Using Analytics to Create Evidence-based Financial Engagement Strategies

For most health systems, improving revenue cycle performance and enhancing the patient financial journey are no longer mutually exclusive goals. At the heart of this increasingly symbiotic relationship is analytics.

VisitPay’s team of Business Analysts help clients parse the wealth of data stored in their financial systems to establish performance metrics and apply evidence-based decision-making to critical business questions.

Our team helps health systems establish key performance indicators (KPIs), enabling clients to better understand their performance over time and identify emerging trends to drive actionable insights.

We spoke with McKayla Smith, a Business Analyst at VisitPay, to understand the roles analytics and performance reporting play in helping health systems create meaningful patient journeys and more efficient revenue cycle operations in tandem.

A seasoned Business Analyst with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and healthcare industry, McKayla supports VisitPay clients by providing performance reporting and conducting in-depth analysis. She works with revenue cycle leaders and operations personnel to ensure their personal financing platform provides both patients and the health system a better experience.

A lightly edited transcript of our conversation with McKayla follows.

VisitPay: What does VisitPay’s analytics department do?

McKayla: We establish KPIs to help our clients continuously evaluate and measure their performance metrics, such as yield, payment rates, resolution and patient satisfaction.

One of the key areas that we focus on is our proprietary scoring and segmentation model. The analytics team uses these scores to help clients develop segmentation strategies from various points within the patient’s healthcare journey. This information not only helps health systems focus their efforts, but it also allows them to sustainably manage operational costs and workflows.

VisitPay: Without giving away the secret sauce, how are those segments created?

McKayla: We distill consumer behaviors into discrete segments, which health systems can use to tailor unique patient financial experiences. 

For example, segmenting patients allows health systems to target the use of features like in-app surveys that capture user feedback in real-time. Clients can refine their engagement strategies based on this feedback. For example, these insights could prompt health systems to provide financial options earlier in the patient journey or develop communication tailored to specific patient populations. 

Varying the message in statement inserts is an excellent example of how the team uses data to segment patients. In this instance, two different messages are tested. By establishing a holdout group, clients can assess statement-insert effectiveness, while also identifying which patient profiles respond better to the insert’s message.

Another feature derived from scoring is a presumptive charity recommendation. This is an innovative capability that reduces the health system’s operational costs while also improving the patient experience. Using historical data in combination with VisitPay’s scoring model, the team works with a client to implement a configuration that helps them reach desired charity volumes while minimizing resources spent on collecting from patients with a low ability and propensity to pay.

VisitPay: How does the analytics team help health systems measure the value of these applied insights?

McKayla: Testing, testing, and more testing. VisitPay works with clients on a variety of tests, including different ways to accelerate adoption, assess the utility of specific capabilities and evaluate user interaction with the platform. For example, VisitPay business analysts can help clients design A/B tests against hypotheses to determine whether the action they took had any impact.

The team also assists clients by executing testing to explore implementation and adoption best practices before and after go-live. To illustrate, we are currently testing an initiative called “nudging” with a client, where a loan offer is pre-populated with information unique to a patient’s risk and balance profile. Nudging is an engagement tactic that can help improve patient awareness regarding payment options, even when the offer isn’t taken up.

VisitPay: Looking beyond patient experience, how do analytics impact health system operations?

McKayla: Tracking the overall performance of a health system’s portfolio is one example. Through monthly business reviews conducted with each client, the entire team can explore high-level projects, discuss the status of tests, user adoption rates and can take deeper dives into different performance areas.

This near-real-time analysis helps clients to quickly assess the impact of changes that are being made within the health system. For example, if a health system tells the team they have changed their front-end collections process in a way that will increase payments, by using the data in the system, VisitPay can quickly see if there are any improvements in performance in this area.

Being able to validate the effect a change has had is invaluable—a lot of hospitals don’t have the resources to dive this deep into their own data and understand their individual performance trends.

VisitPay: Can you talk more about how a broader industry view helps individual health systems?

McKayla: Yes, benchmarking is another valuable service the analytics team can provide. Our team’s unique vantage point gives health systems visibility into industry best practices across a spectrum of client environments. Through benchmarking the analytics team gains a macro view of performance across all the VisitPay clients. By comparing the system performance of different health systems to one another, the team can dig into the details, understand why one health system is leading (or lagging) in specific performance areas, and extract best practices from that experience.

For example, the team can compare clients using a single point in time marker—stepping back to look across how all the VisitPay clients were performing three months after go-live. Being able to understand where each live client is at a given point gives VisitPay the knowledge to tweak other clients’ implementations.

The team also factors in additional external and internal influences. For instance, there is a lot of variation based on geographic location, where performance is influenced by the state in which the health system operates. Factors to consider might include differences in state laws and how state-specific legislation is having an impact on patients, user behavior, how a health system interprets those laws, as well as what kinds of policies, are in place.

The revenue cycle analytical function is much more than just day to day billing, cash collection, or registration quality. By using the right dashboards, looking at trends in the patient experience, and applying data insights and segmentation strategies unique to their system, the revenue cycle management team can focus on what really matters—patients and cash flow. 

Every client’s revenue cycle is a dynamic journey. From standard, essential metric reporting through to ad hoc requests, VisitPay can help drive better results through data and analytics. Explore how VisitPay can help you make the patient’s experience the best it can be – even after they go home. To learn more about patient segmentation, download a copy of The VisitPay Report.

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