Patient Collections: Are Contactless Payments Critical Moving Forward?

April 22, 2021 By: Quadax

Overall patient experience is an important component in rebuilding financial impacts of the pandemic 

Healthcare consumerism has been on the rise for the last several years, but the pandemic propelled it to the forefront even more as more patients report the desire to use telehealth and contactless payment options post-COVID-19. However, there are disconnects between payer, provider, and consumer expectations, according to a recent report.

The report explores how COVID-19 has accelerated many trends that have improved the consumer experience in healthcare. According to the survey, 78% of consumers said that they want widespread contactless payment options to remain after the pandemic is over, and 82% of consumers want to make the entirety of their healthcare payments in one place.

However, while the pandemic led 36% of providers to adopt contactless payments for patient collections in 2020, and more than half of providers plan to change their contactless payment strategy, paper-based bills are still the most prevalent patient collection strategy.

Further illustrating the disconnect between providers and patients, the survey found 66% of consumers receive medical bills in the mail, even though only 14% prefer to pay medical bills via mailed paper check.

Over half of consumers said that they would consider switching healthcare providers for a better patient financial experience, highlighting a rise in healthcare consumerism. However, 42% of providers wrongly believe that payment collection efforts do not have an impact on the patient experience. Could this be a critical misstep in rebuilding the financial impacts of the pandemic moving forward?

As in-person medical encounters dropped during the pandemic, providers’ financial challenges were exacerbated by the paper and manual processes that continue to dominate payer-to-provider healthcare payments. The report noted that while payers saw revenue growth and restored potential for the individual market during COVID-19, they must innovate provider reimbursement and member payment experiences to maintain the positive trend.

According to the survey, 84% of providers prefer ERA/EFT payments, however 62% of payers still reimburse providers with paper and fee-based options. Those unexpected fees can cause friction between the stakeholders.

What’s more, 76% of payers receive paper-based manual payments for premiums, but 78% of consumers prefer to pay their premiums online. The survey also found that 89% of payers leverage or plan to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to streamline member engagement and experience. In addition, almost all payers (95%) reported they prioritize consumer preference for making all of their healthcare payments in one place.

The overall patient experience is going to continue to be more and more important as consumerism continues to soar and will be a leading driver in the long-term success of healthcare providers.

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