Using patient portals to increase engagement

HFMA surveyed healthcare leaders at the Annual National Institute (ANI) in June 2017 on the use of patient portals and business processes for pre-and post-service patient collections. Conversational interviews also touched on how organizations are using data analytics to support patient financial responsibilities and transactions, such as automating charity applications, estimates of patient care, online bill payment, scheduling, and patient statements with personalized data-driven alerts.

Responses among those interviewed – mainly CFOs and other financial executives – indicate that while market forces continue to raise the importance of patient payments in organizations’ overall financial strategies, their specific approaches have become more patient-friendly, with most organizations aiming for a balance between financial performance and intelligent data-driven engagement.

Technology is a clear and common tread enabling that balance. Unique features within self-service online portals and data-driven charity and payment plan alerts are improving workflows, reducing administrative burden, and facilitating more strategic patient collections.

To better understand how health organizations can improve patient engagement, Experian Health, an industry-leading technology solutions company serving nearly 60 percent of all U.S. hospitals, followed up on this initial feedback with a more robust survey of its own customers in November of 2017.

Complementary findings from these two research projects validate best practices and offer unique insight into the successes and shortfalls of the patient financial experience at health organizations. 

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