Opportunity is Knocking for Healthcare Providers
This blog post could be started using a number of different cliches to provide a snapshot of what is going to be discussed -- when life ha
nds you lemons, make lemonade; when someone closes a door, they open a window; when everyone zigs, you zag. The upshot is that the coronavirus pandemic has upended the entire healthcare industry and while it can be difficult for healthcare providers to see the forest for the trees as they try to bail water out of the boat -- more metaphors, yay! -- there is a great opportunity for providers to adapt how they do business and make important changes that will affect their business models for the long-term.
Healthcare providers are being afforded the chance to revamp their operations and their financial policies and procedures, which will help them going forward. For example, 42% of patients who participated in a survey conducted by TransUnion indicated that they were not provided clear information about out-of-pocket expenses. Only 51% said they fully understood the financial responsibility they were bearing for their care. Those numbers paint a picture of an industry that is not doing its job well enough to let people know how much medical procedures and doctor's visits are going to cost. Would you buy a car without knowing how much it cost before you signed on the dotted line? Would you agree to let someone remodel your kitchen if you didn't have an estimate? Why are people so reluctant to find out how much their healthcare visits are going to cost before agreeing to them? Regardless of the anxiety and fear that many patients have when it comes to talking about how much a procedure or visit is going to cost, providers need to start doing a better job of letting people know the financial implications. Nearly 25% of the respondents to the TransUnion survey said they would be likely to pay a bill prior to care if an estimate was provided before or at the time of service. When asked if they would make at least a partial payment, that number goes up to 65% of respondents. Here's one last cliche -- the numbers do not lie. Being more up front about cost will lead to more payments, less that has to be collected after the fact, and less anxiety -- for the provider and the patient. That is a win-win for everyone involved. Cliche or not.