When a global event like a pandemic occurs, it can transform the way entire industries operate. Events like these accelerate and necessitate change. The question is always: how quickly can individual organizations adapt? That’s why I’ve been amazed at just how agile health systems have been over the past eight months. It’s been profoundly impressive to watch an entire industry embrace digital technologies at an unprecedented rate. Looking at the industry today, I firmly believe that digital engagement will remain a priority for health system leaders around the country and that the industry is on the path to full-scale digitization. These changes will be permanent. To me, digitized healthcare just makes sense—especially when you look at how consumers interact with other services. They’ve seen this transformation in almost every industry, and their expectations are no different for healthcare.
Other industries demonstrate the profound shift driven by the twin forces of consumerism and digital technologies. Look at banking, for example. Over the course of a decade, banks have become almost exclusively digital. Consumers have grown accustomed to—and now prefer—this experience. Mobile banking, specifically, isn’t just a component of the consumer banking experience: it’s the primary mechanism by which consumers engage with their bank. Travel is another industry to examine. When was the last time you visited a travel agent to book a flight? Everything is now conducted online. This speaks volumes about modern consumer behavior, and consumers’ desire to self-direct or self-curate their experiences with digital technologies.
Other recent examples of industries undergoing their own digital transformations include grocery shopping and car buying. You can now buy your groceries online and have them delivered with just a click. (With four boys and two working parents in our household, I can speak to that benefit from experience.) You can buy your car online through companies like Carvana, which allows consumers to completely avoid that uncomfortable face-to-face negotiation with a salesperson in the back-office of a dealership.
In many ways healthcare is different. But from the perspective of consumer expectations for a stress-free digital experience on their terms, it is no different. And the healthcare industry is showing it is up to the challenge. The process and experience of patient billing are undergoing rapid change as a result of this shift. And it’s really no surprise that offering a more modern, elegant, and dynamic patient billing experience elevates patient satisfaction and leads to better payment rates.
These are results we consistently see with our community of health system partners. Net Promoter Scores are on the rise and payment rates are rising with them. I think what’s really important, however, is that this experience is now being delivered to a meaningful portion of health systems’ patient bases—approaching 50% in most cases. This level of adoption within our health system community over a short period of time is truly impressive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced no shortage of complexities and challenges. But, to me, these challenges and changes mean there’s no better time for a full-scale transformation. Now isn’t the time for incrementalism. Why not adapt and improve today? Along with our health system partners we are setting lofty but doable goals to further increase patient utilization of digital technologies in the payment process in 2021. It will pay dividends for both patient and provider.
This type of transformation is what VisitPay was built for. It was designed to help health systems double down on their goals to serve patients in ways that meet their needs and expectations for a contemporary experience. We’re thrilled about the opportunities to accelerate digital transformation for our current and future health system partners, to bring their goals to life, and to work together to create a better patient financial experience.