The article, “Why Optimizing the Patient Experience Should be on Every C-suite Leader’s Radar” in the recent HFMA Leadership newsletter does a nice job of summarizing the Beryl Institute’s recent study of consumer perspectives.
One of the key findings of the survey? “Nearly 90% of the 2,000 respondents said having a clear, understandable and respectful billing process was extremely or very important to their experience.”
Based on the survey’s findings, Jason Wolf, the CEO of the Beryl Institute, offers this caution to health system executives, “If you fail to invest in the patient experience, you may lose potential customers to other organizations that can deliver what patients want, expect and deserve.”
And there are plenty of competitors out there ranging from the health system across the street to telehealth providers to Aetna/CVS who will be happy to profit from a health system’s inattention to the patient financial experience of care.
What’s important to remember is that the revenue cycle team typically is the first and last team within a health system that patients encounter for an episode of care. So hospitals have the opportunity to make a great first impression by providing easy access to their services if the scheduling, registration and precertification process is convenient. If not, as more care is shifted to other settings, patients will have the opportunity (and the incentive with increasing cost sharing) to take their business elsewhere.
On the back end, the account resolution process is the last impression people have of a health system. And that will likely determine, as illustrated by an anecdote in the Leadership Newsletter article, whether the hospital wins the opportunity to provide care in the future.
At the end of the day, HFMA’s Healthcare Dollars & Sense recommendations and best practices are all about providing our members with the strategies and tactics to win that future business by providing an exceptional patient experience of financial care. And at a more human level, our work supports treating patients the way everyone would want to be treated in what is often a difficult hour in their life.