The top pain points for consumers related to their healthcare journeys are mostly finance-related, such as knowing what insurance will cover, what the out-of-pocket expenses are going to be, and will they have the money to pay for it, according to the results of a survey conducted by Experian.
When it comes to understanding the costs of healthcare, 90% of the 1,000 people who were surveyed admitted to “vastly” underestimating the costs associated with a major medical procedure, such as a knee replacement, and 62% of bankruptcy filings were due to medical debts. Among that 62%, individuals had some form of medical insurance in 72% of those filings.
The healthcare industry has an enormous opportunity to improve a consumer’s experience by focusing on providing transparency across the administrative, financial and clinical aspects of their healthcare journey. Consumers want control — they want to know, upfront, the cost of their care so they can avoid surprises and prepare to meet financial obligations,” said Jennifer Schulz, president of Experian Health, in a statement. “They also want on-the-go access to pay their medical bills and schedule appointments. This requires healthcare organizations to adopt the same data, insights, and technology as other consumer industries to drive an ideal customer experience.”
The survey ranked 137 different “jobs” associated with an individual’s healthcare experience, from shopping for insurance to consulting with a provider, and then paying for the services performed.
Experian’s study is an attempt to educate the healthcare industry on the importance of embracing a consumer-focused approach to working with patients.
The most glaring opportunity for improvement in the patient experience comes early in the journey — price transparency. Patients are understandably confused about what their health insurance covers. They can’t always understand medical bills, and they have difficulty finding out how much their out-of-pocket charges will be and what payment options are available to them. Providers are also suffering — from unpaid collections, low customer satisfaction levels and an inability to address issues holistically.