Health systems have invested tremendous resources in integrated technology solutions to achieve better patient care, outcomes, and experiences. Unfortunately, health IT projects fall short of business goals or are completely abandoned at an astonishing rate. Studies vary, but failure-rate estimates range from 35% to 75%, and poor technology implementations have been cited as a cause of significant financial losses in some health systems.
It’s easy to consider a new solution and imagine its transformative potential. Healthcare tradeshows brim with thousands of devices, enterprise systems, and software applications marketed as painless solutions for any challenge facing a hospital. But a poorly implemented system can easily exacerbate inefficiencies and reduce the overall quality of the patient experience.
Fortunately, many of the doomsday scenarios associated with technology adoption and implementation can be avoided with adequate planning, training, and collaboration. VisitPay has a 100% success rate implementing their platform in complex and integrated health systems. To better understand the pathway to a smooth go-live, we turned to Tani Theiler, Client Services Support Manager at VisitPay.
A transcript of our conversation with Tani follows.
VisitPay: How do you prepare a client to go-live with VisitPay?
Tani: A VisitPay implementation has a lot of moving parts and it requires a bit of choreography in order to meet our clients’ timelines and performance expectations.
It’s the responsibility of the implementation team to oversee the entire go-live strategy. We work through a rigorous playbook to ensure the process goes smoothly. Are the reports in place? Is the monitoring in place? Is health system staff—in-house, contract, and ad hoc—set up with the right skills to manage the system going forward? These are all part of the team’s success checklist.
VisitPay: What role does testing play in the implementation process?
Tani: The VisitPay developers work to make sure the application meets the needs of the client and their patients. VisitPay conducts multi-faceted testing to ensure the client’s confidence level is 100%. Before turning on the new system, we test everything across the teams. When we do go-live with a client, it’s because both the VisitPay team and the client team are ready and the application is performing within the client environment.
The VisitPay Product Support team proactively monitors the testing, early release, and general market release phases. As a team, we try to think through all possible scenarios, including what goes right and what could go wrong.
Monitoring takes several forms including, 24/7 monitoring tools, daily and weekly operational and performance reports, and bi-weekly status meetings between teams from VisitPay and the health system to resolve unexpected application behavior, identify additional training needs and establish product enhancements.
We also monitor patient satisfaction and system use through in-line surveys and user feedback. Using in-line surveys, VisitPay can monitor how users interact with screens and use different features. VisitPay measures consumer effort and satisfaction to monitor the ease of use of discrete tasks along the patient financial journey.
These insights are shared with the entire team during bi-weekly status meetings to evaluate improvements to user interaction.
VisitPay: Implementation is one part of the go-live equation. How do you ensure adoption by the health system staff who will be using VisitPay?
Tani: User satisfaction increases dramatically with sufficient training, so we don’t approach training as an ‘add-on’ benefit. It’s fully integrated into our launch strategy. Having a well-thought-out training plan in place for go-live, as well as future management and maintenance, is an essential component of a launch.
The Client Services group is responsible for training – which includes onsite client training and ongoing refresher training. The client support team also manages the training of health system staff to ensure everybody is up-to-date on what to expect for go-live.
Onsite client training typically involves different groups with class size varying between 15 to 20 individuals (the cash posting team, the customer service team, and any managers that require more permission have separate training sessions). The VisitPay team coordinates this classroom-style training with the client’s training resources. Train-the-trainer programs are another vital part of the planning for a go-live launch. We help to train full-time staff initially as well as the dedicated trainer – who will then help to educate other staff.
VisitPay: Once you have buy-in from health system staff, how do you get buy-in from the patients?
Tani: After launching the VisitPay platform, marketing the VisitPay portal to patients is a top priority for our health system clients. The VisitPay team actively works with each client—advising, creating and refining ways to engage with patients to increase awareness and drive account registration and usage.
There are several ways health systems can raise awareness of the VisitPay experience—from the tactical, such as links and information printed on statements, to full-throated digital marketing campaigns. VisitPay helps plan, test and execute an ongoing outreach program that aligns with each client’s patient population to accelerate user adoption over time.
VisitPay: How can health systems define success with VisitPay?
Tani: Anticipating the operational and reporting needs of our clients is fundamental to a successful launch. Every client wants to understand how their VisitPay accounts are performing. We work with every client to understand what their operational and performance reporting needs are.
VisitPay ensures there is a comprehensive set of daily and weekly metric reports up and running before the go-live date. These reports provide insight into key metric areas such as yield lift, user adoption, and patient satisfaction. Having these reports set up in advance allows clients to continuously monitor use and performance metrics.
VisitPay also benchmarks points-in-time across different health systems to ensure any key learnings can be applied across the broader VisitPay client community. For example, if one health system is experiencing an accelerated patient-user adoption rate, our analysts will review the patient experiences from that health system to ensure tactics can be replicated with other systems, too. We have some of the largest and most innovative health systems in the country on the VisitPay platform. Benchmarking has become an increasingly important and valuable part of our work with clients.
Additionally, clients can implement more effective engagement strategies by combining VisitPay’s proprietary scoring, segmentation and advanced analytics with insights from core billing and EHR systems. Incorporating these insights helps tailor the financial experience to the needs and preferences of specific patients.
Technology implementations can be a daunting task for any health system. Committed to every client’s launch success, VisitPay approaches every implementation with a comprehensive and integrated launch plan scaled to the needs and expectation of each client. Our team of experts is prepared to collaborate with the wide variety of stakeholders dedicated to building long-lasting, positive experiences for every patient.
Tani Theiler is the Client Services Support Manager at VisitPay. Her previous roles at VisitPay included PCI and HIPAA Compliance Manager. Before joining VisitPay, Tani was the sales manager at Great American Insurance Group. The Stanford University graduate is an avid outdoors-woman who loves hiking, skiing, and golf.