In a previous blog post on finance trends in healthcare I discussed four competencies required to improve both yield (aka patient payment rate) and experience in a healthcare finance solution. One of those competencies was creating a “tailored experience,” often referred to as “personalization.” As a result of that post, I’ve received several questions asking what exactly I meant by a personalized experience and how a health system can use VisitPay to create such an experience. Today I will try to answer both.
First let’s discuss why personalization matters. Since the early days of the Internet, thousands of articles have been published about personalization. I won’t try to regurgitate all of the content here, other than to condense that research in my own words as follows: personalization drives engagement, loyalty, and consumer satisfaction, which results in stronger brand loyalty and higher online conversation rates (i.e. payments or purchases). Here is a good article if you want further information.
VisitPay drives industry-leading yield by driving a better experience. We don’t make collection calls. We don’t send threatening letters. We enable healthcare systems to create a personalized experience for each and every one of their consumers and we enable a healthcare system to do this at scale – meaning with very little effort a health system can customize an experience for all of its consumers at once.
What exactly does a personalized experience look like in a healthcare payment application? Some of the customization may be driven by rules – i.e. configurations – you control and create. For example, you might want someone like Fred, who is a member of your system’s insurance plan, to see relevant information about his plan, and you might want to give him special payment terms or discounts based on his plan type. Additionally, you may want to vary the experience based on consumer scores and segmentations. For example, if you charge interest, you might want to provide low-income people zero percent interest all the time. Or you might want to prompt higher income people to pay in full or in some cases take lower duration finance plans.
Some of the customization can also be driven by choices a consumer makes. For example, Eva might want to see the site in Spanish and get alerts by phone, while Jane might want to see custom alerts via email when her credit card is about to expire. Mark might not want any of those things, but he might want to create single sign-on settings to his HSA account so he can easily see his balance and contributions to date, and also get custom alerts when there is an auto-adjustment made on his finance plan. All of these can drive patient satisfaction because you’re giving consumers choice and putting them in control – those are two things people want and two of the key tenets upon which VisitPay was built.
Now let’s explore how VisitPay lets a healthcare system easily personalize the consumer experience. VisitPay consists of two important “rules engines” that allow you and the consumer to drive the experience:
A Configuration Rules Engine allows the healthcare system to mass customize the consumer experience with rules based on 200 different attributes, some of which are VisitPay’s market-leading consumer segmentation and scoring. VisitPay stores all these rules for you and allows for easy updates; most changes can be made and deployed overnight. (As a side note, VisitPay has been a leader in healthcare consumer scoring since its inception in 2010. McKinsey recently published another good article about scoring to drive consumer collection.)
A Preference Rules Engine allows a consumer to select, store, and update settings based on choices they make. VisitPay offers a wide variety of options that ultimately gives the consumer a great deal of choice in how they interact with the portal. Like the configuration engine, all these rules are stored for you and easy for the consumer to update – most of these can be changed and activated in real time. A short list of these settings includes:
- email preferences
- text/SMS preferences
- payment due date selection
- single sign-on settings to external websites like HSA and insurance
- consolidated account management with other VisitPay consumers
While personalization in and of itself is important, vital to its success is the ability to measure and test personalization strategies to understand effectiveness and constantly improve. We think it’s important to measure both what people say and what people do, and also to be able to test new strategies in a controlled fashion.
To collect what people “say,” VisitPay offers surveying tools that can be deployed generally in the application, or tied to either general or specific features. We can prompt a consumer to give feedback after taking any action, discovering how easy it was to complete the action or how valuable the feature is to them. And to understand what people “do,” VisitPay is always collecting data and providing analytics about user behavior and results. Finally, VisitPay is built on a testing and learning platform that allows you to test strategies in a controlled fashion.
For most organizations, deploying one to a few personalization options is relatively easy. But most organizations find it daunting to integrate hundreds of choices with consumer scoring in a way that is easy to manage, measure, and improve. VisitPay was purpose-built to make personalization very easy for a healthcare consumer to understand and manage at scale. I don’t think of the VisitPay platform as a payment portal, although it does collect and manage payments, but as a delivery mechanism for personalized consumer finance strategies tailored to healthcare.
The VisitPay platform enables health systems to build better, personalized relationships with their patients. These relationships go a long way in improving a consumer’s overall satisfaction with the health system and as a result, financial outcomes for the provider.