Not that long ago, insurance companies shouldered the vast majority of the financial burden for patient’s healthcare—creating a transaction-based payment system. However, with patients now covering more of their healthcare costs out of pocket, there has been a shift from transaction to experience.
Patients now have a “consumer” mindset about their healthcare, and similar to how they would search for the best car or deal on an airline ticket, they’re going to shop around.
These recent behavioral changes to the healthcare landscape have made it more important than ever for practices focus the total patient experience. Ensuring patient satisfaction will directly impact your bottom line in a bigger way than before.
At a recent Medfusion Client Connect Event, one of the patients on our panel commented that her actual visit with the doctor was only one of the factors that played into her overall ranking of her patient experience. Every interaction your patient has with your office or technology plays a role in their overall satisfaction—from the ease in which patients can access their lab results and healthcare data to how convenient it is pay a bill.
Here are some of the latest trends and tips for how patients want to interact with you beyond your walls:
1. Increased Comfort with Technology
Emerging technologies are changing the way patients want to communicate and schedule appointments with their doctors. It’s not just the millennials that are jumping on the Smartphone trend, 64% of adults now own some type of smartphone and expect to access information and complete tasks on-the-go. It’s important to make sure both your website and portal are mobile-optimized to ensure users have the same great experience whether on a desktop or mobile device. Consumers expect to be able to view websites and apps on a variety of devices- desktop, tablet and mobile. The text and features should be easy to read and navigate on the smaller device, as shown in the correct example below.
2. Anytime, Anywhere Access to Their Data
The rise of technology has also increased the need and expectations for consumers (your patients) to access information anytime, anywhere. While this doesn’t mean they are expecting to call their physician at all hours of the night, they do expect to access their health information, such as when they had their last shot, beyond business hours.
An active patient portal is essential for streamlining patient/provider communication, increasing practice efficiency, and driving patient satisfaction. An underutilized portal, or no portal at all, creates a headache for patients which can lead to a decline in loyalty and ultimately, revenue for your practice.
The best way for patients to take control of their healthcare is to make sure they have easy access their healthcare data. Every CCD (Continuity of Care Document) should be securely sent to the patient’s portal inbox where they can view their data and download it at any time. You may also want to consider adding a tech support chat feature so patients can get instant help for things like forgotten passwords and navigation assistance so they can easily complete tasks.
Patients are also increasingly frustrated that they don’t have access to all of their healthcare in one centralized place since EMR systems don’t talk to each other. 46% of patients would prefer that providers share health records directly. At Medfusion we’ve heard these frustrations escalate, so we’ve developed a free Medfusion Plus app to bring data from all different patient portals into one simple application that patients can have in the palm of their hand.
3. Convenient Payment Options
Between 2014 and 2015, patients experienced a 13% increase in both deductible and out-of-pocket maximum costs. Your chances of collecting payment are also greatly reduced after the patient leaves your office. With more of your revenue now coming directly from patients’ pockets, offering a variety of convenient ways for them to settle their bills before, during and after their visit is critical for reducing your collections cost. If you aren’t offering at least one or two ways to pay bills online, you’re likely missing out on revenue.
Here are a few questions to ask when evaluating your payment solutions:
- Can patients get e-statements?
- Are patients able to use a pre-check feature to pay before their appointment?
- Does your reporting system make it easy for staff to reconcile payments?
- Can patients easily pay bills online, after hours?
The shift to value-based care isn’t going anywhere, but by becoming more in tune with the changing needs of your patients, practices have an opportunity to increase satisfaction and retention while also boasting your bottom line.
Medfusion has been helping physicians improve the patient experience for nearly two decades. If your practice is looking for a change, contact us for a free consultation on how our solutions can help drive your business by emailing Letstalk@medfusion.com or calling us at 919-882-2831.