Undoubtedly you have heard the phrase, “consumerism in healthcare” but is that something that we really want, as practice administrators, as hospitalists, as physicians? Because with true consumerism, healthcare delivery will shift to a true retail business, manifested amidst quality, price and location shopping. Within radiology and other healthcare specialties, there is now greater transparency including widespread utilization of pre-service price estimators and physician quality scores published on Medicare’s Physician Compare website, vitals.com and zocdoc.com, among others. However, a potentially more hidden precept of the retail business that is forthcoming is the patient refund.
In our article Best Practices in Radiology Patient Billing, we identified a greater focus on practice billing processes as a critical element in improving patients’ satisfaction with the practice, and we encouraged practices to accept electronic payments. According to the InstaMed Trends in Healthcare Payments Eighth Annual Report 2017 released in May 2018, “Consumer loyalty is increasingly tied to the healthcare payments experience as 65 percent of consumers would consider switching healthcare providers for a better healthcare payments experience.”
In today’s healthcare landscape, patients are paying more out-of-pocket for services than ever before. The numbers of people with high deductible health plans and those who are uninsured have risen; often leaving patients with large medical bills and providers struggling to collect the money they are owed.
Maximizing the patient experience is no longer limited to the achievement of clinical success. It is a critical component of the new, broader partnership between provider and patient – one that now encompasses conversations regarding not only service quality and cost, but also places a greater focus on practice billing processes in line with the higher demands inherent to the new patient consumerism trend.
Guest Author | by Elizabeth W. Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC
Improving patient collections may not be at the top of the to-do list in many radiology practices, but it should be. There’s no non-clinical activity more important to your practice’s future than taking action to get paid for the services you provide.