According to a 2015 Availity study, 91% of providers agree that balances that are not collected upfront become increasingly harder to collect. If that's true, why are so many providers still missing out on point of service patient payments?
With the rise of healthcare consumerism, patients are more empowered to take action when it comes to their healthcare decisions. As a result, physicians find themselves trying to manage a new physician-patient relationship. That relationship is more important than ever in nurturing patient satisfaction and retention, but that's not all. Providers must continue to nurture this new dynamic in order to collect patient payments.
Below are the 3 pillars of healthcare consumerism that patients not only desire from their healthcare experience-- they expect it. How will you deliver patient needs and increase patient payments in 2016 and beyond?
3 Things Every Provider Must Do To Increase Patient Payments at the Time of Service
Demand for patient cost estimations is on the rise. According the 2015 TransUnion Healthcare Costs Survey, 44% of patients surveyed requested estimations of costs before treatment in 2015, up from just 4% in 2014. Not only are more patients requesting cost estimates, they are also reporting more positive billing experiences.
This demand highlights the importance of transparency in the healthcare financial experience. Consumers today expect a retail-like experience from their healthcare providers, not the complicated and confusing one they are used to.
If patients are demanding a more transparent financial experience, why aren't providers giving it to them? Healthcare organizations today must respond to this demand with tools that allow them to provide transparency into patient financial responsibilities prior to service.
While not necessarily encouraging point of service payments, online and mobile billing fit better with consumers' expectations of the increasingly retail-like nature of healthcare. Healthcare providers report that not even half of patients are able to pay their bill in full at the time of service, according to a recent study by Availity. If that is true, then setting up payment plans and offering online payment options is key in ensuring payments post-visit.
Patients benefit from the convenience of being able to access their bills at anytime, anywhere. Make it easy for patients to pay, and maybe they will!
Confidence in their financial experience is one way to address the demands of the patient consumer. Confident patients are satisfied with your billing processes and are more likely to make their payments on time and in full. Health systems must incorporate transparency and convenience into all aspects of the healthcare experience, but particularly the financial experience. Transparent communications about healthcare costs and convenient payment options will help increase patient satisfaction and retention rates, leading to a more financially stable and profitable organization.
Achieve transparency, convenience, and confidence in all aspects of your health system. These principles address the growing demands of the patient consumer now and in the future. Consider how you can use these priniciples in your practice. What technology and tools must be invested in to create a more retail-like patient experience?