Think about the last time you bought something online. For most of us, that probably wasn’t too long ago. And most of us would agree the process was pretty convenient. The evolution of eCommerce practices have shaped what consumers expect from their buying experience. What's even more interesting is how those eCommerce practice have trickled into patient billing, reshaping the way that providers think about their patients as healthcare consumers.
Even before eCommerce was mainstream and the ability to make a purchase with one click was possible, retail brands were catering to their customers. They created personal shopping accounts, loyalty reward programs, and eventually retail branded credit cards that provided a “VIP-like” experience for their most loyal customers.
eCommerce brought these same principles mainstream. Where just some customers received special privileges before, retail brands selling online made these available across the board. Online shopping has been so successful because of the convenience and level of customer service provided to customers. Some would argue that the evolution of eCommerce has created a new set of expectations for the average consumer. Convenience, transparency, and confidence in the purchasing process are now expected.
An interesting dynamic of the evolution of online shopping is how it has impacted the healthcare industry. Self-service capabilities, upfront insurance eligibility verification, convenient payment methods, and other healthcare technologies have created a new patient experience. Patients have evolved into healthcare consumers, bringing with them their set of expectations from the buying process.
Due to this shift in how we think about patients and their needs, healthcare providers have begun to rethink the way they handle many of their processes, most notably in how they bill patients. It is no longer efficient or effective to see a patient and bill them afterwards. Not only does this method yield poor results, it’s not the experience that patients are looking for.
So, what are the practices that patients are expecting from their healthcare experience now?
HOW ECOMMERCE HAS HELPED REDESIGN PATIENT BILLING
- Tools like insurance eligibility verification and cost estimation are provided upfront to enable a more transparent pricing structure.
- Self-service technologies, like patient check-in kiosks and patient portals, enable patients to conveniently manage their healthcare experience anytime, anywhere.
- Secure payment processes have created a more confident healthcare consumer.
- The collection time has been drastically reduced, increasing revenue for providers and creating cost savings in other areas of the organization.
Let’s take a closer look at an example of how technology modeled from eCommerce practices is transforming patient billing. For this example we look closer at patient check-in kiosks and the value they provide to patients and providers.
THE ECOMMERCE OF HEALTHCARE: PATIENT CHECK-IN KIOSKS
Patient check-in kiosks can be compared to several common experiences one might have in a typical retail setting.
- Check-in for appointments quickly and conveniently
- Log in to your unique portal to manage your personal and financial information
- Log in to monitor and pay balances
- Fast, convenient checkout
- Transparency into costs of services
- Emphasis on security and protection of sensitive data
Much like you might download the Target app, use it while you shop, connect it to your RedCard, and check out quickly and conveniently, you can manage your entire healthcare experience with a self-service solution like check-in kiosks. Many providers are realizing the need for an investment in self-service tools that allow patients to take control of their experience.If we’ve come this far already due to the evolution of eCommerce, the future of self-service healthcare has endless opportunities. We are at the cusp of innovation in terms of meeting the needs of healthcare consumers. Increased adoption of self-service patient technology will only propel the patient experience forward, reshaping the way we think about the healthcare journey entirely.