Collections: Tailor your communication to the patient

Q. How do I keep my patients happy—and paying?
Friday, June 20, 2014

A. Happy patients pay. And they return. And they tell others about their experience. Remember, patients are consumers first. Consumers have service expectations that are ever changing and keeping them happy requires us all to iterate, evolve and adjust to their unique needs. 

When did you last evaluate your collection processes? How are you determining the effectiveness of your processes and actions? Are you listening to the “voice” of your patients? When you know something isn’t working, how quickly are you changing it?

Sometimes seemingly good ideas, like proactive outbound calls, have the opposite of the intended result, creating a negative experience and unhappy patients. Each patient is unique and responds to different stimuli. Sending your entire patient population the same type of invoice isn’t optimal…that’s like Netflix suggesting the same movie to all of its customers. You need to begin thinking about each patient as an individual and tailor your payment communications accordingly.

You’ll know when you’ve started to win because you’ll hear patient feedback like this: “What an outstanding statement and site—easy to navigate and understand. Makes paying bills hassle free and painless. Kudos to your design team.”

The patient billing process is often the final impression that you will leave with your patient. If it’s a positive experience, satisfaction, loyalty and repeat business will result. If it is negative, well, very little good will result.

With patient payment responsibility on a meteoric rise, we need to implement technology and adopt processes that allow us to keep patients happy, keep them paying and keep them returning.

Kurt Lovell is COO of Patientco. Reach him at