Prioritizing the Patient Journey

The latest competitive strategy: Walk a mile in someone’s shoes. In healthcare, that means understanding and mapping the patient journey.

Healthcare providers and revenue cycle management (RCM) companies are gaining powerful insights on care delivery, revenue cycle management and patient preferences from an approach that maps the patient journey in its entirety. In the patient journey from selecting a provider, through the episode of care, to billing and collections, every interaction combines to determine the perception of the quality of the patient experience and the standard of care received.

We’ve written a white paper, The Vital Role of Financial Communications in the Patient Journey, that provides details about patient journey mapping and a framework to begin improving the patient journey whether you are a RCM firm or provider.

Don’t mistake this approach, which is sometimes called patient experience, with what has become a catch-all term for any patient-facing initiative. The patient journey involves a comprehensive, warts-and-all mapping of all the individual touchpoints, clinical and non-clinical—from the patient’s point of view.

Just focusing on your functions or processes can return a false sense of confidence, warns management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Similarly, individual touchpoints may pass muster but the overall patient experience might be substandard.

The Patient Journey: The revenue cycle runs through it

While all parts of the journey matter, the revenue cycle can make or break the entire patient experience—even more than clinical care.

  • It drives patient satisfaction: Patients who had a positive billing and payment experience rated their clinical care higher than patients who had issues with their billing, according to a TransUnion Healthcare survey.
  • It drives loyalty and referrals. Patients satisfied with their medical billing experience are five times more likely to recommend a hospital and two times more likely to recommend a physician than those who were not, according to predictive analytics firm Connance.
  • It drives collections and revenues. The increase in high deductible plans and other out-of-pocket expenses makes it more important than ever to treat patients like customers and improve financial communications and engagement. More than two in three patients with hospitals bills of $500 or less in 2016 didn’t pay the full balance, according to That number could climb to 95% by 2020.

Even without a patient journey map, we all know there’s a lot of room for improvement in how patients navigate the administrative and financial aspects of care, which are confusing for many people. As a result, improving revenue cycle communications, from pre-arrival confirmations to billing statements, offers an opportunity for major early wins and to build momentum for enhancing other stops on the patient journey. Tracing the steps that patients and staff take during scheduling, patient access, and the billing and collections portions of the journey will identify specific pain points to remove and friction points to improve.

We’d be glad to discuss the paper and how we can help you sharpen your focus on CX. Please send us an email at

About the Author

Rich leads Nordis Technologies’ sales and client relations teams and is responsible for revenue growth and client retention. He’s been integral to the company’s fast growth, doubling sales since 2010, and playing a key role in developing new products including ExpressoPay, ExpressoVote and ExpressoArchive. An expert in communications management, financial engagement, production execution and cost optimization, Rich uses his experience to assist customers dramatically improve their communications and payments operations and achieve key objectives. He is a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association.