Healthcare providers have long faced revenue cycle challenges and they have become increasingly difficult as patients have had to shoulder more financial responsibility for their care.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, these challenges have intensified and have increased the need for providers to make much-needed improvements in their revenue cycle due to financial loss from suspended procedures.

The pandemic has certainly affected the finances of many patients. Thus, providers may need to work on ways to accommodate patients who may need more financial flexibility in the coming months.

According to a recent CNBC survey of 800 people, one-fourth of Americans have either lost their job or taken a pay cut. That means more than 30 percent of Americans may be at risk of losing coverage under employer insurance plans.

The pandemic has also exacerbated other problems that were already apparent across health systems. Number one on that list has been a poor digital experience.

The healthcare industry is vastly underserved by current technologies that everyday consumers find in other industries such as the retail sector.

A 2019 Survata survey revealed the following:

  • Half of consumers said they were frustrated about their provider’s lack of adoption of digital processes, such as online bill pay, mobile and email bill delivery, access to insurance information, and digital pre-appointment forms
  • 41% of patients said they would stop going to their provider over a poor digital experience.
  • 1 in 5 patients have already stopped or switched providers over a poor digital experience.

As lockdowns and physical distancing measures were imposed, the long-overdue digital transformation in the healthcare landscape became essential to thrive.

Here are areas where your healthcare facility can really transform and improve its revenue cycle:

1. Communication

Whether answering a phone call about a billing question or providing a price estimate, patient communication has a huge impact on the overall patient experience and a facility’s bottom line.

Consumers use digital tools to facilitate nearly every aspect of their lives. A true multichannel approach utilizes a variety of integrated communication channels like text, email, online portal, phone, or social media for appointment reminders, billing, and other service-related communications. This makes it easier to respond quickly to patients and allows providers to cut costs from reduced printing and postage expenses from traditional mailed statements.

Improving patient communication is also not just about using digital tools. When your communications are based on patient preferences and actual engagement behaviors, the patient experience elevates, and financial performance improves.

Effective patient communications go beyond just a discussion of what the patient owes. Providers need to act more as a partner and patient advocate in patient financial discussions and handle conversations in a compassionate manner.

Patients may need to be educated about the different components of their financial responsibility, financing options, and applying for Medicaid government programs. With an estimated 4 million elective surgeries canceled in the US at the height of the pandemic, there is a tremendous backlog awaiting rescheduling and many of these patients are self-pay.

Helping patients pay by removing language barriers and communicating in their native tongue can provide an outstanding patient experience resulting in a much more efficient revenue cycle and better collections outcome.

Therefore, Mnet has added over 200 languages to its call center capability to help providers improve patient communication.

2. Technology

In response to COVID-19, healthcare facilities have been focusing on facilitating limited-touch workflows and contactless processes.

Healthcare organizations have turned to various technology solutions to improve their revenue cycle processes.

This includes using current technologies like online patient portals for performing patient registrations including copay collection prior to patients’ scheduled visits. Contactless registration also allows patients to check-in online and then proceed directly to the patient care room.

Contactless payment solutions like text-to-pay (SMS payments) have been on the rise even before Covid-19, but healthcare providers and patients now see them as essential.

Technology solutions help healthcare providers streamline manual processes and offer a more consumer-oriented approach to revenue cycle management from registration through billing and payment. One East Coast provider has found that people receiving a text notification paid their balance 12 days faster.

However, patients need more than just an online bill pay option. They need a variety of other financial services such as contact-free payment plans and financing. Patients want healthcare organizations to offer transparently priced care, payment plans, and a simple billing and payment process.

Mnet’s SMS platform is designed to deliver all patient financial services — everything from payment in full to pay-plans and financing all neatly offered in a text experience.

3. Staffing & Personnel

Technology alone can make a big difference, but it cannot replace the human element of revenue cycle management.

Revenue cycle leaders must be prepared to have the right staffing level to accommodate changes brought about by the pandemic. If they are not prepared, they’re going to be either understaffed or overstaffed.

Post-lockdown, some healthcare facilities like surgery centers are seeing a higher case volume and a huge backlog of cases. Providers find themselves doing more surgery from the backlog with fewer staff members.

COVID-19 safety protocols are also creating some operational changes which may contribute more to an increasing backlog.

Therefore, healthcare organizations need to be able to manage through the volatility and can quickly scale up or scale down.

Particularly in billing and collections where time is crucial, engaging and working with people on a human level takes time, training, resources, and plenty of energy. Therefore, providers need to ensure they have dedicated staff handling billing and collections.

Having a partner focus on patient payments can free up limited staff to focus on providing quality care and building case volume.

Mnet is ready to field inbound calls from patients pertaining to payment or process, long-term or temporarily, using remote call center technology and Patient Financial Advocates. Mnet’s remote assistance is designed to offer a seamless transition for ASC’s with either limited commitment or long-term commitment if that is more advantageous.


About Mnet Health

We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy to navigate financial experience in healthcare.

Mnet Health is the premier revenue cycle management and technology provider in the surgical industry. We provide custom patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. As of 2020, Mnet Health partners with over 700 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor of both United Surgical Partners International (USPI) and Surgical Care Affiliates (SCA) – both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices. Mnet’s custom brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay.

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