On this episode of The Rectangle Health Podcast, host Gary Tiratsuyan welcomes back Senior Director of Customer Success, Sam Anderson. Continuing the conversation from part 1 of this mini-series, Sam Anderson discusses how practices and organizations can take a strategic approach, combining technology and people to overcome the challenges presented by economic uncertainty and staffing shortages.
See how Rectangle Health’s healthcare software solution, Practice Management Bridge® can help your practice or large-scale organization.
Gary Tiratsuyan 00:00
Hello, everybody, and welcome back to the Rectangle Health Podcast. Really excited to have Rectangle Health Senior Director of Customer Success Sam Anderson back today to continue the conversation and discuss how practices and organizations can take a strategic approach combining technology and people to overcome the obstacles we discussed in his last episode and more. And if you did miss that last episode, you can find it on Apple Podcast, Google Play, Spotify, SoundCloud, and on our site. Sam, welcome back to the show. Thanks.
Sam Anderson 00:36
Great to be back. Gary.
Gary Tiratsuyan 00:38
It’s always a pleasure. Let’s get right into it. On our last episode, you mentioned that practices are having a really tough time keeping up with the demand for care. What are some immediate and long term strategies practices can deploy to meet the needs of their patients and ultimately keep retention high?
Long Term Strategies for High Retention
Sam Anderson 00:55
Gary that’s probably one of the top five questions that our clients have for their Customer Success Manager, and that is, how can we integrate technology into our practice to better communicate with and retain our patient base? As I shared in the last conversation, it’s a patient centric focus with technology to streamline operational efficiencies. Some immediate solutions would be identifying in office efforts that are either duplicative in nature excuse me and time consuming, and explore where technology where automation can save time and reduce cost. Here’s a great real world example of an immediate strategy that practices could quickly and easily implement with minimal effort. A few months ago, one of our field sales reps met with a practice as our software was being implemented in the office.
The sales rep wanted to drive home the value of our solution and how quickly and easily the practice can collect on past due patient balances. The sales rep asked for the office manager to pull five patient balances that were in arrears that hadn’t been able to previously collect on probably something like 90 days old. The sales rep then instructed the office manager to log into our software and navigate to our Text-to-Pay option. The office manager sent five patients a custom text message with a link to pay their outstanding balance due 45 minutes later, around the time the software training had concluded with the front office staff, the office manager was utterly shocked, as three of the five overdue patient balances have been paid through the Text-to-Pay solution.
There are very simple ways for practices to immediately begin to implement cost saving technologies into their daily operations. Longer term, Gary’s success really comes down to practices fully committing to making our technology an integral part of their business operations. For example, providing electronic patient intake forms so that both health insurance and patient payment information can be securely stored and captured by the practice ahead of any visit. You can store card on file so that any balance due at time of service can be charged without the patient ever having to worry about stopping at the billing office or front desk on the way out and offering. Patient financing options to help patients pay for care.
Our care now, pay later approach to patient centric care and eliminating costly exercises like mailing paper statements to patients to collect replacing this costly and outdated strategy with electronic statements. So making longer term investments, Gary, in technology will help practices improve operational efficiencies, thus improving patient experience and ultimately retention.
Gary Tiratsuyan 03:34
Yeah, that’s incredible and an incredible story. I think we’d all like to be a fly on the wall to see kind of the reaction of everyone as those payments came in 45 minutes later. It really gives you a true sense of the ROI of investing in this type of technology. And really, patients want to pay, and if you make it an experience that they can do it quickly, their overall experience improves. And I want to get into that a little bit. Improving that patient experience at the pre care time of care and post care experiences to make them as smooth, as seamless as possible. What is improving that patient experience mean to practices, and what can they do outside of that Text-to-Pay to make positive changes to the overall patient experience?
Sam Anderson 04:25
Well, it’s a great question, and candidly, patients are consumers. And if practices aren’t meeting patients where they are, with technology at the center of their engagements, patients will look to other providers that give them that easy, accessible, and user friendly technology to view a statement, for example, for their visitor procedure, along with an efficient and secure way to remit payment. It’s really that cut and dry. To remain both relevant and competitive in today’s marketplace, practices have to view patients through a dual lens with both exceptional care and tools that support consumer behavior. Integrating technologies such as patient intake form, securely storing the patient’s preferred payment method for easy billing.
These are simple approaches such as Text-to-Pay as the patients leaving the office were balanced due, offering contactless, mobile payment, offering affordable payment options, leveraging more effectively, care now, pay later, employing additional solutions like electronic statements are all examples of how technology plays a central role in patient-centric care. Gary what we do know is that prior to the pandemic, according to industry experts, a few statistics, 71% of consumers or patients in our case expressly noted that they wanted to receive electronic statements from hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers. However, the reality was, at that time, prior to the pandemic, only 17% of patients received their medical bills electronically. So there is a cognitive disconnect between what patients want and what practices are providing to them.
Another interesting aspect, what’s even more staggering, is how far behind practices lag in terms of integrating technology into their business operations. Roughly 90% of all healthcare providers today, despite the drive to provide contactless in office experience for patients in the aftermath of COVID still send paper statements, a purely manual process for collecting on patient balances due. What’s even crazier is that while the vast majority of healthcare practices still send out paper statements to patients, 82% of survey practices noted that they preferred electronic payments and or ETS from payers. So again, there’s the disconnect between technology being integrated by practices, what the patient or consumer wants, and what they’re actually doing.
They’re saying they want the technology, they want to get paid, they prefer electronic payments, but unfortunately, they either don’t have the money or just aren’t willing to make that investment in technologies being part of their overall operations. Finally, I would say that most individuals with private health insurance plans are definitely paying more for out of pocket costs when they go and see their primary care provider. This means that patients are going to behave like consumers. If patients aren’t offered a contactless experience to pay for their visit, or care providers fail to offer patient financing or even payment plans in some cases, or if providers aren’t utilizing tools that make for an easier, safer, and convenient overall experience, patients will absolutely find another provider who offers them those tools.
So providers who fail to embrace and effectively integrate technology into their overall operations run a very significant risk of becoming irrelevant.
Gary Tiratsuyan 07:43
Yeah, that’s really insightful and some staggering numbers there. Thanks so much for that last question for today. Because you and your team are very much so on the front lines talking to practices and organizations. Can you share a little bit about what you all are hearing as far as challenges that aren’t often reported or spoken about and how do you go about helping them with these unique needs?
Value of Integrating Technology
Sam Anderson 08:08
Well, Gary Sony, you should ask that because I was just talking to two of my customer Success managers within the last week about what they’re hearing that we actually don’t hear that much about in conversations, whether it’s in leadership meetings or peer to peer meetings. So several just to give you some background, several of my Customer Success managers have worked in medical settings, so they both manage teams and they have administered patient care. So they bring a unique perspective to how we approach our healthcare clients and their technology needs. I spoke briefly about this our last episode, but the public at large has this impression that if you’re a doctor, you are literally printing money with your practice or practices. And that isn’t the reality on the ground today at all. It’s a gross misconception.
What we’re hearing from our customer Success managers and their interaction with their clients is that practices aren’t just doing more with less, looking for cost reduction measures, but practitioners themselves are taking home less money today than they were a decade ago after overhead and expenses are paid. Providers, particularly the doctor owned practices, are naturally looking for ways to reduce costs, but they’re unsure how to go about selecting healthcare centric technology to help reduce those manual efforts to remove duplicate efforts because there’s a myriad of technologies from which they have to choose. So with the vast array of bells, whistles, and options, most healthcare practices and providers can’t even begin to know where to integrate technology to make operations more streamlined and efficient. So this isn’t why they went to medical school. Their training and vocation is and always will be about patient care.
So what our Customer Success Team is doing to help take the guesswork out of how to effectively manage their revenue cycle operations is demonstrating how to strategically integrate that technology into the practice’s business operations. So I shared this story earlier about the field rep who challenged the practice to identify five delinquent patient accounts and build them using Text-to-Pay 45 minutes later, three of the five are collected. Now, I have no idea how much money that represented to the practice, but imagine the possibilities and improvements to a practice’s cash flow by being able to collect on amounts due quickly and easily for services or procedures in just a couple of quick clicks.
Modifications, Gary, like this as minor as they are, integrating that technology into the revenue cycle practice not only helps to build patient loyalty, it also helps improve the cash flow and reduce cost to the practices. So helping practitioners remain healthy and profitable is definitely top of mind for us, while we allow those practitioners to focus on delivering quality care to their patients.
Gary Tiratsuyan 10:48
Thanks so much, Sam. The Customer Success Team are very much so rock stars and consultative in their approach, and I think that really helps hone in on the proper solution for each provider’s unique needs. For our listeners interested in learning how to overcome the challenges we discussed using the strategy Sam outlined today, we encourage you all to visit Rectanglehealth.com and schedule a time to speak to one of our practice solution consultants. Sam, thanks again for coming on the podcast, spending some time with us, and sharing a great insight.
Sam Anderson 11:18
I appreciate. Thanks for having me, Gary.
Gary Tiratsuyan 11:20
Thanks again and thank you to our listeners. Just a reminder, you can find the Rectangle Health podcast on Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple podcasts, Google Play, and at rectanglehealth.com. Till next time, everybody.