By T. Scott Law
Healthcare “consumerism” is finally taking off. For the past several years, the undeniable growth in patients’ financial responsibility has fueled enormous change. Now, according to the PwC annual report on the top health industry issues of 2019: “The U.S. health industry … is beginning to behave like other industries.” Indeed, this issue is a primary concern for executives grappling with how best to provide the kind of consumer-oriented, retail-like experience their patients desire. This presents opportunities for innovation.
Patients likely desire the same consumer-driven options they receive from other industries, but healthcare organizations must provide them in a convenient, secure format that carefully preserves the distinctive patient-provider business relationship.
To deliver a satisfying, retail-like consumer experience for patients, healthcare organizations may want to start by simplifying the most prevalent source of friction and confusion — the financial experience.
To successfully ride the consumerism wave and ensure the high levels of patient satisfaction that support value-based reimbursement, healthcare organizations must view their financial processes through their patients’ eyes. Then, they must reduce points of friction — defined as any negative aspect affecting the consumer experience.
Our mobile phones are a part of our lives. Apple realized that its customers preferred to pay for transactions with their phones because, of course, using a credit card created friction. Therefore, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal and other financial mobile apps have been successful in reducing the friction of financial transactions.
Zotec Partners has developed a revolutionary, market-disruptive all-in-one tool designed to empower patients and provide them with the transparency necessary to make informed financial decisions without the customary financial friction of the healthcare industry. It lets patients schedule and register for appointments ahead of time, confirm or change insurance and demographic information, see estimated service costs, receive text and email updates, seamlessly check in and check out, and make payments at the time of service, all with their mobile phones. By removing common sources of friction, this kind of technology helps create harmonious financial relationships reflective of the patient-centered clinical care delivered by providers. That’s increasingly important, given the rise in reimbursement models that tie hospital and health system reimbursement to overall patient satisfaction.
Implement patient-focused financial strategies
Reducing friction and strengthening the patient-provider business relationship requires engaging in patient-focused financial conversations from pre-registration through post-discharge. By helping patients understand what they owe — and why — hospitals and health systems can keep them from being blindsided and upset by unexpected bills. Here are a few strategies to do that:
Simplify, engage…and grow
Zotec Partners understands the importance of a healthcare revenue cycle focused squarely on the consumer. Engaging patients throughout the financial process with mobile technology can help hospitals and health systems sustain their own fiscal well-being while providing a satisfying, retail-like experience to patients.
As care increasingly expands out into the community — into retail clinics, schools, mobile units and more — all healthcare organizations will need a transparent, patient-centered approach that mirrors the conveniences found in other industries. Anywhere healthcare is delivered, the right financial management tools can help simplify the patient experience and strengthen the unique patient-provider business relationship.