Price Transparency: Why It’s Critical to Patient Experience
Price transparency is a crucial aspect of patient experience in healthcare, but it’s often neglected. Learn why price transparency is so important and how it can benefit both patients and providers.
The healthcare industry has long been criticized for its lack of price transparency. Patients often receive confusing bills, leading to frustration and financial stress. But the tide is beginning to turn. More providers are recognizing the importance of price transparency in improving patient experience.
But what exactly is price transparency, and how does it affect patient experience? Making the cost of service visible and accessible to patients offers benefits to both patients and providers. Here’s a closer look at why price transparency is so crucial.
Understanding price transparency
Price transparency is a simple concept. To what degree do your patients have access to information about the prices of services before receiving them? Do they know upfront how much medical procedures, tests, and treatments cost out of pocket?
Access to price and cost information upfront plays a key part in establishing expectations — and, ultimately, shaping patient experience. Unexpected costs or confusing bills can result in frustration, anxiety, and even financial hardship, which can negate a positive treatment experience. A lack of price transparency can erode trust in not only a particular provider but also the healthcare system, hindering a willingness to seek care in the future.
The benefits of price transparency for patients
Price transparency empowers patients to make informed decisions about the care they receive. By having access to accurate and detailed information about the costs of medical procedures, tests, and treatments, patients are better able to compare prices across providers and make choices to suit their healthcare needs and budget.
Similarly, the ability to set expectations and plan for costs offers a tremendous opportunity to reduce financial stress. Understanding what’s covered and what’s not allows patients to plan for medical expenses while avoiding the financial strain caused by unexpected bills. This is perhaps the most significant benefit to patients at a time when healthcare cost inflation is creating incredible liability for lower-income households. When patients have clear and transparent information about the costs of their care, they’re more likely to feel confident and satisfied with their provider.
The benefits of price transparency for providers
Price transparency doesn’t only help patients. Providers also have plenty to gain from presenting costs upfront. It’s often one of the easiest ways to increase trust and credibility with patients — leading to return visits, positive word-of-mouth referrals, and recurring revenue for the provider.
From an administrative standpoint, price transparency can be the first step to a better billing and payment process. With clear, upfront information, providers can reduce the number of billing disputes and payment delays. This can result in better revenue cycle management (RCM) and cash flow, improving financial performance via more efficient billing and less bad debt.
Providing upfront service costs and information also enables providers to differentiate themselves from other practices and appeal to patients who value transparency and affordability in their healthcare decision-making. You don’t even need to have the lowest prices — simply being upfront puts a premium on the experience potential patients can expect.
Keep price transparency at the forefront
Price transparency is crucial to the patient experience. Patients expect clarity regarding the cost of care, and a lack of transparency can cause confusion, frustration, and financial stress. By offering clear and upfront price information, providers can improve patient trust, engagement, and satisfaction. It’s a critical step in not only getting people to pay their bills but also keeping them coming back to your practice for care.
Learn more about the importance of price transparency at trubridge.com.