– Consumer frustration is driving more than 2 in 5 U.S. people to consider switching their providers over the lack of digital engagement.
– Outdated provider billing processes and a lack of digital payment options & plans are major contributing factors to late/missed payments, and the overall digital transformation of healthcare administration has been a major sore spot within U.S. healthcar
– Younger healthcare consumers are significantly more frustrated, more likely to stop seeing providers and will write negative reviews based on bad digital experiences
Cedar, a patient payment and engagement platform, today announced results from its 2019 U.S. Healthcare Consumer Experience Study that finds more than half of healthcare consumers are frustrated over their provider’s lack of digital experiences. The study, which conducted in-depth interviews of more than 1,600 healthcare consumers, also found that — even though the provider-patient relationship is often considered the hardest to break – 2 in 5 U.S. people are willing to abandon their providers over poor digital experiences.
Approximately 41% revealed they would stop going to their healthcare provider over a poor digital experience (e.g. online bill pay, digital pre-appointment forms, mobile and email bill delivery, etc.). More notably, approximately one in five have already stopped or switched providers over a poor digital experience.
Younger Healthcare Consumers are Significantly More Frustrated
For younger generations, the issue is much more pronounced. Respondents aged 18-24 are:
– 3x as likely (61%) to consider switching providers over a poor digital experience compared to the over-65 population (21%).
– 4x as likely (29%) to have already abandoned a provider over a poor digital experience compared to the over-65 population (6%).
– The study also found that digital experiences can be a big reason why consumers write negative online reviews of providers, with those reviews being highly influential.
– Approximately one in five have given a negative review of a provider because of a poor digital experience.
– 52% consult online review sites when choosing a provider, with 44% of these people citing the reviews a top influencing factor in their decision.
Healthcare Billing Causes Patient Frustration and Increases The number of Bills in Collections
The study found that one in three Americans think providers can do more to improve the patient billing and payment process, as provider billing issues are often the reason why patients don’t pay medical bills.
The Cedar study also found that one-third (34%) of U.S. healthcare consumers have had a healthcare bill go to collections, representing a slight increase from 2018 Consumer Reports study. The problem is worse for younger consumers. Those 18-44 are nearly twice as likely (44%) to have a healthcare bill go to collections compared to consumers 45 and older (26%).
Getting expected out-of-pocket cost information also is a noted pain point. Approximately 60% have tried to get out-of-pocket costs from providers ahead of care, but 51% didn’t get it easily or accurately.
However, the study did provide a way forward for providers. Specifically, the top billing improvements healthcare consumers are calling for include:
– Flexible payment plans for large bill amounts (83%)
– Out-of-pocket cost estimates (56%)
– Understandable bill explanations (50%)
– Consolidated bills or statements (41%)
– Better customer support (38%)
– Digital payment options (33%)
The 2019 Healthcare Consumer Study was commissioned by Cedar and conducted by Survata, an independent research firm, to identify trends in the patient financial experience. Survata interviewed 1,607 online respondents between August 27, 2019 and September 01, 2019. The respondents represent an even distribution of U.S. adults over the age of 18 who visited a doctor or hospital and paid a medical bill in the last 12 months (September 2018 – August 2019).