Why Pricing Transparency is Important to Patient Engagement

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How can we improve patient engagement? Many healthcare executives pay consultants large sums to determine the secret “X factor” that can actually change a patient’s behavior and get that person more engaged in his or her care.

Yet it turns out that the elusive secret might simply be to realize today’s patients behave much more like “consumers,” and if we start treating them as such, we might be onto something. According to David Betts, a principal with Deloitte, as reported in an article in RevCycle Intelligence, three major reasons turn patients into consumers:[1]

  • Higher out-of-pocket spending
  • More accessible healthcare information
  • Family healthcare engagement

“Healthcare customers now have more skin in the game,” Betts said. “They are paying more out-of-pocket and as result, they are behaving as customers are want to do. They shop for their healthcare just like you shop for anything that you buy, like a car or any other major purchase.” [2]

Consumers are demanding cost transparency

Betts is right on with his take on consumerism in healthcare. What other industry can exist by supplying only estimates? Leading health research consultants, Price Waterhouse Coopers, concur: “Health systems command billions of dollars in revenue and yet few can do what other billion-dollar companies consider table stakes – identify the cost of the services they provide. Now insurers, consumers and other major healthcare buyers are demanding better value for their spending, and healthcare providers are scrambling to calculate these costs.”[3]

We can do better than estimates

Today’s consumers are tired of healthcare estimates, and many don’t even receive estimates. Consumers are also used to comparison shopping from their smartphones, making decisions in minutes and receiving products quickly. Take forward-thinking Amazon who realized early on consumers want convenience and don’t want to pay a premium for it. Amazon gave consumers a way to select items from their mobile app, compare prices, pay easily and receive their goods in about two days.

Simplifying the purchase process for patients can be extremely complicated in healthcare, which is why this industry has been slow to adopt retail-like approaches. HealthQRS has developed algorithms that do all the work, keeping the process simple for healthcare providers and payers to publish true pricing. Our Retail Medical Marketplace and Point-of-Service solutions use the actual payer contracts by provider plus insurance verification information plus charity plus other business rules to calculate the true out-of-pocket per patient per procedure.

Give consumers a way to shop, book and save for healthcare

Imagine what an online retail approach could do for your organization. With HealthQRS’ Retail Medical Marketplace, a consumer types in the service she needs and instantly receives a list of procedures, locations and available dates, along with real pricing, not estimates. She can select her procedure and location, book her appointment online, and pay in advance.

HealthQRS’ Point-of-Service solution also goes far beyond estimates because we provide true pricing. We help your scheduling and registrar team explain the whole picture to your patient. We provide interactive scripts on the scheduling or intake screen to help staff members collect the full deductible upfront or discuss setting up payment plans with patients. This is helpful for team members who aren’t used to discussing financials with patients. Our scripts give your team confidence to help your patient and your practice. In turn, you collect more of your money rather than pennies on the dollar months after the procedure is complete. Not only does your bottom-line improve, we’ve found that prepayment creates less no-shows.

We invite you to schedule a private demonstration of our Point-of-Service solution and / or our Retail Medical Marketplace. Healthcare’s future is here. It’s now. Are you going to win?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Jacqueline Belliveau, “Preparing Providers for the Healthcare Consumerism Shift,” RevCycle Intelligence, Feb. 27, 2017, http://revcycleintelligence.com/news/preparing-providers-for-the-healthcare-consumerism-shift?elqTrackId=875f186fbb0d4dd9aab14495859b3bd8&elq=e09f163fd31747dc8110166675c5b17a&elqaid=2000&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=1831

[2] Ibid.

[3] Price Waterhouse Coopers Health Research Institute, “Top health industry issues of 2016: Thriving in the New Health Economy,” Annual Report, Dec. 2015, p. 11, https://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/top-health-industry-issues/assets/2016-us-hri-top-issues.pdf

 

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