Digital communication channels are being successfully incorporated into collections service strategy to improve recovery and the patient experience. Though the traditional collection strategies of printed letters and agent phone calls are still an effective method of recovering outstanding balances, the downside of this legacy approach is the high operational costs (i.e. printing notices, administration, handling, and postage). The higher costs of traditional collections make contingency-based pricing less competitive than it could be with a comprehensive digital solution.
Aside from cost, the challenge of reaching a patient by phone in the era of caller ID and call blocking remains a chief obstacle, along with mail notices arriving with a barrage of junk mail. With a majority of financial institutions providing statements and billing arrangements via email, paper notifications have become almost obsolete. The analog approach to collections is proving to be costly and not as effective as it once was, and collections through digital channels have become an essential element of a successful collections strategy.
Over time, patient demographics continue to lean more heavily towards computer savvy practices – how today’s patients choose to communicate and remit will favor the faster, more convenient, and more secure digital tools. As patients trend toward more point-and-click transactions, it is important for practices to consider a more comprehensive approach to collection to ensure it meets the needs of today’s patients.
We all get inundated by people vying for our attention, time, and money. These messages come in every form of communication. With a plethora of junk mail disguised as “official business,” it is easy for a printed collections notice to be treated the same way. Your collection efforts must be more tactical to reach patients in a compliant, strategic, and diplomatic way. You need an integrated digital collections solution that is in full compliance with ever-shifting regulations and provides greater assurance that your practice’s debt recovery communication will be received, heard, and responded to.
Self-service in preferred time
Why invest in a third party for patient collections? In most cases, patients prefer to work around their schedule with online self-service access to their accounts and manage resolution when it is convenient for them. An omni-channel communication platform that includes voice, text, chat, email, and a self-service portal, allows the patient to choose how they want to navigate the debt recovery process.
A unified, omni-channel experience delivers customer satisfaction
A fully-integrated collection strategy starts with the communication medium. Inbound/outbound calling campaigns and printed letters have long been the standard delivery model in collections. More recently, online payment portals, email, text, and chat functions have become necessary components in patient communication.
A true, omni-channel experience is an integrated approach to serving patients in a way that creates a cohesive experience no matter how or where they try to connect. Reaching patients across all digital communication platforms, whether via email, text, chat, or phone is key to a comprehensive solution. With an integrated collection solution like TSI and Open Dental, collection agents are aware of ongoing issues, preferences, and previous communications with the patient, and all the ways they are being contacted. As each interaction is stored, the agency can measure the effectiveness of each channel, usage volume, and engagement, to develop a robust data set. Machine learning can then be used to develop optimal account treatment.
The benefit of machine learning and incorporating behavioral economics is to analyze the potential routes the patient may follow on the way from receiving the collection message to making payment to bring their account current. It would be naïve to think of the journey as linear. Rather, the patient has several possibilities for entry, several possible scenarios of what happens next, and several possible exits. Machine Learning captures these data sets and applies that logic to the contact approach and effort.
In choosing an agency that places digital communications at the forefront of a debt recovery strategy, your company will maintain the important doctor-patient relationship, increase dollars recovered in less time, and lower your overall operational costs. Leveraging an integrated digital strategy provides the following benefits:
- Automate the collection process based on set criteria
- Fast track distribution of debt recovery notifications to patients by three to five days over traditional printed mail
- Maximize self-service payments by over 50% by leveraging interactive self-service portals for patients who prefer to remit online
- Connect with patients via text who tend to pay on average 36 hours faster
See how TSI’s integrated collection interface works in Open Dental in the video below, then contact TSI to learn how we can help boost your recovery rate.
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