How Transparency in Healthcare Affects Patient Satisfaction
The paradigm of who pays for healthcare is changing as more patients are responsible for a larger portion of their medical bills. Faced with larger healthcare bills, patients want greater transparency and a better understanding of their financial responsibility upfront.
A recent survey found that 91% of Americans want price transparency in healthcare. In addition, 62% of respondents reported that transparency is most meaningful when it comes to personally relevant charges, such as co-payments, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. Providing greater transparency around cost is an effective way for practices to build trust, loyalty and higher patient satisfaction.
Price transparency and patient satisfaction
A large reason why people aren’t paying their medical bills is a lack of quality transparency. For example, a patient may visit the practice and receive a much higher bill than expected after the visit. The root cause is often that the patient believed their insurance company would pay more of the bill. As a result, they become confused, frustrated and angry.
Providing patients with a more accurate view of financial responsibility eliminates these types of situations with clear communication about patient costs. You can potentially leverage real-time data based on the patient’s specific benefit plan and payer fee schedule. The patient will receive an accurate personalized estimate of their financial responsibility and can plan for that payment.
Flexible, personalized payment plans can be offered to patients who can’t afford to pay the entire balance upfront, and is one of the top ways to improve patient satisfaction.
Enabling transparency through digital experiences
Digital payments are an important tool in creating more transparent patient experiences. Patients already use digital payment options for a variety of services – everything from food delivery to paying for groceries and one-click online shopping. Expectations for simplified payment experiences spill into all corners of business, including the provider experience.
After discussing the amount owed, provide the patient with an easy way to pay their bill. Instead of waiting weeks to receive a paper bill, the patient can instantly receive a bill via text message or email. At this time, the patient can pay the bill or set up easy payment options.
Without a time lag between when you discuss the amount owed and when the patient receives the bill, the patient has greater clarity about financial responsibility and can view that information immediately. Additionally, your practice can increase cash flow with faster payments and speed up the revenue cycle.
Engaging patients and providing transparency
The importance of patient engagement in healthcare is more important now than ever. Patients appreciate ongoing communication, especially when it comes to the cost of care. You can build a stronger practice and nurture patient relationships with an innovative patient engagement platform. This type of platform nurtures relationships at critical touch points throughout the patient journey. Additionally, you can communicate digitally with patients using their preferred communication type, whether it’s text, email or speaking with a person live.
For example, let’s say that you provided the patient with a cost estimate prior to the visit and during the visit, but the patient hasn’t paid their bill. An engagement system can recognize this scenario and send that patient a follow-up email reminding them about personalized and customized payment options to make paying the balance easier.
Engagement technology can also minimize patient frustration and create increased engagement by streamlining communication. Less confusion and fewer phone calls will free up your staff to focus on other tasks.
Greater transparency through patient engagement tools also has the potential to drastically increase customer satisfaction. Increased online patient involvement, such as through digital payment options or portals, can result in a 90% satisfaction rate for patients and physicians.
Forging stronger relationships into the future
Most practices open their doors to help patients stay healthy and to provide them with excellent care. When a practice gets busy, it can be difficult to maintain the level of communication that patients need most. Patient engagement strategies allow you to increase transparency, and start communicating more effectively with patients.
Patients are empowered with more accurate information about one of the largest pain points – the cost of care. Details about what their insurance plan pays, how much they owe and options for repayment are provided before they step into the practice.
Empowering people with this knowledge early in the interaction increases trust and helps people feel that your practice is looking out for their financial well-being. As a result, you can foster greater loyalty and build lasting relationships that help your practice grow into the future, and collect more positive patient reviews.