Current trends in healthcare show that patients are now considered customers and patient engagement is more important than ever. A new wave of ultra-informed consumers has emerged as a result of COVID-19, accelerating the demand for an optimized, highly curated patient experience. Patients have a choice in where they go for medical care and they focus on factors like efficiency, financial transparency, technology, convenience, and privacy. Healthcare leaders can ensure organizations meet the new demand by focusing on the patient experience to encourage patient financial engagement and loyalty.
Measuring Patient Satisfaction
In 2002, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) collaborated to create the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. The HCAHPS survey is the first national, standardized, publicly-reported survey that illustrates how patients view the care they receive in hospitals.
The HCAHPS survey is randomly provided to adult hospital inpatients between forty-eight hours and six weeks post-discharge. The survey covers 21 patient perspectives on quality of care and allows patient rating items that encompass nine broad topics:
- Communication with doctors
- Communication with nurses
- Responsiveness of hospital staff
- Pain management
- Communication about medicines
- Discharge information
- Cleanliness of hospital environment
- Quietness of hospital environment
- Transitions of care
The survey and results prove to be extremely important, serving as patients’ voices and giving invaluable insight into how patients perceive certain elements of their care experience. The survey results are publicly reported on the internet for public access, meaning that results can directly impact a healthcare organization’s reputation for better or worse. Another factor to weigh in relation to the survey is reimbursement. The government awards reimbursement based on survey results—outstanding survey performance means happy patients and increased revenue, all leading to a better bottom line for healthcare organizations.
Comparing and Contrasting Patient Satisfaction and Patient Experience
“Patient satisfaction” and “patient experience” mean two different things. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), there are a couple of key differentiators.
“To assess patient experience, one must find out from patients whether something that should happen in a healthcare setting (such as clear communication with a provider) actually happened or how often it happened.”
“Satisfaction, on the other hand, is about whether a patient’s expectations about a health encounter were met. Two people who receive the same care, but who have different expectations for how that care is supposed to be delivered, can give different satisfaction ratings because of their different expectations.”
The terms are closely related, and if a healthcare organization can improve key factors of patient experience, chances are the subjective area of patient satisfaction will also see improvement.
How Patient Experience and Satisfaction Affect the Overall Healthcare Consumer Experience
Prioritizing trust and loyalty among patients is a key factor in driving patient engagement and improving patient financial experience. The benefits of improving these factors of the healthcare experience can set organizations—and patients—up for healthcare success.
Higher satisfaction scores lead to more Medicare reimbursement and overall improvement in other quality measures. Wait times and efficient care are critical factors in improving patient experience, but also may play a part in surveys and reimbursement from the government.
Patient satisfaction can affect employee loyalty. Workforce shortages have affected many healthcare organizations, so keeping staff on board is imperative to overall organizational success. Research shows that office staff has as much impact on patient attitudes and opinions as clinicians. Customer willingness to pay for a product increases by 14.4 percent based on their experience.
Patients deserve a seamless experience from the moment they research providers to weeks or months later when they pay their bills. Dealing with inefficient, non-patient-centric systems can be burdensome for patients and organizations alike. Patient-focused care can improve not only outcomes and patient engagement, but also the patient’s quality of life.
Patient financial experience has a direct correlation to patient engagement. A seamless financial experience allows patients to focus on positive factors of their healthcare experience as opposed to frustrations like receiving surprise bills months after service. Patients who understand (and are willing to participate in) their financial obligations are more prepared to meet those obligations.
One way to ensure patients are happy and engaged is to streamline and automate the bill payment process. As expected, patients who are involved in their healthcare journey are more likely to be connected with their finances. Patients are more likely to give better patient satisfaction scores when they experience a seamless payment process and can understand their medical bills—leading to more revenue for healthcare organizations and more patient engagement.
The right health payment system can help organizations meet this goal.
HealthPay24: A Comprehensive Patient Experience Solution
Engaging patients to take ownership of their healthcare journey and finances not only produces outcomes leading to healthier, more invested populations but can also drive revenue and improve the bottom line for healthcare organizations. Treating patients as partners in their own care promotes patient engagement plus patient payments. It’s a win-win for both parties—a proactive approach by providers leads to patients with improved opinions about their care and better attitudes about paying medical bills.
HealthPay24 is a patient financial engagement solution patients and providers can trust. The payment system integrates with any estimation tool and loads estimates into the patient portal so the patient can be notified in real-time when an estimate has been posted. The patient can then begin making payments based on the estimate, allowing them to budget for the bill instead of being taken by surprise weeks later.
The patient portal allows for many types of payment while also simplifying the transaction. Patients have many options for payment:
- App (PayPal, GooglePay, ApplePay, Venmo)
HealthPay24 is PCI and P2PE compliant, so patients can feel completely secure entering private payment information.
HealthPay24’s patient engagement solution makes life easier for administrative staff. When relieved of the burden of manual entry, staff can focus on growing the business and maintaining an organized front-of-house. Opting for a fully-automated patient payment platform can also lead to lower rates of human error and increased patient satisfaction scores.
Patient engagement is crucial to the function and well-being of healthcare organizations. HealthPay24 offers the opportunity to drive patient engagement and revenue by implementing many benefits other platforms won’t. In an ever-changing healthcare environment, patients need security and flexibility to remain loyal to their providers. Creating partnerships built on trust and mutual respect is the key to patient loyalty—promoting improved health outcomes, better patient care, and lower healthcare costs.
Choose Patient Loyalty. Choose HealthPay24.
HealthPay24 offers an all-in-one patient payment platform designed to empower healthcare leaders and providers to foster trust and loyalty while operating more efficiently internally. Our patient payment solution integrates with existing back-end billing and EMR systems to streamline administrative tasks and simplify payment collection, leading to happier patients and improved financial engagement.
HealthPay24 has been a leader in the healthcare sector for over twenty years. Our business is built on a foundation of trust, dedication, and teamwork. If you are interested in maximizing your organization’s patient self-pay revenue by providing innovative and comprehensive payment solutions, visit us at HealthPay24.com.