Understanding the wants and needs of patients is a major component of running a successful health care facility. Taking these desires into account doesn't stop once patients leave an examination room or hospital bed, however. Health care providers must consider all aspects of the patient experience more positive and enjoyable, whether that means gathering time metrics for better scheduling or ensuring patients make it home safely.
Payments are an especially important part of the patient experience, one that results in health care providers perpetuating their revenue cycles. Providing modern payment solutions that match up with patient needs is simply good business. So, what do patients want when it comes to making payments?
"The survey found 77 percent of consumers want to see simplicity in payment methods."
Convenience, Simplicity, Flexibility Often Mentioned
While focused on retail transactions, the information on consumer attitudes gleaned from a recent study conducted by MasterCard is telling for health care providers. While rewards systems - one of the biggest consumer desires found - aren't particularly applicable to health care payments, convenience and increased acceptance are. The survey found 77 percent of consumers want to see simplicity in the methods used to pay, while more widespread acceptance of modern payment options was the second-most discussed topic.
What it Means for Health Care Specifically
There are many major differences between the way the retail and medical sectors operate. However, payments isn't necessarily one of them. The transactions taking place at a health care facility involve insurance, of course, but patient payments - whether a co-pay or a complete footing of the bill - still come down to an individual paying a business. Health care providers can take plenty of cues from the way payments are structured in the retail world and the desires of consumers.
One of the biggest changes health care providers can make is a relatively simple expansion of methods and services offered to patients. Improvements as basic as patient portals, along with online or mobile card transactions, give patients what they want in terms of payment options. Additional services, like pre-scheduled recurring payments, offer another element of convenience that make paying for health care as easy as buying groceries or settling the monthly cable TV bill.
No matter the situation, there are certain conveniences and functions that consumers want to see in the available payment options. When those consumers visit a health care provider and become patients, the term used to refer to them changes - but their preferences for making payments don't.