In 2014, ValleyCare Health System in Livermore, Calif., introduced e-commerce options for patient payments. In just four months, the percentage of patients paying their bills online increased sharply—from 26% in April 2014 to 41% in July of that year. Online total payment volume increased by 47 percent within eight months of the e-commerce launch. In addition, paper and postage expenses decreased as patients opted to forego paper statements.
ValleyCare, which recently merged with Stanford Health Care, was a small independent system when they began exploring e-commerce options. They were seeking solutions to several challenges:
- Hospital bills had become a topic of discussion among board members, with some advocating for summary statements while others preferred detailed statements: ValleyCare’s CFO requested a solution that would please both camps.
- PFS was asked to reduce its budget by about $30,000 per month.
- The hospital identified improving patient satisfaction with the billing process as a priority.
- Any decrease in patient collections could not be tolerated.
- Beginning in April 2014, ValleyCare introduced Simplee, the integrated billing and collections platform that makes it easier for patients to know what they owe and how to pay.Patients can access, via a secure connection, their statements and bill-paying options from their smartphones or tablets. This patient friendly feature has proved to be popular.“I’ve been in the PFS world for 24 years, and I’ve never received a thank-you note for a bill—ever. But the comments that we are getting through the short survey at the end of the bill-pay process are very positive. And this is that last impression that the patient has with the whole experience of ValleyCare.”Dive into ValleyCare’s e-commerce strategy in this recent article by Lola Butcher in HFMA’s Patient Friendly Billing e-Bulletin.