Patients should feel comfortable when they visit their healthcare provider’s office, but many don’t. Financial concerns are the most likely reason for less-than-optimal visits. As a result, patients will often forgo treatment or use another medical service provider if they cannot afford treatment at your clinic. One solution is to provide a financing option so the patient can afford treatment. With more flexible payment options, your medical clinic will grow.
A positive patient financial experience is any aspect of care that enhances a patient’s ability to understand costs and make informed decisions about treatment or coverage. Positive experiences include:
In fact, there are plenty of ways to improve patient financial experiences in healthcare. From offering transparent pricing, reward programs, and payment options, here are five steps that can improve your practice today.
Due to the ever-evolving nature of healthcare, the uncertainty of costs can be confusing and frustrating for patients. Providing patients with a clear path to payment and a predictable schedule of fees can ease those concerns and make their visits easier. Also, by tracking and managing all aspects of the process, you can help patients feel more confident in your abilities to provide them with quality care and make them more likely to return for future appointments.
Additionally, with the increase in health-related spending expected in the next decade, it’s critical that you ensure that your practice is ready to handle the increase in all types of spending. While you may not be able to predict your costs in advance, you can work with your clients to establish a predictable and reliable payment schedule. This will help patients feel more comfortable visiting your practice. For instance, you can offer patients a fee contingency policy that allows them to pay you a percentage of their bill upfront. The remaining balance can then be paid in smaller installments.
One way of improving the patient’s financial experience is to offer an integrated payment and care coordination platform. For example, you can help patients manage their treatments and finances on an all-in-one platform by syncing their treatment records and outstanding bill details.
Additionally, giving your patients the option to settle their bills online increases accessibility, improving their overall experience and your patient retention strategies. Make sure your online platform is also accessible via mobile phone, as some patients prefer the convenience of paying their bills on the go.
In some cases, patients will want to pay off their medical bills immediately. Therefore, to streamline the process and offer more convenience, your practice can securely store your patient’s credit card information and automatically charge them post-treatment. However, make sure to be transparent about this practice with your clients and give them the option to opt-out.
Royalty and reward programs play a role in 76% of customer relationships. Therefore, implementing a promotional program can attract new patients to your practice and improve the financial experience of existing clients. For instance, cosmetic surgeons can offer their patients Botox at a discount if it is bundled with another service.
Another popular reward program perk is offering patients discounts or money back for referrals. In fact, more than 50% of clients are likely to refer a new patient if they are given a bonus or reward.
Additionally, personalized services are most in demand by patients. Therefore, your practice can offer prepaid service packages that allow your patients to customize their procedures. If paying in advance for three to five sessions, patients can get a discount on the bundle. Moreover, your practice can implement promotional email marketing strategies that reward clients for their loyalty by offering them a discounted service of their choice.
Nearly three million Americans owe $10,000 or more in medical debt. As a result, the fear of incurring more debt stops many patients from receiving medical care. Rather than have your clients go without, your practice can implement point-of-sale (POS) financing solutions to improve the patient financial experience and boost their accessibility to treatment.
For instance, dental payment plans for patients allow them to receive the care they need without the obligation to pay for the services upfront in full. Instead, your clients can pay their bills in small-sum monthly installments over an extended period of time.
Another way to improve the patient experience is to provide clear cost estimates and transparent fee structures. This can reduce both confusion and misinformation. Patients can easily understand how their visit will be paid for, no matter how they choose to pay for it.
Providers can also take the time to clearly explain fee structures before treatment. This includes why you charge a certain amount for a service and what you expect to cover with each fee. It can also include any additional fees that may apply to the patient, such as a referral fee if the provider has to send the patient to another doctor or specialist for follow-up care.
Healthcare is one of the most expensive services in the world. Addressing the needs of patients with less-than-ideal financial experiences requires a concerted effort between healthcare providers and their financial teams. Take advantage of the above five tips to improve your patient financial experience and open the door to more patients in your practice.