Waystar releases second annual Patient Payment Check-Up Survey

May 4, 2018

Waystar, the combination of Navicure and ZirMed revenue cycle technologies, announced findings from its second annual Patient Payment Check-Up Survey, conducted by HIMSS Analytics. This year’s survey, fielded in January 2018, polled over 1,000 patients that have visited a medical provider in the last 12 months, along with almost 900 financial executives from leading hospitals, health systems, and other outpatient facilities. The survey gauged general patient and healthcare executive attitudes about patient costs and estimation, along with patient payment processes. The second annual report includes the survey results, compares results to last year, and suggests pragmatic steps that healthcare organizations can take to improve patient satisfaction and collections.

Key findings include:

  • Eighty-five percent of patient respondents to the survey felt the same responsibility to pay for healthcare as they do other professional services, yet less than 20% of these respondents with commercial insurance plans found it “easy to understand and convenient to pay for” healthcare expenses.
  • The survey revealed that cost estimates clearly help patients to understand what they owe. Improved transparency and understanding of charges facilitates faster and easier payment. Eighty-six percent of patients who received cost estimates noted they understood their payment responsibility.
  • Eighty-seven percent of healthcare professionals surveyed claim that they are able to offer their patients a cost estimate upon request, yet less than one-third of patients know to ask for one. This is an education opportunity. The better patients understand why they owe what they do, the more likely they will be to pay.
  • Almost 100% of healthcare executives said that they bill patients using paper statements, yet over half of patients claimed they would prefer to receive and pay their healthcare bills electronically as they do their other bills. This presents an opportunity for providers to improve patient satisfaction while significantly reducing cost of monthly paper statements and time that it takes patients to pay.
  • The survey indicates a significant difference between patients and their provider organizations in terms of perceived payment timeliness. Almost half (48%) of providers claimed that it takes their patients over three months to pay the full balance of what they owe, versus only 24% of patients thinking that it takes them longer than three months to pay in full. This perception gap may lie in the timing of payer reimbursement. Patients may believe that they do not owe anything until their payers pay their share.
  • Over 75% of patients shared that they would be willing to pre-authorize their healthcare organization to charge a credit card number provided at the time of service for charges up to $200. This presents a significant opportunity to reduce patient bad debt and days in accounts receivable while simplifying patient payment.

Matthew Hawkins, CEO of Waystar, said about the results, “Our second annual survey reveals that the healthcare industry is at a tipping point. Patients want to understand their healthcare expenses given how much they pay out of pocket. At the same time, providers are looking for ways to increase patient satisfaction and simplify their revenue cycles.”

Hawkins went on to say, “Our survey reveals that patient consumerism is advancing quickly as organizations adopt advanced payment technology. Patients have a higher expectation than they used to have. It is important that lagging healthcare organizations improve their patient billing and payment methods faster to remain competitive. Patients are already seeking healthcare from providers whom they trust with both their health and their pocketbooks. Providers who don’t provide transparency and convenience will be left behind.”

Business Wire has the full release

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