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You’ve Got (Returned) Mail: 3 Tips for Healthcare Organizations

Returned mail impacts nearly every healthcare organization around the world. Not to mention, multiple studies have shown that returned mail rates rest at around 10% to 15%, costing healthcare organizations millions of dollars every year. What is at the root of the problem? Outdated contact databases as a result of patients and donors moving and changing addresses frequently. Let me share some tips on solving the returned mail dilemma based on my experience working with healthcare professionals.


Common healthcare returned mail complaints

Before I start, I want to share three common returned mail complaints I hear nearly every day.

Patients are not receiving their bills because they moved and we don’t have their updated address – Collections is not effective with bad addresses

Charitable materials are not reaching our past donors due to our outdated contact information. We want to get in touch with our donors.”

We do not know what to do with all of this returned mail. We need a solution to minimize this massive headache.”

The unfortunate part is, the list of complaints only continues. The important thing to note is that you are not alone in the well-known returned mail pile up problem.

Leading cause: patients and donors are on the move

I look at my own experience, my friends and relatives seem like they are at a new address every year. In this market, it is common for people to change jobs, move to a new apartment, or even buy a new house. It wasn’t even a surprise to me when I learned the average person moves every 18 months.

The great news is that there is a solution to solve the constant changing of addresses. What’s the solution? Using a data provider to clean your database on an ongoing basis.

Below are some tips on keeping your database up-to-date:

Tip 1: Update your consumer database frequently

The problem of returned mail originates from not having an up-to-date consumer contact database. Below are two ways healthcare organizations can go about solving this problem.

  1. Update your consumer database frequently. It is common for healthcare organizations to clean their database on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.
  2. Check your contact data with another data source in real-time. This allows you to to validate contact information as each mail item goes out. 

Tip 2: Find a data provider you can trust

Test your data provider! I cannot stress this enough. There are many data providers that will offer an extremely low price for data, but often have outdated and completely inaccurate data. Other data providers will provide a very expensive solution to solve your business problem. It is crucial that you navigate your data providers to find one that is the right fit for your company. 

Tip 3: Know your regulations

There are regulatory requirements for some functions of healthcare organizations. It is important to do your due diligence in having the best-known address for patients. I am not an expert in this space, but the most common area I’ve heard from customers is for shipping pharmaceutical products. The last thing a healthcare organization wants to hear is that they sent a drug to the wrong individual. Patient safety is the number one priority for all healthcare organizations.

Whitepages Pro can help

Whitepages’ consumer database is unique because of our graph-structured database. You can search a person with their previous address and our address API will return their most current address. The two products we offer are:

  1. API: We have an easy-to-integrate API that can validate your contacts’ addresses. We like to keep it simple and provide the online resources your developers need to integrate the API into your current systems.
  2. Pro Web: It is a simple, easy to use platform where users can interact and find the data they need. The product allows unlimited users, user management, and advanced reporting. If you have team members handling returned mail, this is the tool for you.

Contact us today to talk about how we can help clean your patient and donor database and validate address information before important mailers go out.

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