Providers and patients disagree on how long it takes patients to pay, according to key findings from Navicure’s first Patient Payment Check-Up. The recent survey conducted by HIMSS Analytics and fielded in January 2017 assesses differences in attitudes and behavior between those billing for healthcare and those paying for it.
The survey reveals over half of providers (51%) say it takes their average patient more than three months to pay their full balance. Only 18 percent of patients claim it took them longer than three months to pay their last balance. Consumer confusion is likely caused by multiple statements. To eliminate this confusion, providers can utilize credit card-on-file (CCOF) to eliminate statements. Other key findings from the survey include:
– 75 percent of provider organizations claim to be able to provide a cost estimate upon request, yet less than 25 percent of patients requested one on their last visit. This indicates that healthcare consumerism is still maturing, and most patients do not know that they can get an estimate before or at the time of service. Providers have an opportunity to improve patient satisfaction by proactively offering estimates.
– Among payment methods that a provider organization can offer its patients, patients view CCOF as their preferred method for charges of $200 or less. Additional patient preferences are patient portal (18%), provider website (16%) and automated payment plans (9%).
– CCOF is viewed by providers as the best way to improve patient collections.
– Twenty percent view CCOF as the best way to reduce cost of collections (22% prefer online bill pay), 20 percent view CCOF as the best way to reduce patient days in accounts receivable, and 29 percent view CCOF as the best way to reduce bad debt and write-offs. Despite broad patient acceptance of CCOF (78%), only 20 percent of providers currently utilize CCOF today.
“Our study indicates strong patient interest in more convenient ways to understand and pay their bills. Ironically, patient demand is ahead of current hospital and practice adoption,” said Jim Denny, founder, president and CEO of Navicure. “A new generation of tools are available to improve patient satisfaction and allow healthcare organizations to collect more, faster, and at less cost. The return on investment is phenomenal. We’re seeing a lot of interest in our patient payment solutions, especially among organizations with a high and growing percentage of patient revenue.”
Deployed as a combination of two quantitative surveys, research assessed both patients and providers.
· All patient survey participants receive care from a healthcare provider at least once per year. Respondents represented a broad range of education levels, employment statuses, annual household incomes, locales and ages. Notably, 45 percent of patient respondents have an annual household income of less than $61,000, 62 percent are 35 to 74 years old and 36 percent are millennials.
· A large percentage of provider survey respondents are physicians or other healthcare providers (75%), practice administrators (12%) and c-suite executives (8%). Participants are employed by varying organization types and specialties: 45 percent work in an acute inpatient hospital or healthcare network and 55 percent work in an ambulatory organization.