Increased transparency and consumer-friendliness are common goals in improving billing, but more work is needed.
A large part of the consumerization push in healthcare has centered around billing. This is often a patient’s most frustrating and confusing contact with healthcare-making it prime real estate in the fight for transparency.
Most large healthcare organizations have been tackling the issue in recent years, and while improvements have been made, much more work is needed.
That’s according toa survey
of 23 executives from 20 of the top 100 U.S. health systems (based on net patient revenue), conducted by commissioned by patient payment and engagement platform Cedar and conducted by The Health Management Academy. Overall, the study found that while many organizations are prioritizing patient experience with finances, many still struggle to simplify patient billing and align it with revenue cycle management (RCM).
More than half of the executives surveyed from those organizations said that identifying “consumer-centric financial experiences” as a top 10% priority. And while the survey found that most organizations have at least some plans to achieve that priority, most plans are implemented in a fragmented way-just 63% said they were aligning at least four of eight points (such as scheduling, account creation, billing, or final payment) across the patient financial journey.
So what’s standing in the way of progress? Many executives said that, while external forces like increased regulations or consumer expectations are difficult to deal with, the primary barriers to improving their patients’ financial experience are internal.
For example, 75% of finance executives said competing priorities are the biggest barrier, while consumer executives said patient engagement is their biggest barrier. This could indicate a disconnect in the C-suite that needs to be bridged.
Executives also identified other problems, such as a lack of consumer-friendly resources, struggles to consolidate bills, inconsistent RCM technology use, and limited tracking of patient-centric metrics when measuring the success of billing and RCM.
The survey identified several areas that health executives should focus on: