Survey reveals patient billing challenges and potential solutions

Jun 7, 2016 | Hospital Finance Efficiency

A recent national survey conducted by Porter Research and commissioned by Navicure uncovered some important findings regarding billing efficiency.

The survey asked practice administrators, billing managers and C-suite executives from a variety of health care organizations about patient payment processes. Of these participants, 63 percent responded that patient payment processes are a high priority for leadership teams. However, the survey also touched upon some of the challenges facing providers on this front.

The survey's results and what they mean
Of all the challenges in patient payment, the survey found that 31 percent of respondents said they struggle with patients' inability to pay their medical bills, making it the most prevalent issue. Following that response, 26 percent said educating patients on financial responsibility was their biggest difficulty, and 25 percent reported slow-paying patients are their foremost challenge.

Despite 56 percent of respondents saying they took the time to inform patients of their financial responsibility and payment policies, 42 percent of respondents still only estimate patient responsibility at the time of service. So while some steps are being taken in the right direction, there is still significant room for improvement.

"Implementation of technology is also lacking."

The survey indicated that implementation of technology is also lacking. An overwhelming 62 percent of survey participants said they do not offer an electronic credit card on file, with only 35 percent reporting that they have a credit card on-file payment system.

Additionally, 52 percent of respondents said they did not automate payment plans, and 57 percent said they did not send electronic statements to their patients.

"It is important to reexamine existing workflows and processes to adopt a more effective, automated patient payments process," the survey concluded.

What others say about automated payment systems
This survey is only one indication of many that health care providers could benefit from restructuring their payment systems, specifically focusing on automation.

"These trends are serving as a catalyst for healthcare organizations to implement patient care estimation and payment technology solutions because they can no longer afford to ignore this major threat to their revenue and reputation," Jim Denny, founder and CEO of Navicure, said in a press release.

However, automated payments is only one suggested solution to deal with the obstacles facing patient payments. Brian Sanderson, the managing principal of Crowe Horwath health care services group, told RevCycleIntelligence that providers now have a larger responsibility to lower costs and offer better care, or risk losing patients.

For more solutions on how to improve your revenue cycle management, contact Professional Medical Services today!