Improving the Patient Financial Experience - Cover

Improving the Patient Financial Experience

Imagine a scenario: You and your partner just had a baby, and you’re exhausted but so joyful. You bring the baby home and start to get settled into your new normal. And then the bills start pouring in—first from the hospital, and then from the anesthesiologist, and then from a pediatrician, and then from another provider and another and another—until you’re not even sure of the amount you have to pay, what you have already paid, whether you’ve accidentally thrown away bills you still need to pay, and who you need to pay. That sounds hectic.

This kind of occurrence is common with healthcare, and both patients and providers need a better process for paying bills and getting paid. Historically, healthcare billing has been extremely complicated, but over the last decade, vendors and software solutions have started to emerge to help combat the frustration and improve the patient financial experience. In the 2020 Patient Financial Experience report, we take a look at the market segments of patient financial engagement and patient financing services to get a current snapshot of how vendors are performing.

Exponential Growth over the Last Decade

Patients need better, more convenient ways to pay their bills and interact with the healthcare system. Providers are using financial experience service firms and platforms to help facilitate the interaction with technology and services to meet patient expectations. This space has grown exponentially over the last 10 years because it practically didn’t exist 10 years ago. We are just starting to get market segment intelligence, and we just opened these market segments within the last year. Provider interest has grown along with the rising need to increase ROI and decrease patient frustration.

Forces Accelerating the Growth of the Patient Financial Space

COVID-19 is impacting every aspect of healthcare, especially the financial aspects. Providers are really concerned about being paid and staying afloat amidst the pandemic, so these financial engagement vendors and financing services firms have been vital, and perhaps they are going to become even more important as time goes on and we continue to see the long-lasting repercussions of the pandemic. Improving the ROI and bottom line of health systems is going to continue be vital.

Other industry forces impacting the patient financial space are mergers and acquisitions and investments pumping into the space. Vendors and investment groups are seeing the energy in the area and jumping at the chance to invest in a such a rapidly growing segment.

Shift toward Reliance on Patient Financing Services Firms

We are seeing more healthcare facilities going away from using in-house financial servicing and instead relying on patient financing services firms to help patients make payments. Again, with COVID-19, providers aren’t sure that they are out of the woods yet, so they need to ensure that they get money to generate revenue that they are owed. Patient financing services firms help patients find simple, straightforward ways to make payments, and that is especially integral during this pandemic. There is a lot of energy in this space; even some major banks are starting to come into the space to offer their financing services for healthcare. The patient financial experience space has grown a lot over the last several years.

The Consolidation of Components into the Patient Financial Portals

When it comes to patient financial engagement solutions, one component that has a lot of energy right now is the patient financial portals where patients can log in, see what payments they have to pay, make payments, and set up payment plans all in one place. There is a lot of frustration on both the sides of providers and patients when it comes the current state of patient financial statements, and patient financial engagement portals offer the promise of being something better. A lot of vendors are moving into this space, so we are going to see patient portals and complementary functionality, such as payment plans and mobile payments, expand in the future.

The Patient Financial Experience Area Is Vital to Providers

The 2020 Patient Financial Experience report focuses on the current state in this area, but we are seeing promises of good innovation and tools that will continue to expand the patient financial experience. There is going to be a lot of growth and a lot of new customers coming on board as more and more consumers become computer savvy. Paper and digital statements remain an important aspect of patient financial engagement, but as the space evolves, platforms are emerging as the go-forward solution. As the world progresses, patient billing is going to have to progress past paper statements and into more software and technology, as we have seen starting to happen already.

If providers aren’t already using a patient financial engagement vendor or working with a patient financing services firm, those providers should be at least looking into the space to avoid missing revenue and to improve the patient experience.

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