Consumer Impact Survey Blog Part 1 – Overall Satisfaction With the Billing Process

Healthcare is mid-stream in a long-cycle transformation of the relationship between patient and their care provider. The transformation, while daunting on many levels, also presents significant opportunities. Opportunities to improve patient experience. Opportunities to lower operating costs. Opportunities to increase value. Opportunities to change the business model for lasting improvement.

Connance surveyed 500 consumers about their last hospital encounter and their experience with the hospital business office. This year’s survey, launched and completed in July 2018, discussed consumer experiences and reactions to billing and financial interactions before and after treatment. Key areas analyzed included overall satisfaction differences during the billing process; differences in likelihood to recommend and likelihood to utilize multiple facilities; the effect of different engagement strategies; generational differences in the financial experience, and the perception of providers and payors.

Part 1 of this blog will focus on the overall satisfaction that consumers had with the billing process from their last hospital visit. This survey shows the benefit of the many years of effort that revenue cycle teams have put into engaging patients in more satisfying and preferred ways. Overall satisfaction and net promoter numbers set new highs this year.

Among all respondents, 40% gave their last billing experience a top-box score of Very Satisfied; and more than 54% give it a top-2 box score of Very Satisfied and More than Satisfied. Both are new highs in our survey experience. Patients seem to recognize that providers are improving the patient experience in the business relationship.

To this point of long term progress, the 2018 percentage of respondents giving their interaction a Top-Box score of “5” is up 2 percentage points from the 2017 score of 38% and 20 percentage points from the inaugural survey in 2010 which surfaced at a disappointing 20%. In a truly gratifying way, every year shows progress.

Net Promoter Score Continuously Improving

As with business office engagement, patients are giving their providers better Net Promoter Scores, with 2018 rising to a 22.6% net score. From 2016 to 2017, the net score only grew by less than 1 percentage point, a 6% improvement. In 2018, the net score rose more than 4 percentage points, up 22% from 2017. Even more encouraging is that the gains are the result of an increase in Promoter ranks, with more respondents giving their experience a 9 or 10 response. The next effort should be to drive down negative experiences and further increase the net score.

The Value of a Better Experience

Payment activity shows some correlation to business office interaction, meaning improvement should impact cash. This is also not to say a bad interaction leads to failure to pay. It simply implies that when patients have bad interactions, there also may be a difficult collection experience. The bad interaction could be about confusion in the bill or some other dimension in the hospital-patient lifecycle.

In the context of patient satisfaction and loyalty, this data suggests the business office might be an interesting and new “moment of truth” for providers. If negative interactions can be moved to positive, there is likely financial upside.

In Part 2 of the Consumer Impact Survey, we will focus on the effect of engagement before and during the billing process.