in their pursuit of exceptional care. And as more patients face rising out-of-pocket costs from high-deductible plans, they seek experiences that are worthy of their hard-earned dollars.

It’s not surprising, then, that positive patient experiences correlate to 50 percent higher hospital margins. Patients will “shop around” for the best possible experience, and that experience doesn’t end at the physical medical facility. It extends into the billing process.

To create positive patient experiences, patient financial services (PFS) departments must take steps to improve interactions with patients at every touchpoint. Because excellent experiences are not made from one interaction. They are built from a series of many interactions over time. (Our free, on-demand webinar looks at how a master of the customer experience, Disney, excels at this.)

Optimize your patient touchpoints and create the kind of billing experience that leads to higher revenue. Start by asking these four critical questions.

Our basic human nature is to be self-involved. Mapping out touchpoints is important because it helps us understand the process from the patient’s perspective.

Diane Lawson

Ass. Director of Patient Financial Services, University of Colorado Medicine

  1. What is your organization’s purpose?

    As a customer experience master and entertainment household name, Disney teaches every employee this important concept: purpose trumps task. Why? Because the company saw early on how purpose could keep its team members united and motivated around a common vision.

    “Everyone should own a piece in your organization’s purpose,” reinforces Diane Lawson, professional and Associate Director of Patient Financial Services at University of Colorado Medicine. “By first defining why you do what you do, your organization can help employees more easily align that purpose with the details of your day-to-day processes and operations.”

    As consumers, we all know that the smallest details can make a difference in our overall experience with a company or a brand. The same holds true for patients. Everything a patient hears, feels, smells, and sees from beginning to end of their billing experience is an opportunity to “touch” them and point back to your purpose. And every touchpoint matters.

  2. What are your patient touchpoints?

    So, what are your touchpoints? If you’re unsure how to answer this question, start by doing a touchpoint exercise with several members of your revenue team. Identify every moment in your organization where you have the potential to touch the patient.

    Start at the very first point at which your facility building becomes visible, then physically and mentally walk through each and every touchpoint with your team volunteers. Ask yourselves the important questions from the patient perspective.

    The touchpoints are many, and they vary from organization to organization. Examine every possibility – from the parking garage and front desk to patient statements and your call center.

  3. How do those touchpoints shape the patient experience?

    “Our basic human nature is to be self-involved,” says Lawson. “Mapping out touchpoints is important because it helps us understand the process from the patient’s perspective.“

    Learn how to evaluate these touchpoints in our free, on-demand webinar. >>

    Following your touchpoint exercise, brainstorm and discuss areas that could cause frustration, confusion, or discouragement for patients along the billing journey. Is your facility difficult to find? Do patient calls go unanswered? Are statements difficult to understand? Similarly, hone in on areas that make the patient’s life easier. This will show you what practices your department should retain, remove, or revamp moving forward.

  4. What can and (can’t) you change?

    For some PFS teams, the touchpoint exercise can feel overwhelming. With so many touchpoints, where are you supposed to start?

    First, focus on what you can change and the improvements your team has the power or resources to make. Then acknowledge the areas you can’t change. By recognizing where you are not able to make immediate adjustments, you can take steps to build understanding and empathy for patients.

    Perhaps you see the obstacles a patient has to face just getting to your office. If a patient can’t easily locate your facility, their frustration over their bill will likely be heightened when they finally walk into your office. Being prepared for this type of scenario can help your team approach patients with greater understanding – or even give patients better instructions ahead of time on how to find your facility.



A free, on-demand webinar about creating a patient experience that improves patient payments.

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