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Psychologists have long known that color has the power to impact a viewer in a variety of ways. It can evoke a range of emotions, and more importantly, it can impact how the individual interprets information-even if they aren't aware of it.
Did you know that adding color to your patient statements can do much more than simply improving the appearance of a black and white document? You can strategically use color to improve readability, inject clarity into the statement, and even alleviate predisposed negativity.
Access tool:Sample Patient Statement
Because patients who are confused about their financial responsibilities are less likely to pay on time or in full, hospital billing managers, directors, and even CFOs should take a closer look at their current patient statement design. In an era of doing more with less, improving your existing patient statements can be an effective tool in accelerating your cash flow.
Building on insights into the psychology of color discussed by Pantone, an organization with a reputation for matching and communicating color for the graphic arts community, here are a few color-related tips for providers to consider when designing their patient statements.
Use warm colors to quickly direct the eyes. With all of the detailed information included in the most patient-friendly bill, individuals want to quickly and clearly see how much they owe at a glance. To help patients find this information, call out the most important items on the statement, such as "balance due," in warm hues like gold, orange, or red. Using bright, warm tones implies a sense of urgency that can expedite payment. However, red should be used sparingly because this color has proved to stimulate the senses and, in some cases, raise stress levels.
Mix brilliant complementary colors. Mixing striking color combinations is another effective way of bringing the patient's eyes to a certain point on the page. For example, you should use blue and orange on the statement to call out different payment options. Complementary colors are also used more effectively when they are outlined with a thin, neutral white, gray, or black line that separates the colors on paper, as well as in the patient's mind. If you are unsure of good color relationships, a color wheel-an arrangement of hues that shows the relationships between colors-might be helpful.
Calm with cooler shades. Blues, greens, and violets are associated with the sea and sky, and can have a calming effect on the brain. Statements printed with large areas of light blue or green can create a sense of ease for the patient while making them more receptive to your message.
Combine warm and cool colors for depth. Considering the dimensional aspects between warm and cool hues, statement designers might want to place warm colors in the foreground and cool colors in the background. This treatment creates an illusion of depth and is one more way to call attention to important items, such as the description of services.
Consider your printer. Many of today's printing solutions take advantage of higher-quality ink and improved printer mechanics to print a virtually unlimited range of hues at a reasonable cost. The most advanced printing systems are also able to print black variable data for custom messaging per patient and color all in a single pass through the equipment, eliminating the need to preprint color stock.
Strategic use of color can help highlight important information for patients and help ensure that your messages are read. Consider designing patient-friendly statements using subtle, but deliberate, colors to increase readability and direct patients to due dates, payment options, and balances. Taking the perplexity out of the patient statement leads to quicker and more accurate payments and a healthier revenue cycle.
With an advanced printing system and patient statement design expertise, Emdeon ExpressBill Services can transform your patient statements to help you collect more, faster. Call 877.EMDEON.6 (877-363-3666) or visit us online to learn more today.
Access related article:Better Statements by Design
Publication Date: Wednesday, January 11, 2012
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Scott Elston, strategic accounts manager, GE Healthcare Services, describes how substantial cost reduction in health care requires rethinking business strategy and asset use.
Robert Williams, MD, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Arielle Freiberger, product strategist, ConvergeHEALTH by Deloitte, explain how sophisticated retrospective, real-time, and predictive data analytics can inform decision making to reduce costs and improve care.
Stuart Hanson, director of business development (healthcare solutions) at Citi Retail Services, discusses how improving the payment experience can benefit consumers and healthcare providers.
Scott Schmidt, vice president, Cerner RevWorks, LLC, shares insights on best practices for maximizing a revenue cycle management partnership.
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