As the growing cost of healthcare shifts to consumers, health systems can no longer depend on the government and traditional payers for service reimbursement. VisitPay helps solve this problem with its robust digital payment platform. On the front end, patients can pay their bills easily and conveniently online; while on the back end, proprietary financial segmentation enables health systems to tailor financial offers and streamline collection efforts.
Now, using research techniques common in consumer-focused industries like retail, financial services and hospitality, VisitPay is taking financial health to a new level. This technique, called behavioral segmentation, guides health systems in making the transition from collection to engagement strategies that build trust among patients and drive greater yields.
The VisitPay Report summarizes research findings and identifies, from a financial perspective, how segments of consumers seek and pay for medical care, highlighting important ways to personalize and improve the experience.
What does behavioral segmentation mean?
To understand the value of segmentation, it’s helpful to demonstrate its application in the retail industry. At a coffee establishment like Starbucks, baristas prepare an array of coffee drinks each morning. By understanding consumer preferences, along with other attitudes and behaviors, Starbucks tailors the experience for customers by offering flavors they want and like, thus building trust and loyalty. Behind the scenes, the company has determined a general menu of beverages that appeal to the taste profiles of distinct segments of people. Otherwise, there would be a single coffee beverage that gains lukewarm appeal from the masses.
Another benefit of segmentation is that retailers like Starbucks have delighted customers while minimizing the investment in raw ingredients and manpower required in stores. In other words, they have done more with less and improved customer satisfaction in the process.
How does segmentation work in healthcare?
A consistent one-to-many approach to healthcare finances, while valuable in its own right, has limitations. Not every patient interacts with health systems in the same way, due to disease burden, lifestyle and insurance type, among other factors. As patients navigate a health system, they respond differently to messages about medical costs, payment options and offers. A one-size-fits-all approach may fall short of meeting patient desires and business objectives.
On the flip side, one-to-one outreach would be expensive, time-consuming and arduous to execute among large populations of patients. Like the challenge in offering unique coffee beverages for every single individual, it is not practical to tailor unique financial packages and personalized communication tactics for every single patient in a health system.
How VisitPay Provides Clarity
To assess consumer sentiment and propose a framework for improving the patient financial experience, VisitPay launched a national quantitative study in August 2018. With feedback from 1,734 consumers, VisitPay used key financial and demographic indicators to propose five distinct patient segments with similar behaviors: Solo Strivers, Seasoned & Receptive, Overextended Achievers, Hearty & Carefree and Self-Sufficient Sages.
These five groups give health systems greater context and clarity into what their patient base looks like. When layered on top of financial scores and segmentation, VisitPay helps health systems prioritize resources and reach patients with meaningful messages using their preferred channels of communication – across the financial journey.
How to Bring Segments to Life
Like Starbucks, health systems can develop a menu of engagement approaches tailored to the needs and lifestyles of specific patient segments. The Solo Striver, for example, is looking for ways to handle medical expenses, motherhood and job demands. Through proactive outreach by phone or in-person, her preferred communication methods, health systems can educate her about cost of care and ways to pay. A personal conversation earlier in the clinical journey can resolve her need for a plan to pay medical expenses through low monthly installments.
An Overextended Achiever has deeper pockets for his medical expenses but is strapped with a high deductible health plan that impedes his ability to make a single, lump sum payment. Busy at work, he might prefer a text or email after treatment as a reminder to register for online payment. With a view of his charges, benefits and HSA balance, he can set up a shorter duration installment plan that complements his financial objectives and lifestyle preferences.
These examples illustrate how tailored information at key touchpoints along the patient financial journey can alleviate confusion, reduce stress and minimize surprises. Helping patients anticipate, plan and pay for medical expenses will ultimately help build their trust and loyalty.
Download The VisitPay Report Today!
The patient’s financial journey starts and ends with VisitPay. Click here to learn more about how you can develop sound financial engagement strategies that improve patient satisfaction and build trust.