Organizations must change the way they approach the patient’s financial experience. Why?
There are a few major reasons for this:
- Patients are bearing the responsibility of a larger portion of their healthcare bills.
- Patients can’t afford to pay large hospital bills, at least not all at once.
- Healthcare billing is often confusing.
Here are a few quotes from Becker Hospital Review’s whitepaper:
- “As more patients enroll in health plans with high out-of-pocket costs, provider organizations must shift their focus to ensure patients are at the center of their revenue cycle strategy. Hospitals and health systems that fail to make this transition may see their patient experience scores and finances suffer.”
- “Patients are now responsible for more than a quarter of healthcare revenue and are the fastest growing payer.”
- “An analysis of 400,000 claims by The Advisory Board confirmed that the greater a patient’s deductible, the less likely he or she is to pay the owed amount, irrespective of his or her income level.”
- “Healthcare payments are a uniquely complex multi-party ecosystem, and the numerous bills and benefits statements patients receive after hospital visits confuse them. Patients often choose not to pay the bills because they are unsure of the amount they owe, even after comparing invoices from providers and statements from insurers over an extended period of time.”
And, here are a few more important statistics that shed some light on healthcare billing and its relation to patient experience:
- “Research from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions shows that hospitals with better patient experiences perform better financially and there is a positive correlation between patient experience and clinical quality measures.”
- Research from InstaMed reveals that 72% of consumers preferred electronic payment for their healthcare bills. Yet in 2015, 87% of consumers received paper medical bills from their providers.” (Trends in Healthcare Payments Sixth Annual Report: 2015)
- Patient satisfaction ratings can fall by an average of more than 30% after discharge because of the billing process, according to a 2015 survey by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems
Healthcare billing can often create problems and this can have a negative impact on a patient’s overall experience.
Every hospital’s overall goal should be to make patient payment easier.
Here are some ideas to help facilitate this:
- Give patients multiple methods of payment (“71% of consumers saying that being offered multiple ways to pay increases their satisfaction” (Fiserv, “Eighth Annual Billing Household Survey, Fiserv Inc., 2016))
- Set up automatic payments and save credit card information for recurring bills.
- Consolidate multiple charges for the same visit into one bill.
- Use electronic/digital communication/billing whenever possible to speed up the process.
- Create online, user-friendly, customizable platforms to view and pay EOBs/bills.
- Offer multiple options to pay bills over extended periods of time.
- Offer discounts for paying early (even at time of service) or paying with cash.
- Educate staff on how to discuss payments with patients.
- Allow/offer the option of patients paying prior to service or while they are still on site.
- Know how much you are spending on debt collection and cut your losses when needed. Only $15.77 of every $100 is recovered once debt goes to collections. (https://nationallist.blog/2016/10/13/medical-debt-collection-difficulties/)
These solutions can help make bills less confusing, relieve patients’ financial burdens, and help hospitals reduce bad debt by seeing more bills paid and by seeing bills get paid sooner.