The Patient Financial Experience: Why Billing Matters
The patient experience is consistently a top
concern for healthcare leaders.
When thinking about how to improve, advances in clinical care and
environment are often the focal point. However, in an era of rising patient
responsibility, the patient financial
experience is often an overlooked component. Billing is the last impression left on a patient and can
potentially be one of the most damaging.
Worse, there is a correlation between higher patient responsibility and
bad debt, not to mention the many patients (insured or otherwise) who avoid
needed care due to the costs.
A prominent McKinsey study shows 74% of patients are willing and able to pay given the right conditions. A more consumer friendly approach to billing has the potential to ensure patients have the right expectations from the start, clearly understand their benefits and bill, and have a convenient means to pay including financial assistance. Healthcare leaders face an important opportunity to close a significant gap. More than 50% of US consumers across most household categories prefer self-service payment yet consumers in healthcare are stuck at only single digit adoption. Why?
Hospital systems and their leaders can be resistant to transforming their patient revenue cycle. Traditionally, revenue cycle management focused on insurers and claims - afterall, it was 80-90% of incoming payments. By comparison, patient collections focused on minimizing cost inefficiencies. Revenue cycle leaders now face a host of competing pressures and fears of the unknown as they try to engage the “healthcare consumer”. However, early adopters are forging ahead and identifying their blind spots along the patient financial journey—from pre-service estimations to interactive digital bills to self-service payment plans to satisfaction surveys.
This session will use primary data from consumer surveys and implementations of new methods integrating engagement, billing, and payment to evaluate the effect on provider/patient interactions and attitudes. Case study evidence will be shared from providers including ValleyCare Health System, Memorial Hermann, and LifePoint Hospitals.
We will explore how patient utilization of electronic payment standards increased 10x and 8 out of 10 those patients paid within one day of receiving a billing statement. Further, the clarity of communications and overall online experience left over 80% of patients saying they were likely to recommend the hospital based on their recent payment experience. In addition to patient satisfaction, we will examine the financial impact of shifting to a self-service model including increased collections and reduced costs to collect.
Finally, this session will close with the future of the patient financial experience. Highlights will include mobile, unified physician and hospital billing, and pre-service estimates. Overall, the case will be made that a modernized billing system on par with best practices from consumer technology aligns with advances in clinical care, engaged patients, and better outcomes.