Attitudinal survey about patient billing and payments reveals continued need for transparency and payment options
Waystar™ (@Waystar_RCT), the combination of Navicure® (@Navicure) and ZirMed® (@zirmed) revenue cycle technologies, announced findings from its second annual Patient Payment Check-Up™ Survey, conducted by HIMSS Analytics. This year’s survey, fielded in January 2018, polled over 1,000 patients that have visited a medical provider in the last 12 months, along with almost 900 financial executives from leading hospitals, health systems and other outpatient facilities. The survey gauged general patient and healthcare executive attitudes about patient costs and estimation, along with patient payment processes. The second annual report includes the survey results, compares results to last year, and suggests pragmatic steps that healthcare organizations can take to improve patient satisfaction and collections.
- Eighty-five percent of patient respondents to the survey felt the same responsibility to pay for healthcare as they do other professional services, yet less than 20% of these respondents with commercial insurance plans found it “easy to understand and convenient to pay for” healthcare expenses.
- The survey revealed that cost estimates clearly help patients to understand what they owe. Improved transparency and understanding of charges facilitates faster and easier payment. Eighty-six percent of patients who received cost estimates noted they understood their payment responsibility.
- Eighty-seven percent of healthcare professionals surveyed claim that they are able to offer their patients a cost estimate upon request, yet less than one-third of patients know to ask for one. This is an education opportunity. The better patients understand why they owe what they do, the more likely they will be to pay.
- Almost 100% of healthcare executives said that they bill patients using paper statements, yet over half of patients claimed they would prefer to receive and pay their healthcare bills electronically as they do their other bills. This presents an opportunity for providers to improve patient satisfaction while significantly reducing cost of monthly paper statements and time that it takes patients to pay.
- The survey indicates a significant difference between patients and their provider organizations in terms of perceived payment timeliness. Almost half (48%) of providers claimed that it takes their patients over three months to pay the full balance of what they owe, versus only 24% of patients thinking that it takes them longer than three months to pay in full. This perception gap may lie in the timing of payer reimbursement. Patients may believe that they do not owe anything until their payers pay their share.
- Over 75% of patients shared that they would be willing to pre-authorize their healthcare organization to charge a credit card number provided at the time of service for charges up to $200. This presents a significant opportunity to reduce patient bad debt and days in accounts receivable while simplifying patient payment.
Matthew Hawkins, CEO of Waystar, said about the results, “Our second annual survey reveals that the healthcare industry is at a tipping point. Patients want to understand their healthcare expenses given how much they pay out of pocket. At the same time, providers are looking for ways to increase patient satisfaction and simplify their revenue cycles. The great news is that technology solutions like Waystar’s are readily available to address both patient and provider needs for simpler billing and payment methods that yield more revenue. Providers can implement these solutions quickly and easily.”
Hawkins went on to say, “Our survey reveals that patient consumerism is advancing quickly as organizations adopt advanced payment technology. Patients have a higher expectation than they used to have. It is important that lagging healthcare organizations improve their patient billing and payment methods faster to remain competitive. Patients are already seeking healthcare from providers whom they trust with both their health and their pocketbooks. Providers who don’t provide transparency and convenience will be left behind.”
“There are clear differentiators in the data between patients and providers, which emphasizes some of the key challenges currently impacting the healthcare industry,” said Blain Newton, executive vice president, HIMSS Analytics. “As we review the findings, we can see that patients are evolving in the way they want to receive patient billing information from their providers. This said, some providers aren’t aware of how to identify those frustration points to help create a better patient experience. Resources like the Patient Payment Check-Up are further assisting providers to better understand evolving consumer habits so they can adapt to their patient preferences and needs.”
For more information about the 2018 Patient Payment Check-Up Survey, register for our webinar on May 22, 2018.
About Patient Payment Check-Up Methodology and Respondents
Deployed as a combination of two quantitative surveys, the Patient Payment Check-Up Survey assessed a total of 895 providers through HIMSS Analytics Logic and 1,007 patients. Patient survey participants visited an in-patient or outpatient provider setting within 12 months of completing the survey and had to be 18 years of age or older, not covered by parent or guardian insurance, not treated at an emergency room and not work for a healthcare IT company.
Patient respondents represented a variety of ages, education levels, insurance coverage types and locales. Notably, 51% had a college degree and 42% had an annual household income of less than $61,000. Of the providers polled, 61% had more than 10 years of responsibility or influence on revenue cycle operations and 86% of respondents worked in an ambulatory setting.
Waystar is the combination of Navicure and ZirMed, the two top-rated providers of revenue cycle technologies. Waystar simplifies and unifies the healthcare revenue cycle with innovative technology that allows clients to collect more with less cost and less stress, so they can focus on their goals, patients, and communities. Navicure and ZirMed are recognized as industry leaders, collectively scoring Best in KLAS® claims clearinghouse every year since 2010, including 2018, and earning multiple #1 rankings in both medical claims processing and patient payment solutions from Black Book™ surveys since 2012. ZirMed has received the “Peer Reviewed by HFMA” designation through the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA). The combined company supports more than 400,000 providers, hospitals, health systems and ambulatory services organizations and partners with the leading EHR and practice management solution providers.
About HIMSS Analytics
HIMSS Analytics® is a global healthcare IT market intelligence, research and standards organization assisting clientele in both healthcare delivery and healthcare technology solutions business development to make lasting improvements in efficiency and performance.
HIMSS Analytics offers a wide array of market insight and research solutions custom-created to meet clientele business objectives. Offering a full spectrum of research services from general market understanding and opportunities, to finding ways to improve business effectiveness, HIMSS Analytics’ team of experienced analysts and thought leaders guide clients through the fast-paced, highly competitive health IT market to better performance.