Estimates Can Promote Patient Satisfaction…And Much, Much More
Recently, many industry experts have discussed how healthcare organizations can increase patient satisfaction by providing price estimates at time of service. Patient satisfaction is critical for many reasons, especially as consumerism continues to have a significant impact on our industry, and patient engagement is strongly linked to patient satisfaction.
While certainly critical, patient satisfaction is just one of the many reasons to provide price estimates at or prior to time of service. Here’s a countdown of my top five:
5) Price transparency is becoming the law of the land…literally. Price transparency databases have been enacted or proposed in more than 17 states to make prices for common procedures available to the public. Even if your state isn’t on this list, it’s smart to prepare now as this trend will continue.
4) Patients continue to shoulder more of their healthcare costs. Price estimation helps your patients plan for their financial responsibilities, and they appreciate the transparency and insights an estimate provides into the medical billing process. In fact, in a recent survey, health organizations reported that the majority (53%) of patients asked about balances due.
3) Providing estimates streamlines your staff’s time on the back end. Because patients are more likely to pay at time of service (or make arrangements for payments) after receiving an estimate and discussing payment options, your team won’t be chasing down payments via phone or mailing statements. And if you have patient payment solutions such as automated payment plans, that’s a huge time-saving bonus!
2) In the new era of patient payments, one of the most critical updates to your strategy is proactive communication at time of care, including providing estimates. This lays the groundwork for key points of communication at time of service and post-service and can be the difference between whether the patient pays or not.
1) Lastly, the number one reason price estimates are important: Your patients trust you. The doctor-patient relationship is far more personal than other consumer-driven relationships. Your patients will truly appreciate getting up-front information, knowing they can trust the source that also takes good care of their health!
Your peers recently discussed price estimates and patient payment strategies at the MGMA 2016 Health Systems Summit this past May. Check out the slide share, Price Transparency: Getting Ready for Seismic Changes, to review their lessons learned—in particular, how to ensure your payment strategy is ready for new demands from price transparency.