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How Inova Increased Yield and Patient Satisfaction Through a World-Class Financial Experience

Inova: Northern Virginia’s leading nonprofit healthcare provider

Source: 2018 Inova Annual Report
Headquarters: Falls Church, Virginia
Population Served: 2 million
Hospitals: 5
Beds: 1,927
Net Patient Revenue: $3 Billion
Employees (non-RN or MD): 11,455
EMR: Epic

At a Glance

  • Business Challenge

    At Virginia-based Inova Health System, bad debt was on the rise. This stemmed, in large part, from insured patients with mid-range balances who struggled to pay their bills. Patients needed more options to manage their financial obligations in ways that worked for them.

  • Transformation

    Inova partnered with VisitPay to create a world-class financial experience that was clear, flexible and convenient for their patients.

  • Results

    Inova has driven a remarkable 72% lift in patient payment yield while creating a billing experience Net Promoter Score of 49.

Business Challenge

In 2016, leaders at Falls Church, Virginia-based Inova Health System applied more precise metrics to the revenue cycle and revealed an uncomfortable reality. The health system, which serves more than 2 million people in the metro Washington, D.C. area each year, was leaving money on the table. Lots of it.

According to former Chief Financial Officer Richard Magenheimer, “We had a 34 percent uncollectible rate from people who by definition should have been able to pay their bills. This was an abysmal rate as far as I was concerned.”

Drilling deeper into the numbers, Inova discovered that patients were increasingly assuming more of the financial obligation for medical care. According to Liz Ward, former Vice President of Revenue Cycle at Inova, “Patients with balances in the mid-balance range—which we define as $1,000 to $5,000—were growing at a rate of around 30 percent. In contrast, patients with total obligations under $500 were increasing at five to eight percent. The shift was happening quickly and we needed to address this challenge using a patient-centric approach.”

Patients in the mid-balance range tended to have insurance but were straddled with high deductibles and increasingly higher out of pocket balances. Inova’s current billing processes gave patients limited choices in how to manage this debt. Even those with an ability and willingness to pay walked away disillusioned.

Inova needed a more thoughtful and proactive approach, one that gave patients more options in how to manage medical bills—the same benefits they take for granted when buying homes, cars, and clothes.

After all, didn’t patients deserve an exceptional financial experience to pay for healthcare, too?

Transformation

A one-size-fits-all solution with limited payment options was no longer adequate. As Jenny Renee, Director, Patient Financial Services (PFS) Patient Contact Center, describes, “We decided to implement VisitPay alongside our EHR system (Epic) because the feedback we’d gotten from patients was that they wanted more. They wanted more flexibility. More payment options. More control over how to pay bills.”

Inova wanted a financial product with a laser-sharp focus on the patient experience to meet individuals where they were in their financial and health journey. Leadership identified three key product features to create that experience: convenience, clarity, and flexibility. At the same time, the payment solution needed to seamlessly integrate with Inova’s EHR platform and supercharge its functionality.

VisitPay’s solution fits the bill.

Convenience

To better serve patients, Inova first wanted a convenient digital solution, a 24/7 platform that suited the lifestyle of constituents in and around the Washington D.C. area. Renee explains, “The D.C. metro area and Northern Virginia is filled with a very busy, active, hands-on demographic of patients. This platform needed to sync with their schedules, so they could pay when it was convenient for them.”

VisitPay’s platform has a built-in online chat function, so patients aren’t relegated by call center hours to speak with someone live. “It has been incredibly valuable to be able to communicate real-time with patients through the online chat,” Renee continues.

VIDEO:
Learn more about Inova’s challenge (and success).

Clarity

Another required feature was for the platform to be clear and transparent. In today’s evolving healthcare landscape, patients are challenged to understand their medical bills. Ward describes, “We needed to put all the information from physicians, the hospital, insurance companies, and health savings account in one coherent platform. In any other industry, you’re given a very clear statement of what you owe along with different financing options. Patients deserve the same from Inova.”

VisitPay’s platform consolidates bills from multiple providers, for all family members, to clearly convey the total obligation, and it displays EOB information from just about every insurer at the visit level. With the entire financial picture in a single view online, they can more easily figure out how and when to pay.

Flexibility

The third feature Inova wanted was a better way for patients to manage outstanding obligations, with a set of financing options tailored to their specific set of circumstances.

On the back-end, Inova worked collaboratively with VisitPay to set finance terms that would optimize the health system’s collection rate and raise patient satisfaction. They incorporated VisitPay’s analytics and finance know-how to feed patients relevant information at specific points in time. Guided by VisitPay analytics, patients can now create personalized payment schedules to meet their needs. Ward explains, “This gave patients more ways to manage a medical obligation and pay it off—especially individuals with mid-range balances who have shown interest in paying.”

VisitPay’s solution is a win-win for organizations and their patients. As Ward sums up: “Using the VisitPay platform, we can deploy certain options, products, and solutions—and easily adjust as we learn and grow.

“We needed to put all the information from physicians, the hospital, insurance companies, and health savings account in one coherent platform.”
-Liz Ward, Former VP Revenue Cycle, Inova

Integration and Optimization

As insurance products evolve and market conditions change, we easily and quickly adapt to the needs of today’s consumer.” VisitPay seamlessly integrates with Inova’s EHR to supercharge its financial functionality. Ward says, “VisitPay complements Epic and optimizes the efforts of rev cycle staff, identifying high priority patients to engage. Other industries have been focusing on consumers and their financial needs for decades—really focusing. Now we can do the same.”

VisitPay is helping the healthcare industry move in the same direction, so patients get the financial experience they deserve.

Results

By the Numbers

  • 2X

    Digital payments —more than double in 11 mos.

  • 70%

    Of AR consumer payment runs through VisitPay.

  • 72%

    Yield lift at Inova, invested in the community.

  • NPS 49

    Billing experience Net Promoter Score

After implementing VisitPay, Inova has produced exceptional results, both experiential and financial.

In only 11 months, digital payments have more than doubled. Prior to going live with the VisitPay platform in November 2018, Inova had fewer than 500 patients using finance plans. As of August, Inova has more than 6,000 patients using payment plans representing 25% of all digital payments.

70% of AR consumer payment volume now runs through the VisitPay platform. Prior to the VisitPay implementation, Inova patients had limited options in how to handle their medical obligation—a one-time payment or up to four equal digital payments. Now, Inova’s finance plan policy introduces interest early with tiered increases for longer durations. This approach has encouraged patients to select finance plans that work for them.

Inova is driving an incredible 72% yield lift while creating a billing experience Net Promoter Score of 49. And these dollars are invested in ways that benefit the patients of the Washington D.C. metro area.

Ward proudly shares, “Being able to meet their financial obligations allows patients to focus on what really matters—their clinical care and getting better.”