One thing is certain about the healthcare industry: it’s changing for good. Health systems are moving quickly to digital-first approaches, with an increasing number of patient interactions taking place virtually. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated this adoption and its happening across the continuum of the patient relationship, from initial encounters via telehealth to the patient financial experience. For health systems to thrive in this evolving landscape, they need to be aware of industry trends, consumer behavior, and shifting dynamics—and they must adapt to fit the needs and expectations of their patients.
That’s why the information found in the 2020 VisitPay Report is invaluable. This national study of 3,500 people reveals significant insights into patients’ behaviors and expectations, including who wants a digital platform and who prefers traditional engagements. Its goal is to provide guidance to build a more compassionate financial experience for both patients and providers.
Understanding Patient Needs
One of the most critical patient needs to be unearthed by this survey was for an increased level of visibility into the costs of medical bills Patients want to receive estimates prior to their care. They want a view of the explanation of benefits at the visit level. And they want a single, consolidated monthly statement that includes all charges.
COVID-19 has made awareness of these patient needs more relevant than ever. The pandemic has shone a light on some of the flaws in the current healthcare model, specifically on the financial side. The traditional one-size-fits-all patient payment approach was already inefficient, but now—as patients continue to struggle with unemployment, decreased incomes, loss of insurance, and overall financial uncertainty—we can see that it simply no longer works.
In the 2020 VisitPay Report, you’ll discover the importance of offering payment plans to fit patient budgets, as well as providing digital solutions. In fact, nearly half (48%) of survey respondents said they’d be likely to opt-in to a digital solution to pay their medical bills. Of those respondents, close to one-third were interested in spreading out the cost of care over time on payment plans.
The report gives health systems information on how to tailor financial support where it is needed. It highlights how patients want to receive communication, as well as the importance of personalizing the message and delivering information clearly. It offers insights into how patients prefer to pay their bills, too. More than anything, it lights the way for health systems to reevaluate and improve the financial experience for their patients.
Learn. Adapt. Thrive.
As we face the first economic downturn since the rise of the high-deductible health plan, providers must implement a plan to engage patients in ways that are personalized, flexible, and effective. By using the information in this report, health systems can provide patients with a financial experience that works for them, while ensuring their overall rate of payment rises: a critical need in order to thrive in this changing environment.