What’s the meaning of life? What’s our purpose? Could we all be living in a simulated matrix? These are some of life’s big questions just waiting to be answered. And, when it comes to your revenue cycle, there are also big questions worth asking to unlock the answers.
One big one in particular: When it comes to paying their healthcare bills, what do patients want?
The answer: Better insight around the cost of their care, more freedom in choosing their care providers, and convenient digital payment options that match the quality of service they receive in other industries.
Naturally, we wanted to see how practices are advancing in meeting those demands, so we sought insights from 761 MGMA members to uncover some positive news in our 2017 Digital Payment Progress Report™—providers are making good progress.
We also discovered some key disconnects—and key lessons—that organizations can take into consideration when developing their approach to provide patients with more convenient patient payment options.
Here are four key takeaways:
- Patients and providers disagree on how long it takes patients to pay their bills. Patients report paying faster than providers say they do. In fact, 23% of patients say they pay their bill within a month and 67% say they pay in full when asked to pay at time of service. However, 52% of our survey respondents say it takes patients more than three months to pay, and 26% say it can take up to six months to pay.
- Estimates are underused. Nearly 80% of ambulatory organizations can provide patient estimates today, compared to 69% of hospitals. Despite this ability, organizations aren’t routinely offering estimates to patients, and patients don’t necessarily know they can get them. This is a huge opportunity for the industry when it comes to improving price transparency.
- Credit card on file (CCOF) is a valuable convenience tool. Patients want to satisfy their balances over time and online, and according to our survey, an impressive 78% of them would leave their credit card on file to cover small balances. However, only 28% of provider organizations are taking advantage of this service.
- Think digital to address your revenue cycle woes. Provider survey respondents say automated payment plans, CCOF, and online bill pay can reduce the cost of collections, days in accounts receivable and patient bad debt/write offs.
Check out our infographic for even more insight from the 2017 Digital Payment Progress Report on what patients want and where healthcare organizations stand on delivering those wishes and meeting their needs.