The healthcare industry is competitive, and organizations need to think beyond the quality of services to make a mark. Price transparency is a key factor because it determines patient experience. Anyone who walks in for service feels apprehensive about the final bill because they have no clue about it. Prices for services and even common procedures differ significantly among providers, so patients may have a hard time estimating their out-of-pocket costs before getting care services.
The lack of transparency can frustrate consumers, and the complicated medical jargon and problematic insurance coverage and rules may worsen the situation. But savvy healthcare providers can work on this aspect to create a competitive advantage by delivering better patient experiences through better reporting of prices. Here are some ways they can enhance price transparency for parents.
Provide pricing details upfront
The best way to ensure price transparency is by providing upfront billing estimates with details for the patients. Start by listing prices for services and procedures as most patients will expect to know them. Physicians and staff should offer the information at the time of factoring in the patient’s insurance status or plan. You can simplify the process further by setting up a patient portal where they can access estimates in a few clicks. The benefits extend beyond patient convenience as the portal also reduces the workload of providers.
Educate the patients
You cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to price transparency for patients because not all have the same level of healthcare literacy. You cannot help them much by simply handing them an estimate because it will only overwhelm them. Being available to answer their questions is the better option. You can help patients by breaking down the costs to foster transparency. Include details such as plan benefits, cost-sharing ratios, and out-of-pocket costs. Consumers are more likely to choose your practice when they know how much they need to pay.
When it comes to improving health literacy among patients, think beyond being accessible in person. You can go the extra mile to create valuable resources to help potential patients learn about healthcare pricing complexities. These resources can serve to benefit your organization in more than one way. Besides providing helpful insights for patients, they foster trust by indicating your willingness to go the extra mile to support them. Your customer support team will have fewer queries to handle.
Implement price transparency tools
Listing your prices is not good enough, specifically if they are incomplete or misleading. The best thing a provider can do is to read about price transparency in healthcare and implement a solution to fulfill the objective. Fortunately, you can access a tool that addresses the patient's needs with accurate and up-to-date costs of the services they want to avail of. These software solutions can track key metrics and address payment variance in healthcare to help patients and providers alike.
Get everyone on the same page
Bringing transparency to healthcare services is likely a daunting task, and it cannot happen overnight. Moreover, a single person or a small team cannot accomplish the goal of an organization. The best way to drive the change is by getting everyone on the same page. Make transparency an organization-wide initiative by including providers, financial services, legal compliance, managed care, and IT. Once you have everyone on board, achieving the goal is much easier.
Train your staff
Training your staff to improve patient support is another factor you cannot overlook. You may provide loads of information and the best pricing tools for consumers, but they could still have doubts about service pricing. Knowledgeable people will be in a better place to support customers and answer questions. Set aside budget and time for training initiatives as a part of the process.
Embrace an industry-wide ethos
Besides implementing organization-wide systems, you can do your bit to collaborate with partners and vendors to embrace an industry-wide ethos of pricing transparency. A close partnership between plans, providers, and entities is the key to fostering an environment of trust for the patients. They are far more comfortable with buying services when there are no unpleasant surprises to worry about.
Transparent pricing in healthcare makes everyone comfortable, so organizations must go the extra mile to achieve it. Hospitals and practices can win the trust of the patients and drive retention for the long haul. The best part is that you need do a lot to achieve the goal. Follow these simple best practices to foster trust and retention, and gain a competitive advantage.