Healthcare has long been viewed as a fundamental right, but it is also one of the costliest industries in the world. As the population ages, advances in medical technology continue, and the demand for healthcare services increases, the cost of healthcare continues to rise at an alarming rate. The financial and social costs of healthcare are becoming a growing burden for individuals, families, and society as a whole.

On a recent webinar, our CEO, Eric Wixom, discussed the rising financial and social costs of healthcare, the increasing economic pressures on patients, the trend of patients acting like consumers in healthcare, and ultimately how specific digital strategies can address these challenges.

You can view the recording below.

For those of you who prefer to read the cliff notes, here’s a brief summary:

While in the Webinar, Eric gives some recent family experiences highlighting these issues, we are going to simplify these complex ideas by relating them to the game of Jenga.

The increasing economic pressures on patients can be likened to a game of Jenga. Each block represents a financial burden, and as more blocks are added, the tower becomes unstable and may eventually collapse. Patients are increasingly being asked to bear a larger share of healthcare costs, including higher premiums, deductibles, and copayments. These economic pressures can make it difficult for patients to afford the care they need, and they may be forced to make difficult choices about their health and finances.

Patients are no longer passive recipients of healthcare services; they are taking an active role in their care and making informed decisions about their health. They are increasingly turning to online resources to research healthcare providers, treatments, and costs. Patients are also demanding more transparency and value from healthcare providers, just as they would from any other service provider.

Understanding these trends can better position healthcare organizations in their journey towards benefitting from an improved patient financial experience. Eric highlighted five digital strategies that will increase patient revenue, decrease the number of accounts being sent to collections, and have patients raving about their experience paying their healthcare bills. These five strategies are:

  1. Digital Communication
  2. Self-service payment tools
  3. Limiting 1-1 communication
  4. Automating billing processes
  5. Offering payment plans

Digital communication, such as texting, allows patients and healthcare organizations to quickly and easily communicate to get clarification on medical costs, insurance coverage, and payment options. This reduces the burden of phone calls for patients and billing departments and allows for near-instant communication and easier access to information.

Self-service payment tools are another way healthcare organizations can reduce the stress and hassle of the billing process for patients. They can make it easy for patients to pay their medical bills online or through texting, without having to log into a patient portal or call to make a payment. It can also make their bills more accessible and understandable, especially when paired with price transparency tools. 

Limiting 1-1 communication between patients and billing departments might sound like a move in the wrong direction. However, reducing the amount of time it takes for billing department staff to address straightforward and common patient questions and needs in the billing process will allow them to focus on resolving other billing complexities that require more focus and effort. By leveraging digital tools, your billing teams can move from front-line 1-1 communication to more of an escalated support role where they can manage multiple conversations quickly and efficiently.

The previous strategy can best be achieved by automating billing processes. This automation increases efficiency and can help hospitals send out bills more quickly and reduce the amount of time patients have to wait for their bills to arrive. Automating billing processes can also help reduce operating costs and administrative burdens by reducing the need for manual labor involved with data entry and paper-based processes. These results can be achieved through partnering with organizations like Wixcorp that specialize in improving the patient financial experience through modernizing healthcare revenue cycles.

The final digital strategy Eric recommended was offering payment plans. Effective payment plans provide patients flexibility in paying their medical bills by allowing them to spread out their payments over a longer period of time, effectively reducing the financial burden. They can also help improve patient satisfaction by providing a more manageable and transparent billing process. This can help reduce the stress and anxiety associated with medical bills, and help patients feel more comfortable seeking medical care when they need it. 

The financial and social costs of healthcare are a growing burden for individuals, families, and our society as a whole. However, leaning into digital patient engagement tools like payment plans can help alleviate some of these pressures. By implementing these strategies, healthcare organizations can improve the patient financial experience and build stronger relationships with patients, ultimately creating a more sustainable healthcare system for everyone.

You can watch the full conversation with Eric on our Youtube channel linked below. You can also learn more about some of Wixcorp’s digital patient engagement tools by visiting our website.

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