Articles > Patient Pay
Study Shows Link Between Patient Satisfaction With Billing Experience and Clinical Satisfaction
Posted on: March 24, 2011
When it comes to patient satisfaction, how loyal a patient is and how willing they are to refer the hospital to others is influenced significantly by how they are treated during the billing process, post care. According to a recent Connance Consumer Impact Study, an online survey of more than 500 Americans, 23 percent of hospital patients who received bills for services expressed discontent with the billing processes following their recent healthcare events. While a third (33 percent) of all patients said they would seek customer support to resolve billing questions, 70 percent of those who did felt they received adequate resolution.
Among uninsured patients, four out of five (76 percent) thought the amount they owed the hospital was incorrect. Billing problems are just as frequent among patients who have payment responsibility after insurance, as more than half (55 percent) said they were not certain the amount of the bill was accurate.
Billing issues appear to directly impact customer satisfaction with the hospital and affect a patient's willingness to refer the hospital to a friend -- a measure proven in consumer businesses to be connected to customer loyalty and correlated to customer lifecycle profitability. According to the study, overall satisfaction with the hospital billing processes remains low, with 20 percent giving billing processes a top mark. This service perception appears to be impacting the patient's view of their clinical experience. Of patients who were satisfied with their hospital billing experience 93 percent of them were satisfied with their clinical treatment they received. By comparison, among patients who were dissatisfied with the billing experience only 63 percent were satisfied with clinical treatment.
"The issues and their impact are very clear," said Steve Levin, chief executive officer of Connance. "There is a major opportunity to improve the total patient experience by improving the billing processes. The insights from this research confirm what consumer products companies recognized years ago and have leveraged to transform their business models and profit equations."
Across healthcare -- as a result of both growing uninsured populations and increased responsibilities associated with co-payments, deductibles and co-insurance -- more and more patients have some form of payment liability for their healthcare treatments. According to the May 2010 America's Health Insurance Plans' (AHIP) annual census research report, high deductible health plans and health savings accounts now cover more than 10 million lives, up from only 1 million in 2005.
"With the rapid growth in lives covered by high deductible health plans and health savings accounts, the short term cash at risk and long term customer loyalty issues suggested by this research are only going to increase," says Levin...
"Providers need to start now to build their organizational competencies. It takes a long time to truly become consumer-centric and first movers tend to realize lasting advantage."
Steve Levin, chief executive officer of Connance
Overhauling the US Healthcare Payment System.
Recommendations for Payment Reform - Center for Health Transformation.
Doctors Feel the Pain
A doctor was desperate for ways to increase overall collections. Their payer mix
had a large number of self-paying patients due to their urgent care hours. They
were relying on one staff member who preferred to work from home and they used a
clearinghouse that did not send regular statements for collection of patient balances. In addition, their biller was not generating any monthly report data for review.
We focused on three basic areas: report generation, reconciliation of third party
payer claims and collections, and patient collections. The intention was to improve overall collections through more efficient processes
When Patients Can't Pay
The AMA says physicians have
a duty to consider passionately the patient's ability to pay and should discuss the charges for their services with patients.
But weighing those considerations can be hard for physicians, who often don't have all of the facts necessary to effectively evaluate their patients' financial health.
To ease that burden and assist in the screening process, some public and private programs have been developed.
RKB has your solution!