The Role of Price Transparency in Patient Loyalty
One of the most common drawbacks of healthcare is the cost. Everyone wants to receive excellent care, but no one wants to come home with a bill they weren’t expecting. Price transparency may help your patients save money, which will encourage them to view your practice in a more positive light.
On the other hand, when healthcare consumers are hit with unexpected costs or surprise out-of-network bills, they are more likely to seek care elsewhere. Losing patients can cost a hospital up to $100 million each year. Being open about the price of treatment is one of the best ways to decrease that number and increase patient loyalty.
How to Be More Transparent
To reduce confusion about cost, look to the #WheresThePrice movement for inspiration. This recent push for transparency in healthcare by the federal government asks hospitals to post their standard charges online to empower patients and increase transparency in healthcare.
The actual price of treatment may still vary between patients due to their insurance provider, whether they’re self-paying and other factors. However, by giving patients a general, standard number that they can think about and budget for, you would pre-address any major concerns.
Also, provide pricing information that is specific to each patient and their unique situation. You may not be able to deliver concrete numbers just yet, but you could tell them what percentage their particular insurance provider typically pays for certain procedures, for example. Chances are they’ll be grateful you shared that information with them.
Communicate with your patients upfront about the cost of treatment. If something unexpected arises and they need additional care, take a moment to explain to them what they need, why they need it and a ballpark estimate of the cost. Those extra few moments can empower them and prepare them for the upcoming expense.
Patients want to know you care—that you’re not prescribing them another expensive procedure “just because.” Talking through financials with them will show your empathy for their situation. This is an opportunity to build trust and foster patient loyalty.
Use Psychographic Segmentation to Improve Communication
Ideally, you should communicate financial information to your patients in a way they can connect with. That’s where psychographic segmentation can help. This proprietary model is a means of differentiating healthcare consumers based on their lifestyle, preferences and values. It allows providers to understand their patients more fully and identify the best channels through which to discuss pricing.
According to the 2018 PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, a nationally-representative study on healthcare consumers in the U.S., different segments have varying preferences about receiving notifications of a balance due from their primary care physician.
Self Achievers and Willful Endurers, for example, are significantly more interested in receiving a live phone call than the other three segments. Conversely, Balance Seekers, Priority Jugglers and Direction Takers prefer printed mail. Willful Endurers are the only segment that did not want to receive email notifications.
If you can understand your patients’ unique wants and needs, you’ll be able to better communicate with them regarding sensitive financial matters. By combining the psychographic segmentation model with a commitment to price transparency, you will give healthcare consumers a more positive experience and keep them coming back to your organization
For more on psychographic segmentation and its relationship with patient loyalty, download our case study.