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The Patient Financial Experience Requires More Focus than Ever Before in Healthcare

Healthcare providers must add how patients experience the financial side of healthcare to the many areas that require their focus and staff training, according to the HealthStream article, “Footing the Bill - Improving the Patient Financial Experience Is Increasingly Critical for Provider Profitability.” This blog post is the first in a series of excerpts from the article.

Providing High-Quality Healthcare Means Delivering on Many Components.

Any list of quality measures usually is topped by the desire to provide an optimal patient outcome with an eye toward also creating the best patient experience. These issues are key, because patients’ impressions, especially around cost and perceived value, are having an increasing effect on providers’ bottom lines.

And therein lies the problem. For many in healthcare, the patient experience starts and stops within a facility’s walls. This is understandable, given that’s where the vast majority of the actual care is delivered. And that experience, as defined by HCAHPS surveys, is currently assessed largely on in-facility care delivery from doctors and nurses, alongside the overall hospital stay and discharge experience.

Patient Financial Experience Needs to be Improved

Missing is a thorough, thoughtful consideration of the patient’s financial experience. Healthcare is expensive and getting pricier. Providers are at the bedside to talk symptoms and courses of treatment, not billing and payment plans—but those costs are never far from a patient’s mind. Especially because patient direct billing is now estimated to be responsible for as much as 30 percent of a hospital’s revenue, thanks to high-deductible plans and higher copays (Sanborn, 2018). That means they hold more power and demand a lot more information when it comes to explaining and delivering on the value for their healthcare dollar.

No consumer enjoys paying bills—particularly high ones—so the challenge for healthcare providers is very real. This article looks more closely at the following reasons causing patients, their pocketbooks, and many healthcare organizations, some anxiety:

  • Healthcare is expensive.
  • High-deductible plans expand coverage but depress outcomes.
  • Premiums continue to rise, and consumers continue to demand coverage.
  • Healthcare pricing remains a veiled mystery.
  • Patients are avoiding care, which drives up costs and depresses outcomes.
  • Providers think they are powerless in this situation.

 

Download the full article here.