As the healthcare ecosystem continues to change for the better, patient satisfaction has become more critical than ever, especially in the context of medical billing. Patients are now more involved in their healthcare decisions and face greater financial risks associated with care. Therefore, they are more likely to compare healthcare providers based on the quality of healthcare services they provide, making patient experience the most critical determinant of practice growth and sustainability.
To comply with measures such as the HCAHPS survey, practices are obligated to report patient experience. However, research indicates that optimal patient experience provides sustainable financial benefits for practices.
Patient experience is the sum of a patient’s interactions with all aspects of care within a practice. Studies have shown that patients often complain about the management of healthcare organizations, patient-staff relationships, and the quality of clinical care.
A John Hopkins research highlights that patients commonly complain about the following:
Payment collection is a significant area that repeatedly surfaces in patient complaints. Patients are unsure of the amounts they owe, whether to pay providers or insurance companies, and even whether their medical bills are correct. Approximately75% of patients prefer their doctors to assist in managing financial responsibilities, including clear communication on billing and insurance coverage.
Patient experience during collections is critical because it controls several potential practice challenges. Satisfied patients have much lower rates of opting out of treatment, leading to lower readmission rates. Conversely, poor patient experience leads to lower reimbursements, and dissatisfied patients are more likely to switch providers.
Creating a positive collection experience is not only a good practice but also financially beneficial. Healthcare costs now fall more on patients than on insurance, leading to complicated billing requirements, frequent rejection of claims, and low profitability. Therefore, streamlining patient experience with the collection is the most effective way to avoid delays and discrepancies in collections.
Recent research has found that millennials’ expectations from healthcare are drastically different from those of prior generations, which means that patient experience strategies of the past may now be outdated. Approximately 65% of patients have said that cost transparency is critical to their overall satisfaction, of which 41% are millennials.
Improving patient experience during collections enhances patient loyalty, lowers costs, and increases return rates, resulting in more profits for healthcare providers. Therefore, it is crucial to optimize patient experience in collections. Implementing self-service check-ins, providing adequate communication, and claims scrubbing are some of the ways practices can streamline collections to cater to modern patient preferences.
As healthcare financials become more intricate, it is imperative that providers engage both technology and collection experts to enhance patient satisfaction and benefit all stakeholders.