Empowering the Patient Consumer: The Disconnect Between Patient Expectations and Provider Reality

Most people in healthcare have heard of consumerism, but this common buzz word is so overused, it’s almost become devoid of meaning. It’s time to update what consumerism means for the modern healthcare patient consumer, whose decision making is heavily influenced by an ever-increasing burden of cost liability.

Managing their own healthcare costs, while a reality for some, is a new reality for many patients. So, how can providers help navigate the process? Providers who embrace modern-day healthcare consumerism provide easy-to-navigate tools that enable patients to accurately determine their financial responsibility before accessing the medical services they need, not after the point of service. After all, who wants to go into a medical procedure thinking it costs $200 only to receive a bill weeks later for $2,000?

Many Providers Are Lacking the Healthcare Technology Patients Want

Black Book Market Research shows a disconnect between what tools patient consumers think providers offer to help them navigate and determine their financial responsibilities and what’s actually available. Nine of 10 consumers believe providers have technology to engage them in scheduling and online payments, but only one in 10 providers offer tools that meet those demands successfully.

Many providers have yet to invest in technology that empowers the patient consumer and helps meet the ever-increasing regulatory burdens around cost transparency. But if they’re going to make the investment, what’s in it for the provider?

Turns out, it’s a win-win for both the provider and the patient. While patients report higher satisfaction, providers are able to obtain the patient payment where it costs them the least and prevents the challenge of collecting later in the revenue cycle or ultimately writing it off.

Why Providing Price Transparency is Mission Critical

Providing transparency is critical as more patients manage their increasing healthcare cost burden. Recent surveys show a troubling trend that stems at least partially from patients’ lack of visibility about their healthcare financial responsibilities.

A Harris Poll survey showed 54% of patients delayed care for themselves and 10% of patients delayed care for their dependent family members in the past year because of financial concerns. These findings provide a frightening glimpse into our healthcare system and are a perfect example of why it’s so important providers offer patient consumers the cost transparency solutions they need to make crucial healthcare decisions.

If that’s not enough, lack of care cost transparency can undermine the patient’s relationship with their clinicians, according to Ateev Mehrotra, MD, associate professor of healthcare policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School and a leading authority on healthcare economics.

After all, if hospitals fail to provide something as simple as an accurate out-of-pocket price estimate, how can the patient consumer trust them with a hip replacement or a cardiac procedure? Find out more about how to provide patient consumers with a modern healthcare experience by watching our on-demand webinar, Empowering the Patient Consumer. We offer real-life solutions for providing a more positive patient financial experience that keeps existing patients coming back and attracts new ones from competitors.

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