Billing and Payment Influences Turnover and Brand Loyalty

November 20, 2019
MHE Staff
MHE Staff

A report from Salucro suggests most patients evaluate billing and payment processes before even reaching the institution.

Salucro Healthcare Solutions, a healthcare payment technology company located in Phoenix, released the results of its 2019 Patient Payment Technology Report.

Through help by 1,000 U.S. healthcare consumers, the report suggests patients place an exceedingly high importance on the financial aspect of their healthcare journey, and that hospitals and medical centers who do not prioritize the process risk patient turnover and jeopardize brand loyalty.

The survey was designed to measure the degree that the payment and billing process impacts brand loyalty and patient turnover.

According to a release, brand loyalty is paramount for financial success, but for many patients, a less than satisfactory payment and billing process can easily turn them off from a specific hospital or medical center.

As a matter of fact, survey findings revealed more than three out of every four consumers consider the billing and payment process to be somewhat or very important when evaluating a new medical provider, meaning that many patients are disqualifying certain institutions before they even walk in the door, regardless of the quality of clinical care.

Related: Eight Ways to Help Patients Navigate Healthcare Costs

Providers known for their less than positive payment and billing process are putting themselves in danger of losing prospective patients prior to any care delivery, based on peer reviews and recommendations easily accessible online.

In addition, the report revealed only 33% of respondents reported feeling very confident that the bill they receive from their hospital/provider is accurate, and 47% reported a billing or payment issue during their most recent healthcare experience.

These issues can translate into financial losses as well as potential damage to reputation and brand loyalty, as consumers reported a number of related scenarios that would result in them seeking care from an alternate provider, including:

  • Incorrect or confusing bills (42%)

  • Difficult and unorganized billing and payment processes (34%)

  • When a preferred form of payment is not accepted (28%)

  • Lack of flexibility about payment options and financing plans (25%)

  • Significant delays in receiving a bill following a visit (22%)

“We tend to think first and foremost about a patient’s quality of care when we evaluate a provider but the truth is, their financial journey can have just as much of an impact on satisfaction,” says Clayton Bain, founder and CEO, Salucro. “Hospitals and medical centers that do not prioritize the billing and payment process are putting themselves in a position to lose patients and erode their brand loyalty, even if their clinical care is top notch.”

While major issues like incorrect bills are critical for providers to avoid, patients also increasingly demand flexible and assorted payment options. While credit and debit cards were still the most preferred, patients reported the desire to use a number of additional payment methods, including:

  • Check or ACH (28%)

  • Cash (35%)

  • A flexible recurring payment plan (22%)

  • PayPal (26%)

“Any organization’s financial success is dependent on the volume of customers who buy into their brand, and our data shows that hospitals and medical centers are in danger of losing patients, and ultimately profit, by neglecting to optimize their payment and billing process,” Bain adds.