How to Encourage Patient eStatement Adoption
Transitioning to a patient eStatement system is an effective way for providers to appeal to patient preferences while streamlining the backend billing process. However, to experience these benefits, patients must be aware of the option and directed to opt in.
While 73% of consumers want to enroll in an eStatement program, only 3% have actually made the move to sign up for eStatements due to a lack of promotion, follow-up, and engagement. When patients understand the benefits of eStatements and how they work, the transition will be even easier for your team.
Why Practices are Switching to eStatements
In an increasingly online world, eStatements are the present and the future. They offer more convenience for providers and patients, and because they’re paperless, they reduce the carbon footprint of hospitals and medical practices while also lowering operating costs.
eStatements accelerate the payment process, which means your team can focus on patient care rather than chasing after payments. For your patients, eStatements can increase their sense of loyalty to your practice, as patients who opt into eStatements find them more convenient and easier to understand than paper statements.
Read more about the benefits of eStatements for both provider and patient.
6 Steps to Encourage Patient eStatement Opt-In
As a leading patient eStatement provider, we’ve taken a look at some of our most successful partners to see how they made the case for eStatements to their patients. These simple steps will help you encourage patient eStatement adoption.
1. Train staff
To help encourage patients to make the switch to eStatements, it’s important that your staff is on board with the transition first. Make sure everyone — from your front desk staff to your doctors and nurses — is familiar with the benefits of eStatements and knows how to explain them to patients. When patients see that your staff is enthusiastic about the transition, they’ll be more likely to give eStatements a try.
Once your staff is on board, prepare them by providing them with all the necessary information. If needed, offer them a script and a list of frequently asked questions to consult when talking to patients about eStatements and make sure they understand how the transition will work. Train staff for objection handling so they can address any concerns patients may have.
You may want to incentivize your team to help drive adoption by setting goals and having rewards for meeting them. Offer a bonus, gift cards, or a catered lunch to the department or team member who encourages the most patients to switch to eStatements.
2. Collect patient contact information
In order to send patients their eStatements, you’ll need to have their correct contact information on file. If you don’t already have an email address or mobile phone number for a patient, make sure to collect it the next time they’re in the office. You can also update your records by sending patients a letter or postcard with instructions on how to update their contact information online.
Make sure to capture email and cell phone number information during the first interaction with new patients. Ask how patients prefer to be contacted, whether it’s via email or text message, so you can increase your chances of messages being opened and read.
3. Market to patients
Once you have your staff trained and your patient contact information up to date, it’s time to start marketing eStatements to your patients. There are a few different ways to do this.
One of the best ways to market eStatements is to include an insert in patients’ paper statements. You can also promote eStatements on your practice’s website and through email blasts and appointment reminders.
When patients come into the office, take advantage of the opportunity to talk to them about eStatements. Make sure there are marketing materials about eStatements visible in your office so that patients are reminded about them every time they visit. A poster in each exam room is hard to miss, and your patients may even use their time waiting for their doctor to sign up for eStatements on their phones!
4. Prioritize digital communications
Patients are used to getting information electronically these days. Indeed, for many younger patients, annual check-up reminders and other communications sent via traditional mail can be an annoyance. From appointment reminders to test results, more and more of our interactions with healthcare providers are happening online, so it’s a good idea to make this the norm for your practice.
When you switch to eStatements, you’re aligning your practice with patients’ expectations and making it easier for them to access the information they need. Encourage eStatement use by only sending a paper statement after 2–3 eStatements are ignored. If you see that an eStatement hasn’t been opened, use email and text reminders rather than having your staff send a paper statement or make a phone call.
5. Highlight security and convenience
When you’re promoting eStatements to patients, highlight the security and convenience benefits of making the switch. Each of these factors is highly important to patients when it comes to their healthcare.
With eStatements, patients can access their statements anytime, anywhere — there are no worries about losing a paper statement or having to have another sent in the mail.
By making the switch to eStatements, you’re not only making things easier and more convenient for your patients but also providing them with a higher level of security. eStatements are more secure than paper statements because they’re less likely to be lost or stolen.
Make sure you use a HITRUST Certified vendor for your eStatement system to ensure the privacy and security of patient data, then share this fact with your patients. HITRUST Certified vendors have demonstrated that they meet the highest standards for data security, giving your patients peace of mind knowing their information is secure.
6. Review data
Finally, you’ll need to review and analyze your data to ensure that patients are adopting eStatements, understand their needs, and make any necessary changes and improvements.
Review your eStatement usage data on a regular basis to see how many patients are using eStatements, how often they’re opening and reviewing their statements, and how they’re choosing to pay for their medical care (i.e., Apple Pay, payment plans, etc.). Also, be sure to address patient feedback to improve your eStatement program.
If you see a decline in usage, consider sending a reminder email or text blast to encourage patients to switch to eStatements. You may wish to review which staff members get the most eStatement enrollments and have them redouble their efforts in the face of a decline in usage, or ask them to provide tips to the rest of your team.
Partner with the MailMyStatements team to find out how our cloud-based patient billing can improve your patients’ experience with your medical practice. Our team is happy to help with every step of the process as you transition your patients to paperless statements.
Hugh Sullivan is the CEO of MailMyStatements, an industry-leading healthcare billing, and payments company. He has over 25 years of experience as a seasoned healthcare executive, was the co-founder of ENS Health — a highly successful national healthcare electronic data interchange company, and has served in various leadership roles within Optum, a UnitedHealth Group company. Considered as an industry thought leader, Hugh is an expert in using health IT to improve healthcare information exchange, which can enhance the quality of care, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.
You can follow Hugh on Twitter @hughdsullivan