Medical Billing and Patient Experience
There are changes in medical billing on the horizon now with the advancement of ICD-10. Everyone in the medical field is being affected - from doctors and billers to patients.
While patients must go to the doctor for their best welfare, there are many aspects of the experience that are less than ideal. These include the varieties of treatment, the setting and the staff. So often healthcare is a mixed bag of positive and negative for those on the receiving end that their assessments are neutral at best.
One important measure that patients use to rate the total quality of their healthcare is billing. The seemingly high bills for everyday services at many hospitals have made their way into major stories at the New York Times.
That kind of press doesn’t help the public’s impression of medical billing, which affects the public’s impression of healthcare in general, and their personal doctor visits in particular.
People who have good experiences with their medical billers have good experiences with their doctors. Even a great doctor can be undone by billing miscommunications. When clear and kind explanations of the costs incurred are offered before treatment, as well as payment options, then the rating a patient will give for a medical provider increases.
According to a study by TransUnion Healthcare, respondents offered the following data:
- 70% of people with high ratings on care quality had commiserate ratings of their billing and payment.
- 75% with the high ratings were given clear information up front about the costs
- Approximately 65% of patients said that getting up front estimate of out of pocket expense would help them decide to stay with that provider.
- Approximately 65% of patients said clear bills would also help them stay.
- Over 60% of patients said having real time expense information at the time of their visit would also push them to stay with that practice.
Tips to Get Better Patient Response
Dedicate staff to help patients who are unhappy with their medical experience and billing. The best option is to have a specific person, adept at interpersonal relations, be the communicator between a medical or billing office and its clients.
This will lead to a greater positive response and keep patients on board. Sometimes the person who is great at coding isn’t the best person to call patients on the phone. Consider it like an extension of the billing office - just like rejected and denied claims need to be reworked and resent, patients who feel rejected and denied by their provider need to be warmly received and their issues resolved to resume their care and monetary contribution.
Even if a medical practice has plenty of bright staff capable of handling patient needs, they may be better served by outsourced billing. This is a great way to get well managed financials, and hospitable customer service.