Is there a better way to bill? Unqork's Chris Ektov explores how no-code makes billing processes faster and easier for healthcare providers and their customers.
When we think about healthcare providers, we tend to only think about the essential services they provide for the community. They’re delivering babies, stitching up wounds, and leading the fight against COVID-19. It’s easy to forget that healthcare providers deal with many of the same pain points that other businesses do, particularly billing and payments.
Healthcare providers also have to negotiate insurance and personal health records, which makes the billing process even more complex.
Recent consumer surveys confirm what has long been suspected—billing in the healthcare industry leaves a lot to be desired. According to the 2019 Healthcare Consumer Survey, 49 percent of surveyed healthcare consumers reported feeling frustrated about their provider’s lack of digital administrative processes. One-in-three survey participants don’t think their healthcare providers have done enough to improve their billing processes in particular.
While some healthcare providers may think their services speak for themselves, to not endeavor to improve their billing practices in the face of customer dissatisfaction would be a mistake.
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Why Should Healthcare Providers Care About Billing?
Patients bear the brunt of the frustration caused by confusing billing processes, but healthcare providers should remember that poor patient experience can also harm their business. Complicated and inefficient billing processes can negatively impact healthcare providers in three key ways.
1. Patient Retention
This first negative impact should be relatively obvious—patient retention is greatly affected by how satisfied or dissatisfied patients are with the payment process. Many healthcare providers set prices and bill their customers with limited price transparency. According to the Connance Consumer Impact Survey of 2018, only 35 percent of respondents felt they had a clear understanding of what they’d be paying for before a scheduled service. Among patients who owed between $500 and $1,000, 75 percent said they wished they had been notified of costs beforehand.
Unclear billing processes and “surprise” costs make for horrible customer experience and ultimately work against healthcare providers. Receiving medical care can be stressful, and dealing with an unclear bill just makes things worse.
If a patient feels like their healthcare provider hounds them for payment on an outstanding balance they don’t understand, it would be only natural for them to seek an alternative provider for their next appointment or procedure. While some might incorrectly assume that patients stick to their healthcare providers solely based on proximity, an NRC Health study found that over 40 percent of patients aren’t loyal to their hospital or healthcare systems and would leave in search of more transparent care. In short, billing is often the last encounter patients have with their healthcare providers, and a poor payment experience can turn them off for good.
2. More Administrative Work and Complaints
Not only does dissatisfaction with billing mean patients are more likely to switch providers, but it can also cause more work for your billing office. When patients are confronted with an opaque billing process and the unexpected bills that come with it, they’ll certainly call your office to try to better understand or dispute these charges.
These interactions take valuable time away from your employees and put undue strain on administrative team members. Healthcare providers can avoid creating more tedious busy work and reduce complaints by proactively communicating with patients about their balances and adopting clear, concise, patient-centric billing processes.
3. Revenue and the Bottom Line
Perhaps most importantly, issues caused by poor payment experiences directly and immediately affect healthcare providers by cutting into their bottom lines. Thirty-five percent of a provider’s revenue comes from billing alone. If patients don’t have an easy way to pay their bills, healthcare providers jeopardize their financial future. According to the Connance survey, half of the respondents who reported having a negative experience with their provider’s billing process didn’t pay their bills in full.
No-code allows you to integrate existing data structures and build sophisticated applications using drag-and-drop, self-validating components.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that they were actively withholding payment. For the patients who don’t pay their bills, many simply don’t know how much they owe and are paying what they think is their actual balance. In fact, a Consumer Reports survey of 1,000 adults with medical debt over $500 in the last two years found that 24 percent didn’t realize they had an outstanding balance and 13 percent said they never received a bill in the first place. Statistics like these don’t even include the patients who don’t pay because a surprise bill caught them off guard or a billing error took them months to untangle—which all come together to indicate that poor billing processes are costing healthcare providers a lot of money.
Reimagining Billing with No-Code
By understanding the shortcomings of their existing billing methods and working to create a new system that prioritizes patient convenience, healthcare providers can improve billing in a way that benefits both their patients and themselves. It’s no surprise that digital applications make billing more convenient and more accurate, not to mention more accessible. No-code platforms like Unqork make moving away from legacy systems and toward enterprise applications much simpler.
No-code allows you to integrate existing data structures and build sophisticated applications using drag-and-drop, self-validating components. This streamlined and user-friendly approach to software development helps you get applications to market faster, and start helping patients pay their bills sooner. Building an online bill-pay application with Unqork helps healthcare providers increase patient satisfaction, reduce complaints, boost their bottom lines, and focus on providing world-class care.
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