New Year’s Resolution for 2023: Improve Patient Financial Health.
As 2022 ends, there comes to mind the age-old tradition of reviewing the previous year and thinking about the year ahead. We often pause to assess our personal and professional goals and evaluate what we can do to improve our lives and the lives of those around us.
For those working in healthcare, goals usually focus upon the health and well-being of patients.
Will 2023 will be a year that patient financial health is a consideration of patient wellness? We believe it is.
As the healthcare system places more economic responsibility on patients for their respective care, unintended consequences that are detrimental to patient health and well-being often result.
Patients are avoiding getting the care they need.
In a recent survey, nearly half of respondents indicated that they avoided getting healthcare due to the uncertainty of costs. With the increase of high-deductible plans, patients are uncertain of the financial burden they will face because of the unknown costs of seeking needed care. The trend to avoid care is also based on the concern of being able to pay for the care they receive.
Based on the 2020 Change Healthcare Harris Poll Consumer Experience Index, patients indicated that every step of the healthcare process has become a complicated and opaque process that make them often avoid getting crucial healthcare.
The net result of more patients avoiding care limits the effectiveness of healthcare in general, and points to the inevitable loss of revenue based on decreased patient volume. This is not a positive development for patient health and the financial health of your organization.
There are better ways forward
The realities of today’s healthcare system require new thinking in how the business of healthcare is conducted. As patients are expected to accept more responsibility for managing and paying for their care, they in turn have new expectations of the healthcare system. The patient’s new role as consumer will inevitably change the way you conduct your practice because healthcare is now a business, whether you agree with it or not.
So, what can you do to improve patient financial health and the healthcare consumer experience?
Pricing Transparency & Patient Estimates – Consumers expect to know what they are paying for
Patient Communication & Updates – Keep your patients informed of their responsibilities
Automate Repetitive Tasks – Reduce staff drudgery & eliminate careless errors on billing & statements
Make It Easier to Pay – Consumers expect convenience and options such as text to pay and mobile payments
Offer Financing Options – Healthcare can be expensive so offering affordable payment options can relieve the stress of paying for care upfront or all at once
Customer Support – Treat your patients like the valued customers they are with live customer support
Empathetic Collections – While being reimbursed for your services is essential, consistent communication, financing options and personal support helps patients understand their responsibility.
Leverage Technology – With staffing challenges and the complexity of the patient payment ecosystem, technology can solve many of the healthcare business challenges by automating the process to maintain consistency and improve financial performance
Get Feedback – Regular patient surveys may indicate your clients’ sentiments towards your practice, and provide feedback for continual improvement
Insight & Analytics – Information is power and knowing your key performance indicators enables you to continually assess your practice’s financial health and provide insight into the evolving business of consumer-based healthcare