By: Christopher Wolfington
The way that the healthcare industry conducts the revenue cycle process has continuously evolved throughout history; as our society becomes more technologically advanced and sophisticated, so must healthcare providers’ approach to collecting payments. This blog post outlines the four biggest patient financial management trends in the healthcare world as we head into 2018.
- Patient Experience
More and more healthcare providers are shifting their focus to the patient experience. In 2017, consumers’ expectations for service providers were higher than ever, as convenience, efficiency, personalization and more become the standard for any customer experience. In order to address these rising expectations, many providers now seek to provide greater pricing transparency to their patients upfront and provide simple and convenient ways for them to pay their bills.
The high cost of care has long been a problem in the healthcare world, but the continued shift of financial responsibility for healthcare costs to the patient in recent years has caused this issue to come to the forefront. According to the Physicians Foundation 2016 Patient Survey, 62% of participants reported concern regarding their ability to pay for medical care if they were to fall ill or become injured. More than a quarter reported skipping a medical test, missing a follow-up appointment or not seeking treatment for a medical problem in the last year due to insecurities regarding the cost of care.
Many healthcare providers are attempting to tackle the issue of affordability through various methods such as improving automation within their own operators or providing more self-service options to patients. However, only 3.5% of patients make self-service payments. These initiatives to reduce costs for the provider don’t always translate to a better user experience or affordability for the patient. Engaging patients early to provide the education and transparency they need to understand their medical costs is crucial. This engagement also needs to include a variety of methods for payment for every household budget. These are set to be the major trends in the forthcoming year.
- Technological Solutions
As providers are attempting to reduce costs and streamline their operations, technological solutions are a vital step in the transformation process. Many vendors are looking to innovate provider solutions that track and manage new payment methods, such as how providers will track the receipt, disbursement, and compliance of bundled payments when different partner organizations and disparate technology platforms are involved.
- End-to-End Revenue Cycle Vendors
Though many healthcare providers have typically used multiple vendors who each address a certain aspect of the patient financial management cycle, this practice is expected to die off in 2018. Providers are transitioning to operating partners who can manage the entire patient financial experience from end-to-end, which includes automation and old school patient engagement. This is how you lower cost while also having a positive impact on the patient financial experience and overall patient satisfaction at every patient financial management touch point.
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