Simplee CoupleAs patients are held accountable for greater portions of their healthcare bills, forward-thinking organizations are looking for ways to improve how they interact with people about their financial responsibilities. In the white paper “Tackling the Patient Financial Experience,” Simplee shares how one of its clients, Gundersen Health System, took an innovative approach to improving the patient financial journey.

As part of its commitment to advancing the financial management of health care, HFMA seeks to inform its members about educational resources that encourage performance improvement in organizations operating in or serving the healthcare field. With this in mind, HFMA brings you the following white paper highlight.

Gundersen Health System, a five-hospital integrated health network that treats more than 1 million patients across Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, saw the patient’s financial journey as a new opportunity to achieve excellence. With rising consumerism in health care coupled with escalating patient responsibility, Gundersen appreciated the value in smoothing the road to payment. The organization worked to redesign end-to-end financial operations across its hospitals and clinics, looking to enhance patient satisfaction and, in turn, increase the rate of collections. More specifically, the health system took the following three-pronged approach.

Provide a seamless and unified experience. Gundersen began its work by examining ways to improve patients’ access to financial information. The patient portal presented a good opportunity. The organization began offering billing alerts and reminders through the portal for patients who agreed to receive clinical communications via the technology. The messaging associated with these communications adapts throughout the patient’s financial journey.

Single sign-on (SSO) technology also allowed individuals to access their financial information directly from the portal. A patient now can use this technology to review and pay his or her bill, which is a single statement for all hospital and physician services. Whichever language the patient chooses for the portal carries over to the patient’s financial communications, ensuring an easy-to-understand and respectful experience.

Offer greater transparency. Gundersen Health System recognized that a clear and concise financial encounter could strongly influence a patient’s perceptions and improve his or her willingness to pay on time and in full. A positive experience also keeps patients loyal to an organization. To support greater clarity, Gundersen began providing a single statement that offered a detailed breakdown of what the patient owes and why, including which portions of the bill have been paid by insurance and what is the patient’s responsibility. The bill uses plain language instead of industry jargon, so patients can easily interpret the statement. The organization also gives staff access to the same statement view, so they can provide more helpful and direct assistance to people who have questions. Finally, the health system includes a real-time feedback mechanism with the bill to get an immediate understanding of a patient’s impressions and how the financial encounter could be further improved.

Simplee FamilyAdd convenience. The final step in Gundersen’s efforts was to provide a variety of payment methods, including e-check, credit/debit card, PayPal, and a self-directed payment plan. To facilitate the last piece, the health system leveraged a business logic algorithm to enable automated payments. As a result, patients can set up and manage their own installment plans that align with Gundersen’s financial policies—without having to call back-office staff for assistance. Not only did this lead to fewer calls, it also made it easier for those patients who seek flexibly in paying their bills.

Realizing Tangible Results

Gundersen achieved some remarkable results from its program. A recent survey indicated that 78 percent of patients were very satisfied with their billing and payment experience. Patient utilization of self-service payments dramatically increased. Because of a 50 percent drop in incoming calls, the organization was able to reallocate 20 full-time equivalents (FTEs) to higher value-added positions.

Making the Commitment and Seeking Collaboration

To achieve its goals, Gundersen relied on a collaborative effort between the billing and IT departments, as well as the health system’s technology vendors. Due to its systematic approach, the organization was able to optimize the patient financial experience in 36 locations within five months.

Click here to read the full white paper.

About Simplee

SimpleeSimplee® is transforming the patient financial experience. The Simplee Financial Engagement software platform is the world’s first single enterprise solution for patient engagement, estimates, billing, payment, and financing. With Simplee, healthcare providers get award-winning technology (Fierce Healthcare, Webby, etc.) that creates a payment experience patients (and staff) love, driving satisfaction, payments, and more.

Today, Simplee serves more than 777 healthcare providers nationwide, across 20 states, processing more than $1 billion in patient payments annually. Learn more at

HFMA does not endorse the material summarized above or warrant or guarantee its accuracy. Opinions expressed within the material or references to commercial manufacturers, vendors, products, or services that appear within do not constitute endorsements by HFMA.

Publication Date: Tuesday, March 01, 2016