By Christopher Wolfington
As the costs of healthcare continue to rise, hospitals and patients alike are faced with a difficult billing process. While the staggering prices of care can cause providers to want to hide or obscure the amount that a patient will owe, being transparent with patients about their financial obligations actually has numerous benefits for hospitals and clinics. Below are the top reasons why transparency is important when it comes to dealing with your patients’ finances.
Increases Patient Satisfaction
The leading cause of patient dissatisfaction is the feeling that they were misled or uninformed of the costs of their care before they received it. Taking the time to speak with the patient in-depth about what their care will cost and why – as well as their options for paying it off – can drastically improve patient satisfaction and create a smoother, more positive experience for both parties. More than ever, consumers are looking at ratings and reviews online before they choose a particular healthcare provider. Thus, satisfied patients and positive reviews are critical for hospitals and clinics to survive.
Saves Both Parties Time
When a patient is caught off guard by a bill and believes there has been a mistake, the situation can take 5, 10, or even more phone calls back and forth to reach a resolution. Sometimes, the process of finding a solution for dissatisfied patients or resolving billing errors can take months. Discussing the costs of care upfront can significantly reduce the amount of time spent later on in the process, allowing your clinic to be more efficient with its time.
Increases Likelihood That Patient Will Pay
In addition to saving the hospital time, being transparent with the patient about how much their care will cost also saves the care provider money. Studies have shown that patients who are well aware of the costs of their care at the beginning of the process and are educated on their available payment options are far more likely to pay their bills. Those who are blindsided by their bills are more likely to neglect to pay off their debt, as they feel overwhelmed by the amount of money they owe and aren’t sure how to go about paying it. Over time, these unpaid bills accumulate, resulting in heavy losses for the hospital.
Increases Likelihood That Patient Will Return
Finally, another benefit of being completely transparent with patients is that the satisfied patient is far more likely to return to your clinic the next time they are in need of care. Ensuring that the patient is fully informed in the beginning of the process increases the patient’s confidence in your clinic, and assures them that they will not be tricked or blindsided in their future visits. Treating your patients well will help your clinic to stand above the rest and will result in loyal customers and word-of-mouth advertising that will significantly benefit your business.
With increased patient loyalty, revenue, efficiency and positive PR, financial transparency with your patients is a practice that pays off. Consider standardizing your best practices when it comes to patients’ financial obligations to ensure that care providers take the time to discuss costs and payment methods with patients before they receive care, each and every time.