The phrase “call cadence” or “contact cadence,” come from the world of sales. In sales, there are specific and effective strategies for how often and when to reach out to prospects. There are formulas that produce the perfect combination of timing, frequency and method — formulas that drive the best close rate. The most intelligent sales organizations use vast amounts of data to establish their cadence -- to determine how to best reach and sell to each prospect. They pinpoint when, where and how to make contact.
While patient collections is about recouping earned revenue, not “making a sale,” the same principals around cadence apply. There are perfect combinations of timing and frequency that will increase patient collections and decrease your cost to collect.
While there are some general best practices, the most effective strategy should be born from your own historical performance. Your ideal contact cadence is specific to your organization (or, in the case of RCMs, to each organization for whom you’re collecting). Based on your historical payments data, the ideal timing and frequency for patient collection efforts can be identified and even integrated into your current workflow. With the application of clustering algorithms, your data can pinpoint when you should make collection calls (or texts or emails), how often, as well as when you should offer a payment plan (and at what amount).
This is the kind of approach that is table stakes for sales teams — reviewing campaigns and sales history to determine how to best close deals. Integrating a contact cadence model that follows the underlying tenents of a sales strategy can have an impactful place in the patient revenue cycle.
Here's an example of a single aspect of a strategic call cadence formula for healthcare providers.
“Provider A,” a real-life Sift partner
In running predictive models on Partner A’s historical payments data, we identified that the most effective timing for a first phone call to a patient account is 37 days after the initial bill was sent. Calling on day 37 has the most meaningful impact on if accounts and amounts collected. We also identified that a second phone call, to accounts still unpaid, should happen 17 days after the first.
The timing of the first two phone calls is a small piece of contact cadence intelligence and strategy, but merely identifying the best schedule for these calls provides valuable strategic direction.
- Partner A can prioritize calling efforts and tighten staffing strategy to fits what drives the most collections.
- Provider A doesn't waste valuable time and resources calling before 37 days, during which a good portion of accounts pay without a phone call and/or a phone call isn’t a powerful lever.
- Timing calling in this manner has driven increased payment plan acceptance, helping increase the total amount collected.
- Timing calling in this manner has improved call adherence, providing a logical sequence and owned strategy for internal teams.
Most healthcare organizations, RCMs and technology providers aren’t talking about “cadence” in the patient payment space. But cadence has a place in the conversation. In healthcare, small improvements have a significant impact on margins (we’ve seen a <1% increase in patient collects drive an additional $1mm in revenue). And in a landscape where patients have become consumers — taking a queue from savvy salespeople adding a true data-driven cadence strategy to the revenue cycle is a powerful improvement.