One-fifth of individuals would rather go to the DMV than try to pay their medical bills online, according to the results of a survey conducted by VisitPay, which have been published in a media report. The comparison is meant to illustrate just how far medical providers still have to go in providing a robust and user friendly online experience for patients trying to understand and pay their medical bills.
More than one-third of the respondents to the survey said the software used by their medical providers to make online bill payments was confusing. Nearly one-quarter said they couldn’t even figure out how much they owe. And 25% said the healthcare provider offered no customer support to help patients figure out how to navigate the system.
Eighteen percent of respondents were not confident that the information they saw in their portal was adequate enough.
The issues that patients are having, though, extend beyond the online bill payment experience, according to the survey. Fifty-six percent of respondents said that medical bills are a main source of stress in their lives, and 64% said that paying medical bills was either stressful o r very stressful.
The news, though, isn’t all bad for healthcare providers. Nearly 60% of patients characterized their providers’ billing practices as flexible, and 13% labeled them as compassionate. About 70% of patients said they are given flexibility to repay their medical bills over time, demonstrating the impact that payment plans can have on a patient’s assessment of a healthcare provider.
Underscoring the importance of providing a good financial experience were these data points: Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they have lost trust in a provider because of a poor financial experience, and 34% said they have considered switching providers for the same reason.
It appears as though this data offers companies in the accounts receivable management with an opportunity to try and convince providers of the benefits of outsourcing their revenue cycle operations to someone that specializes in it. Improving the patient experience will not only result in more money collected, but more loyalty and repeat business as well.