Bad Debt is Really a Bad Patient Journey: How 3 Health Systems Increased Yield via Experience

There are patients who will always pay their bills. There are patients who will never pay their bills. In between, there’s missed opportunity. Balances written off as bad debt are often bad patient journeys in disguise.

Patients with moderate or low propensity to pay and those managing higher balances are more likely to pay if you give them the right opportunity driven by the best experience.

Here’s how you can increase yield and drive down costs like three leading health systems.

How St. Luke’s Health System Realized a 27% Lift 

The more of a financial burden patients bear, the more the potential impact to margins. When the CFO and VP of revenue cycle at St. Luke’s Health System in Boise, Idaho, noticed a trend in the organization — a rise in high deductible plans — he also recognized that patients would have more difficulty affording both insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. 

Executives knew it was time for a more efficient, customer-centric approach to payments and wanted a solution that catered to patients and simplified the billing process.  When patients understand their obligations and are given a chance to create personalized, budget-friendly installment plans, they’re more likely to pay.

Even though St. Luke’s electronic health record (EHR) system, Epic, met a range of needs, the financial features of the system were not sophisticated enough to provide the precise level of personalization St. Luke’s knew makes all the difference. After researching various solutions, the organization selected VisitPay as its partner.

Importantly, VisitPay integrates with Epic and other EHR systems to streamline staff operations. It gives patients a consolidated, online view of what they and their family members owe, alongside insurance benefits and custom payment terms options

All told, St. Luke’s reported a 27% lift in payment yield over Epic alone while also improving patient satisfaction and staff productivity.

How Carilion Clinic Realized a 60% Patient Payments Lift

Like St. Luke’s Health System, Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia, was looking for better technology to enhance the patient experience. A solution that treated patients with financial compassion, provided a human touch, and offered flexibility was a top priority.

Carilion, a physician-led, integrated academic health system, understood that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in today’s complex healthcare environment. Just like with patient care, financial interactions need to be individualized. Epic was also in place at Carilion for a long time, so the new solution had to integrate seamlessly. 

To meet these goals, Carilion teamed up with VisitPay to launch Carilion Bill Pay in January 2020, white labeling the platform to maintain the provider/patient relationship. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, making it even more difficult for many patients to pay their medical bills.

The new solution turned out to be more important than they could have imagined. VisitPay helped give patients the flexibility they needed and encouraged them to stay engaged in the process even during the crisis.

Since the launch, more than 30,000 patients have registered with the Carilion Bill Pay (VisitPay) system, more than doubling its goal and improving patient satisfaction. In addition, patients who have enrolled in the system are repaying 60% more of every dollar they owe than patients who are still using traditional payment approaches. 

How Inova Health System Raised the Bar with a 72% Lift

At Inova Health System in Falls Church, Virginia, bad debt was also on the rise. In particular, insured patients who should have been able to pay their bills struggled to do so. In fact, Inova had a 34% uncollectible rate from this patient group.

Inova executives quickly realized they needed a financial system that is laser-focused on the patient experience — one that meets patients where they are in their financial and health journeys. The organization’s legacy billing system, however, only offered limited payment options.

Leadership identified three key product features they couldn’t live without: convenience, clarity, and flexibility. The system also had to integrate with Epic, Inova’s EHR platform, and enhance Epic’s functionality. 

After determining that VisitPay was the right solution, Inova worked with VisitPay to create an ideal financial experience. Less than a year after implementing the VisitPay platform, Inova’s digital payments more than doubled, resulting in a 72% lift in patient payment yield.

Reimagining the patient financial experience is simpler than you might think. A solution that’s purpose-built to be patient-focused gives people the control they want and flexibility they deserve.

Find out how you change the journey to easily transform patients with moderate or low propensity into increased revenue. Read our white paper, Creating a Better Result with VisitPay.

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