Now that more patients are paying a portion of their healthcare costs of out pocket, eventually they’ll experience sticker shock in healthcare. To minimize sticker shock, the office staff must have that awkward conversation about “getting paid.” In this recent post from InstaMed, a healthcare payments network, they discuss four kinds of conversations healthcare staff can initiate to improve the payments relationship with patients. Let’s review the four kinds of conversations, and then one way to pre-empt the entire discussion.
Sticker shock in healthcare
The InstaMed post details these four kinds of conversations:
- -“What Payment Method Would You Like Us to Keep Saved on File?”
- -“Your Credit Card Information Is Secure.”
- -“We’ll Never Charge Your Card More Than What You Owe.”
- -“We Want to Make This Easy for You – You Have Options.”
Who could argue with these attempts to start the conversation? They’re polite but also direct.
Certainly patients think of doctors and doctor’s offices as places for offering care. But they forget the business side of the medical practice. Or simply don’t consider the very basic need of the doctor’s office to pay their employees or utility bills to keep the doors open. There’s a disconnect. And while that disconnect will never be fully repaired, patients eventually have to know they will owe money for the care they receive.
The InstaMed post refers to these conversations as ways staff “can initiate” the discussion. But these are techniques that shouldn’t initiate the conversation but rather continue the conversation. How should one initiate the conversation?
Make it clear on the doctor’s website that these services cost money and give the patient an estimate of those costs. There’s a fast-moving trend to push for price transparency on facility websites. But don’t just list a static menu of pricing. Get something in return, like a lead. By generating a lead in exchange for providing a cost estimate, the facility can then follow up with the consumer and help navigate them through the healthcare process from the start. Once they arrive, continue the conversation based on the four recommendations above.
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