It’s no secret that patients are frustrated with healthcare costs and would like the same price transparency that they’ve come to expect from retailers and online service providers.
One recent survey of 1,300 U.S. consumers found that 91% said they believe hospitals and healthcare facilities should be required to publicly disclose the costs of their services, while 66% said they believe price transparency will improve healthcare.
Patients want a “consumer-centric” experience, with the ability to conveniently shop for services, make appointments, ask follow-up questions, and pay for care all in one place. However, fewer than one in 10 healthcare organizations are achieving optimal levels of consumer-centric care, according to a survey of over more than 110 healthcare executives.
To reverse this trend, following are four steps providers can take to deliver more transparency to the patient journey – for prices and beyond.
1. Provide Self-Scheduling
Consumers have come to expect the ability to self-schedule dinner reservations and hair styling appointments, and many would no doubt prefer the same accessibility from their providers. Although healthcare is much more complicated than other industries, online scheduling tools can deliver similar convenience to enable patients to select appointment times from a pre-established list. Advantages to providers include freeing staff for higher-value, patient-facing activities, increasing patient satisfaction and reducing data-entry errors.
2. Send Automated Appointment Reminders
Providers can greatly increase convenience for patients by sending automated appointment reminders prior to office or virtual visits. For providers, automated appointment reminders can reduce the rate of no-shows for both in-office and virtual visits without utilizing valuable staff time.
3. Deliver Pre-Service Cost Estimates
By offering pre-service cost estimates, providers are likely to increase the percentage of payment collected overall and prior to appointments. Because the process is more streamlined, practices can also improve patient throughput.
4. Furnish Post-Service Payment Plans
When billing patients after rendering services, providers can create better engagement by offering multiple payment plan options. With flexible payment plans, providers can free up staff time and expenses that would have been devoted to collections, and give patients greater feelings of flexibility, control and satisfaction.