Self-Pay Revenue Management

3 min read

3 Reasons Your Patient Notices Are Confusing

April 11, 2019 - 3:06 PM

A patient notice is one of the most powerful communication tools in healthcare revenue. Without them, the patient wouldn't know how much to or when to pay. Unfortunately, 57% of patients are confused by their billing statements. The result of their confusion leads to payment delays and an increase patient call volume. 

Let's be real here.  Billing offices don't have time or the resources to manage more calls and they certainly don't want to wait longer to get paid. Emerald's research team decided to tackle the problem. We worked with industry experts to improve the patient statement. We compared multiple notice templates, analyzed patient calls and other concerns related to the statement.  When we finished our analysis, we narrowed our improvements to three main areas.  

1. Too Much of the Wrong Information

Many notices are very overwhelming to look at. And most of the time, the information isn’t necessary in explaining what the charge is for and the cost of the service. The layout often distracts the reader from seeing the most important information that includes:

  • date of service
  • services provided
  • insurance and other payment adjustments
  • payment due date
  • instructions on how to pay

We've seen examples that include multiple Identification numbers, unlabeled and not needed to understand or pay a bill, multiple phone numbers for support and multiple addresses. These are a few of the many examples of unnecessary information placed on notices that confuse the reader in more ways than one.

A patient notice needs to be easy to read. Information should not overwhelm the reader and distract from the entire purpose of the notice- explain the balance and how to pay.

2. Not Bilingual

In the Southwest, over 50% of patients seen by Federally Qualified Health Centers are from Hispanic/Latin American Heritage, with a majority of these patients speaking Spanish. It is so important that guarantors can understand their bill in a language they are comfortable with. Because of this, when developing its new patient notice, Emerald AR created a bilingual notice. These notices include an English bill on one side and a Spanish bill with the exact same information on the other. Including multiple languages also shows your clients that you care about their background

3. Insufficient Labeling

Most notices include multiple identification numbers. These can include the payment, patient, and service IDs. Unfortunately, these many identifiers are not consistently labeled. This causes problems when a guarantor tries to pay online or over the phone. Multiple ID numbers can be mistaken for each other. This causes frustration when attempting to pay a bill but not knowing which ID to use.

These 3 use cases along with patient feedback and client suggestions helped Emerald AR's product team create a successful patient statement upgrade for healthcare. Emerald AR measured statement performance 1 month after release. Here's the results: 

An increase in: online payments, secure automated payments through Emerald's interactive voice response system (IVR) and a decrease in agent assisted payments meaning, less agent talk time.

Online Payments IVR Payments Agent Assisted Payments
+8% +7% -4%


Creating a patient-friendly statement has proven to be a valuable solution to patient transparency and operational efficiency. With Emerald's low pricing and custom colors, patient statements give healthcare better statement ROI. Pay less to get paid. 

Check out Emerald AR's patient statement here. 


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