Creating a Modern Healthcare Experience: Disrupt. Or be Disrupted.
In a recent healthcare webinar, we discussed why the modern patient consumer is looking for digitally accessible tools that work as easily on their phones as their home computers. We also learned that they want to schedule services, register and pay their portions of hospital bills before they show up for care. All with a few keystrokes and clicks of a mouse.
Accenture’s Digital Health Consumer Survey further reiterates the importance of price transparency to the entire patient experience, as 65% say cost transparency is even more important to them than traditional measures of patient satisfaction, such as convenience of appointment times, wait times, appointment length and the convenience of the location.
Business imperatives are only part of the reason to upgrade your digital capabilities in this area. By Jan. 1, 2021, federal regulations will require hospitals make standard charges for 70 CMS-specified and 230 hospital-selected services available online in both a consumer-friendly format and a data file that can be read by computer systems. Beyond that, 28 states have enacted their own legislation on healthcare price transparency. They don’t match the federal rules exactly, but you have to comply with both.
Doing What’s Right for Patients is Good for Business
Beyond regulation, doing what’s right for patients is good for business. Disruptive technology alters the way consumers operate. One good example is the travel industry over the past 20 years. People are doing most of the work travel agents used to do, made possible by the proliferation of easy-to-use online tools.
What does this look like in patient access? To enable patient-consumers to access what they need, you must master four key online elements of the transaction: the physician order, scheduling, registering and the service itself.
Providing online capabilities enables patients to be consumers prior to their scheduled services and transition to being patients when they come to the office physically. You can offer just about everything patients need for a transparent and surprise-free experience with online tools—scheduling, text and email communications, preregistration, price estimation, financial clearance and charity care and online payment or collections at the point of service. Many hospitals are doing some of this, but to maintain a competitive advantage, offering patients all these services is the future of healthcare consumerism.
Giving patients clear visibility into their out-of-pocket costs before service is the right thing to do, and it’s increasingly easy. Providing these tools will improve patient engagement and their financial experience, but the patient-consumer isn’t the only beneficiary. These tools allow hospitals to start financial responsibility conversations earlier and offer charity care or financial assistance options well before service is provided. These upfront discussions result in faster payments and a decrease in collection costs by collecting payment where it costs the least and likelihood to collect is highest—before service.
Help Patients Be Informed Consumers, Increase Hospital POS Collections
The choice is yours: you can disrupt, or you can be disrupted by others who serve patients with the tools they need to understand their cost liability. Today’s patients want to be informed consumers, and the right online tools can help them achieve this goal.
To learn more about our patient estimation software and how your hospital can provide patients with the cost transparency they need and want, download our most recent on-demand webinar, Empowering the Patient Consumer.