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Why the Term "Win-Win" Was Invented

It improves cash flow and reduces administrative costs. It enhances customer service and empowers patients to be more engaged in their healthcare options. It makes providers’ jobs easier, and it’s something patients are requesting.

“It” is the trend among healthcare providers to allow patients to manage their account and submit payments online, and with such notable benefits and market demand, it’s no wonder this service is rapidly increasing in use nationwide.

In fact, Brian Clubb, Emdeon’s Product Management Director, reports that the use of Emdeon Patient Pay Online, a self-service patient application that provides comprehensive and secure online billing and payment management, has nearly doubled in volume in each of the last two years.

According to Clubb, the duality of Patient Pay Online’s advantages is the core of its success; providers and patients alike win with this solution.

“By providing patients the ability to pay online, providers simultaneously engage and empower patients to take action and heighten the potential for reimbursement while reducing administrative costs,” Clubb explains.

Patient Pay Online enables patients to keep watch on and make payments toward account balances, set up payment plans—even update billing information as needed. With these capabilities in patients’ hands, providers experience lightened administrative loads, reduced costs related to traditional mailing and postage and better cash flow thanks to automated payment posting.

How it works In the era of Consumer-Directed Healthcare, Patient Pay Online is an essential tool for patients who now bear more direct responsibility for the payment of their care. These patients are more likely to be accustomed to paying for services of various types online which lowers the barrier to adopt healthcare payment. Providers are finding more and more patients requesting this type of service.

For the providers who respond by introducing Patient Pay Online, the advantages are abundant—beginning with the surprisingly simple implementation process.

“There is no integration required with the provider’s healthcare information system or practice management system, other than the ability to accept a daily payment posting,” states Clubb. “No need to involve the hospital’s IT staff—because the integration is literally that simple.” Providers only need to add a link to the payment portal on their websites, so patients can easily click through to gain access to their statements electronically. Otherwise, Emdeon “does all the heavy lifting,” even customizing the payment portal to blend with providers’ other web properties and overall branding.

Coupling the company’s targeted expertise in healthcare with its wide ranging, bank-friendly solutions ensures Emdeon Patient Pay Online is first—and only—a healthcare service, not a repurposed payment option from another industry. The entire solution is designed expressly to enhance efficiencies for healthcare environments.

Providers using Emdeon Patient Pay Online can also add other payment collection solutions within the Emdeon Patient Connect suite including Emdeon Voice Pay, Emdeon eCashiering and Emdeon Patient Lockbox since these synergistic and interoperable products work together to optimize patient interactions for maximum payment collection.

Emdeon Patient Pay Online is a highly effective option for providers seeking to shrink the time and cost of billing while also minimizing payment receipt and processing and the entire solution is very patient-centric.

“This creates a stronger relationship between healthcare provider and their patient… so both may focus on the health of the patient, not collections.” As Emdeon Patient Pay Online’s popularity grows, Emdeon is stationed on the forefront of technology to identify useful advancements in functionality and integrate updates for user interfaces. “There are some exciting options we’re exploring,” Clubb summarizes. “Anything we integrate is assured to be a win-win.”

Ready to improve cash flow by automating payment collection? Call 877.EMDEON.6 (877.363.3666) or visit us online to learn how Emdeon Patient Pay Online can improve cash flow and improve patient satisfaction by providing online billing and payment management.

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Do Your Statements Pass the "Friendly" Test? Take Our Quiz to Find Out

Patients who are confused about their financial responsibilities are more likely to pick up the phone and call your billing department instead of picking up their pen to write a check for payment. That’s why developing a clear and concise, patient friendly billing statement is important for your bottom line. Using statement design and language best practices, such as avoiding medical jargon and using color to bring attention to key information, you can actually reduce bad debt and accelerate patient payments while lowering call volume from patient inquiries.

Have you arrived at the destination of patient friendly statements or are you only a few steps down the path? Answer the questions below and tally your score to assess the patient friendliness of your billing statements. Curious to see a sample patient friendly statement?

1. In a quick glance of the first page of a statement, what information will a patient be able to see? (Check all that apply.)

 Your organization’s name and logo
 Date of issuance, patient name and account number
 A clear statement of what is owed “now” and the due date for next payment
 A concise summary of the account (previous balance, new charges, amount covered by insurance, current balance and charges pending with insurance provider)
 List of payment options
 Phone numbers for English and Spanish customer service lines
 A statement of appreciation
 Brief instructions about what portion to detach and return with mailed payment
 Amount owed and due date reiterated on detachable portion

2. On the second (or subsequent) page(s), what information will a patient be able to see? (Check all that apply.)

 Charges in greater detail (Room & Board, Pharmacy, Anesthesia, etc.)
 Recap of patient insurance information
 Date of issuance
 Customer service contact information for English and Spanish speakers
 Opportunities to update personal and payer information (on detachable portion)
 Your organization’s name and logo

3. On subsequent page(s), what information will a patient be able to see? (Check all that apply.)

 Customer service contact information for English and Spanish speakers
 Restatement of payment options
 Information about discounts, payment plans and financial assistance
 Your organization’s name and logo
 Billing FAQs, glossary of relevant terms, guidance for reading the statement
 Targeted announcements and messaging

4. Of the following aspects of statement design and patient friendly communications, check the elements that are present on your organization’s patient statements. (Check all that apply.)

 Logical order of content (simple information first, followed by more details)
 White space (portions of the layout left blank)
 Everyday language versus heavy use of industry terms
 Strategic formatting, including some or all of the following: bolded section headers, larger point sizes for call outs, similar information grouped together
 Use of icons (e.g.- a small envelope to represent mailing options)
 Tactical use of color in statement text, in graphic elements and overall design
 Call-out boxes with rounded edges, generally pleasing designs that enhance readability and color palettes that are true to the providers’ branding

Count the number of items you checked in this quiz, then refer to the guide below to determine where your organization is on the path to providing patient friendly billing statements.

 25–30 Your organization is a leader in providing patient friendly communications
 20–24 Your organization is well on its way to becoming a patient friendly organization
 14–19 Your organization has incorporated a few patient friendly billing practices
 8–13 Your organization has started its journey to becoming a patient friendly organization
 1–7 Your organization is ready to begin its journey toward becoming a patient friendly organization

Make a positive statement about your commitment to patient friendly billing practices. Call 877.EMDEON.6 (877.363.3666) or visit us online to discover how Emdeon ExpressBill Services can help improve cash flow at your organization.

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HFMA Webinar: Escaping the Paperwork Prison: Strategies for Increasing Patient Adoption of Online Payment

Attend an HFMA Webinar to Learn More

Hospitals risk paying the hidden costs associated with inefficient manual processes when using traditional outbound patient billing and inbound payment collection methods.

Traditionally speaking, patients were limited to two payment options—either paying in person or mailing their check to the provider. Unfortunately, the “paperwork prison” (the excessive administrative costs and hassle associated with collecting paper-based patient payments such as sorting and opening mail, posting patient payments, creating deposit tickets and making trips to the bank) actually reduces the net amount that providers get to keep.

Proactive providers are now including online payment options to avoid the “paperwork prison” while empowering patients with payment flexibility.

Register now to attend an HFMA Webinar July 7th 3:00 to 4:30pm EST to hear more about this topic! In this session, Baptist Health Systems will share strategies for increasing patient adoption of online payment for patient-owed amounts.

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Watch our Latest Podcasts!

From patient friendly billing tips to denial management strategies, Emdeon offers free iTunes podcasts on a variety of topics which can be downloaded to your iPad, iPod, smart phone, laptop or desktop computer.

At the airport waiting for your connection? In between sessions at a conference? Make the most of your downtime by downloading and watching Emdeon’s thought-leadership podcasts. Simply scroll through Emdeon’s library of podcasts online to find and download the podcasts you need virtually anytime, anywhere to stay in tune with the latest trends in healthcare.

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Visit Emdeon at a Tradeshow near You

Emdeon exhibits at many tradeshows throughout the year where you can learn more about our full suite of Revenue and Payment Cycle Management Solutions, as well as, new products and features on the horizon. Come visit us at the following tradeshows:

MO HFMA Annual
Region 1 HFMA
FL HFMA Spring Meeting
MUSE International

Western Region Flex
NC Hospital Association

AL HFMA Annual Institute

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Better Statements by Design: Tips from Graphic Designers to Transform Statements Into Patient Friendly Communications

Though they’ve always been “patient statements,” the content and layout of those financial summaries were not always designed with the patients who received them in mind. Just ask Kim Cardell, a graphic designer, and Diane Clark, a graphics coordinator, both based in Toledo, Ohio with over 10 years experience in patient statement creation. According to Cardell and Clark, the wording, style and overall design of statements gone by were tailored more for the internal audience of providers and payers.

Those days are over.

Cardell and Clark report that today’s statements are more intentional and less traditional in terms of design, reflecting an industry more in tune with its audience and ready for progressive approaches. Both now collaborate to create materials that are customized to reach patients who are more actively involved in the payment of their healthcare and thus need to understand their charges. In their experience, the Patient Friendly Billing standards purveyed by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) in recent years have become more accepted as providers aim to better relate to patients.

Here are a few practical, tactical design tips from Cardell, Clark and their graphic design colleagues. Drawing upon their years of specializing in patient statement and medical form production, these pros have great ideas that can turn statements into meaningful patient communications tools.

Overall Approach to Design

• Bring in your brand. Abandon the traditional layout and look of past statements, and instead use statements as opportunities to convey branding and personality that will appeal to your patients and help them quickly identify the billing statement issuer. Be sure to make your logo visible in the mail. You can increase open rates by placing your logo, a familiar visual for patients, in the return address window

• Go custom & get colorful. The increased access to roll-fed, digital printing solutions makes colorful, custom designs more feasible and affordable. No longer must you buy reams of paper stock and print in bulk for cost efficiencies. Make the most of today’s versatile printing capabilities that allow you to make adjustments as often as you’d like while eliminating the hassle of managing an inventory of pre-printed stock.

• Bold text and increase font size for section headlines. To help readers easily identify different sections within your statement, bold headlines and make the text larger than the text below. Use sans serif fonts such as Arial for a fresh, modern design and try to avoid underlining as a method for highlighting information - this tends to clutter your statement design.

• Use call-out boxes and shading. Boxes and shading can visually separate information, making a patient’s review of overall content more simple and succinct. Strategic use of color in shading can draw attention to important info while ensuring that the material is still readable.

• Soften the design with subtle touches. Rounded corners on call-out boxes, a pleasing color palette and positive graphic elements can all serve to give a statement a more appealing appearance and approachable feel.

Placement of Key Information & Visual Elements

• Place key info front & center. Lead with the most important information. Always place the amount due and the due date on the first page of the statement and use color to make this stand out from the rest of the statement. Include both pieces of information on the main section of the statement and on the statement coupon too.

• List payment options prominently and often. Provide as many payment options as possible to help accelerate payment and list these prominently on the front page. If possible, add this information to subsequent pages as well. For online payments, be sure to list the web address and for pay-by-phone options, include the telephone number for reference. For credit card payments by mail, ensure this information can be provided within the statement coupon.

• Don’t overwhelm patients with information. Provide the appropriate amount of information for patients to make informed decisions about their financial responsibilities but don’t include unnecessary information such as billing codes or medical jargon. Ask yourself, “Is this necessary to include on the statement? If yes, does this clearly communicate the information?”

• List date on the stub. Include the statement date on the stub to streamline payment processing when it is returned with payment.

• Provide contact info on each page. Place contact information on every page of the statement (and not on perforated portions that will be removed) so that patients always have quick access to your Billing Department’s phone number, mailing and email addresses.

• Make your logo visible in the mail. You can increase open rates by placing your logo, a familiar visual for patients, in the return address window.

• Guide patients to offer updated information. Give prominence to areas where patients can update personal and insurance information. Capturing fresh information is vital to the collections process, so use the statement as an opportunity to prompt patients to list new information.

• Include FAQs. Providing answers to your most commonly fielded questions will help patients find the information they need while minimizing customer service call volume.

• Provide online resources. Use your patient statement as an opportunity to direct traffic to online resources. Encouraging patients to visit your hospital’s website for billing-related information may also increase adoption of online payment.

• Include a Spanish customer-service option. For Spanish-speaking patients with questions about their bill, include a brief statement in Spanish that lists the contact information for your Billing Department.

Automation, Organization & Communication

• Use 2D tags and bar codes. Using scannable bar codes can help automate outbound sorting and mailing processes, verify data and track what version of the statement design is in use, as well and denote the number of pages that should be included in a statement.

• Leverage scanlines to automate payment collection. Automating the process of depositing, posting and managing patient payments received through the mail can help you get paid faster and cut costs. If your organization uses a lockbox for payments received through the mail, ensure your scanline is placed in an area, away from the perforation line to avoid unnecessary tears or rips to this important piece of information.

• Include wellness tips & additional messaging. When possible, use the statement to share announcements, offer wellness reminders or convey pertinent information about your institution to make the statement more meaningful and useful to recipients.

• Test, test, test. When making changes to your statement coupon, ensure that your updated coupon design can be scanned and processed by your lockbox.

Discover how your organization can improve patient satisfaction and accelerate collections by leveraging patient-friendly statement design. Call 877.EMDEON.6 (877.363.3666) or visit us online to learn how Emdeon ExpressBill Services can provide clear, concise patient statements that leverage existing financial data to create effective patient communications.

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The Impending Patient Experience Movement

Revenue Cycle Management Solutions to Address Financial Aspects of the Patient Experience

“Patient Experience.” The term itself may be fairly new in the healthcare industry, but the meaning behind it has been around a long while.

Fifteen years ago or more, providers referred to it as “patient satisfaction” and conducted phone and fill-in surveys to gauge how those who received care in hospitals and health systems felt about their treatment. Next the industry took up the cause of “customer service,” directing staff to perceive patients as customers and to employ the tenets of great guest assistance. Turns out, those previous incarnations of this concept were just stepping stones on a path that is, at last, becoming a paved highway within the healthcare industry.

Today, the idea of “patient experience” is more important and meaningful than ever. Many providers are addressing the totality of patients’ interactions with their institutions, from pre-registration to discharge and beyond, as a paramount issue. Even after all the surveys, customer service programs and pep talks, the patient-institutional provider relationship remained less than satisfactory, and as the market has morphed to become a more consumer-driven arena, there’s no denying the essential nature of great patient experience in every point of contact and care as well as policy and procedure.

A new focus in the healthcare industry is making the patient experience a formally organized, institutional priority. In 2010, the industry experienced the inaugural Patient Experience Summit, as well as the launch of the first Association for Patient Experience. An October 2010 study on the topic by HealthLeaders Media indicates that 72% of providers have heightened the priority of patient experience from just a year ago. These milestones herald an industry-wide awakening. Patient experience is now officially a C-suite standard, a guiding mindset for every decision made and a defining differentiator for an institution in its field.

In the past, patient satisfaction programs were often maintained by the marketing department, perhaps supported by an interdepartmental committee that fielded inquiries, complaints and survey results. In today’s patient experience movement, the entire institution is involved and fundamental, foundational changes are occurring in all corners of hospitals and healthcare systems. There’s simply no stone that can be left unturned when seeking to provide the best experience for patients.

One important area that could be overlooked when improving the patient experience is the financial side of healthcare. Both insurance plan coverage and patient billing and payment are areas that should be highly impacted by the new movement, especially in light of the nationwide shift to Consumer-Directed Health Plans (CDHP). Because increasing numbers of patients have greater responsibility for the compensation for their care, if not all the responsibility, the industry has already started evolving to accommodate today’s consumer-patients. Providers are relying on responsive innovations to make financial communications and payment alternatives more patient-friendly, with the ultimate goal of better experiences all around.

Emdeon’s related services are excellent examples of current innovations to assist providers with the financial aspects of the patient experience. As a leader in Revenue Cycle Management Solutions, Emdeon has developed an array of services to boost providers’ administrative capabilities in the CDHP era. Just as the patient experience movement addresses the full circle of care, from pre-access to post-discharge issues, Emdeon’s solutions offer 360°, end-to-end solutions to help providers improve their patients’ overall financial experience at their facility.

Emdeon Pre-Encounter Analytics: Enables providers to help "triage" patients' financial situations before they arrive by quickly and accurately obtaining eligibility and benefits information. Batches of patient data for the next day's scheduled patients are sent to Emdeon before the start of business thereby eliminating any manual work and delays at the time of patient registration.

Emdeon Assistant: Simplifies patient registration through real-time automation of patient eligibility and benefits information verification tasks. Emdeon Assistant easily interfaces with most existing registration systems and channels efficient search requests to contracted carriers with responses generally returned in seconds minimizing patient registration wait times.

Emdeon Patient Responsibility Estimator®: Delivers quick access to estimates of patients' out-of-pocket expenses so providers can clearly inform patients of expected costs and collect or hold funds during scheduling, registration, at time-of-service or at check-out.

Emdeon Quick Pay: Provides convenient, real-time processing of physical and electronic patient payments during Patient Access to collect and process co-payments, deductibles, pre-payments, financial responsibility estimates or even outstanding balances before service.

Emdeon Patient Connect: Allows providers to leverage integrated patient billing solutions, print, online and point-of-service collection tools, to simplify, clearly communicate and automate remaining patient balances.

These Emdeon solutions represent the financial side of a more deeply integrated approach now being employed to achieve better patient experiences before, during and after service is rendered. Going far beyond initial customer service strategies, these patient-focused solutions extend fundamentally practical, compassionate support and true empathy for patients. Adding these kinds of services within the revenue cycle, providers are able to incorporate the concept of “patient care” beyond the clinical environment, into what was once perceived as impersonal, administrative interactions.

Discover Revenue Cycle Management Solutions to enhance the financial side of the patient experience by visiting us online or calling 877.EMDEON.6 (877.363.3666) today!

Want to get more involved in the patient experience for the industry? Join the Association for Patient Experience, a non-profit, multidisciplinary think-tank of healthcare representatives committed to advancing patient experience within their organizations. Email for additional information.

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