Overhauling your Patient Payment Strategy – BJC’s Patientco Journey


By Cole Elmer, VP of Revenue Management, BJC HealthCare

Take a step back for a moment if you will…and let’s briefly evaluate your patient’s financial experience at your hospital: Do you have a single statement where you can see the hospital and medical group combined providing one comprehensive view for your patients and their bills? Do you have a world-class payment portal where patients can seamlessly view all their balances and set up a payment arrangement in just a few clicks? Do you have digital-first billing where you can reduce paper statements sent to your patients and increase the propensity of payment? If your answer to any of these is, “No,” then you might not know what you’re missing out in partnering with a patient payment vendor to provide world-class financial care to your patients.

At BJC, we took that step back in 2019 to evaluate how we could further deliver a world-class patient experience. Through a due diligence process, we ultimately selected Patientco to help us lead some of our transformational efforts of our patient’s financial experience.  Throughout the evaluation period, we realized that there are very few solutions in healthcare that give the trifecta in revenue cycle; (1) increased patient satisfaction through self-service, (2) increased patient yield, (3) decreased bad debt. In partnering with Patientco, we are able to put our best foot forward to further achieving the organizational objectives supported by the trifecta. Most importantly, BJC was able to meet the patient where they wanted to be met, and enhance organizationally how we executed on that.  

BJC is known for world-class clinical care and we expect the highest standards on financial care as well.

It is our goal to make the patients’ financial experience as seamless as possible. Having a financial burden of a healthcare expense can be hard enough; the last thing we want is the make it harder by not providing the best financial experience as possible. BJC is known for world-class clinical care and we expect the highest standards on financial care as well. Below are several functionalities that we enabled to enhance the patient financial experience through our Patientco partnership:

Digital First Billing: Gone are the days where we just send out patient statements via paper. Many industries outside of healthcare interact with us via email and text alerts, whether it be Amazon, Southwest or Verizon, to name a few. Why should healthcare be any different? As consumers, we have adapted to communicating electronically and that is what BJC was able to enable with Patientco. By sending the statements to our patients electronically, we increase the propensity of payment by getting it to them front and center sooner.

Single Statement: Having a hospital bill can be overwhelming for many, especially if you are getting a service done that will create multiple bills. Being able to have a comprehensive view of not only the hospital bill but the physician bill helps the patient see the entirety of their service, as well as those bills that are still outstanding. Look at it as a one-stop-shop of statements.

Patient Payment Portal: With the introduction of the PatientWallet© through Patientco, we were able to drive more self-service and integrate all the hospital facilities that we serve as well as the  Medical Group bills into one comprehensive view that interfaces seamlessly onto all electronic mobile devices. When the patient setup their PatientWallet©, they are able to set up their own payment arrangements and pay their bills online.

Chatbot: Meeting where the patients want to be met has been the mantra of BJC and Chatbot is one of the functionalities that we are implementing in order to deliver how we interact with our patients. One good thing about Chatbot is there is an Automated Intelligence component that helps answer repetitive questions and can learn over time.

Interactive Voice Response: Many of your bills outside of healthcare allow you to pay your bills over the phone. The IVR functionality is enabled through the patient’s interaction with a computer operated phone system that allows patients’ to engage via their phones keypad. We are excited about being able to enable the IVR functionality to allow for 24/7 payment from our Patients via IVR to further drive self-service.

Enhanced Reporting: Data is key in being able to bring further exposure to adoption rates for various solutions and strategies that have been deployed. With that exposure in the data, it allows BJC to further identify opportunities to interact with our patients as well as an opportunity to create remediation plans on adoption strategies for items like digital-first billing and ensure the electronic patient consents are obtained and key data point such as email and cell phone numbers are procured at check-in and registration.

Net Promoter Scoring: Net Promoter Score is nothing new to many companies outside of healthcare to evaluate the customers’ experience with a company. With the introduction to Patientco, we are able to obtain feedback from every patient that makes a payment through the PatientWallet© that allows us to bring exposure to our Net Promoter Score around the patients’ financial experience. We also have the opportunity to gain insight on free-text responses from patients where they can talk about their financial experience as well as their other experiences that are received throughout the care continuum. Being able to obtain that type of information is extremely invaluable. It allows us to put a data point to the patients’ financial experience as well as engage with the patient further if the opportunity permits to do so.

There are few solutions in the revenue cycle where you can get impact so many different areas, most importantly your patients. Overhauling our patient payment strategy has been a incredible journey of discovery of not only our opportunities to further engage our patients holistically, but also knowing we are putting our best foot forward to enhancing our delivery of world-class financial care with our Patientco partnership. In healthcare and revenue cycle, one thing is certain, and that is change.

We look forward to embracing the change and continuously evolving to ensure delivery of meeting our patient’s needs not only clinically but financially.

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