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MANAGING PATIENTS

How medical practices can improve pricing transparency

With these shifts, more and more patients are paying for healthcare services out-of-pocket. Patients’ price sensitivity will also likely be heightened by these circumstances, which could have a negative impact on medication adherence.

Consequently, it is critically important for medical practices to assess their current price transparency level and develop ways to improve it. Recent data reveals that nearly all patients want information about costs for healthcare services. An Accenture survey reported that “91% of consumers would like pricing information from providers in advance of care”.

Here are some ways you can increase price transparency at your practice:

Make costs public

Giving patients easy access to pricing lists can help increase price transparency significantly. It allows patients to plan ahead financially for services they may need. It also reduces the workload for your front office staff who would otherwise have to repetitively answer questions about costs from patients over the phone or via email.

To do this, put up the out-of-pocket costs for the most common healthcare services on your website. A simple “service- price’ template is sufficient.

It doesn’t have to be limited to just your practice’s website too. You can also include these costs on welcome packets or whatever print material you hand out to patients at intake, if any.

Make sure to clarify that the costs are merely estimates, and may not reflect the final bill. If possible, succinctly explain that precise pricing cannot be given until there’s an assessment of the patient’s individual circumstances/case.

Improve health literacy

Many patients become confused or feel overwhelmed when navigating healthcare services and costs. By creating and sharing educational material that helps patients understand how healthcare pricing works, you improve health literacy. This then improves patients’ ability to trust and use pricing information optimally.

These materials can be guides, newsletters, infographics, and other written or graphic resources. Your local pharmaceutical reps can help  supply this information for medications and products.

Update costs regularly

If you’ve added out-of-pocket costs for general healthcare services at your practice to your website, you should update them as soon as they change. This ensures that patients are coming across accurate and up-to-date pricing information at all times. Be sure your care team is aware of any updates, and consider creating an internal database that staff can check regularly.

Use a patient assistance portal

Finding cost-effective medications is paramount, and patient assistance portals can supply information about a myriad of financing options. The RxVantage patient assistant portal is powered by search and updated in real-time. Simply search by drug name and zip code for a list of available programs and eligibility requirements. The portal gives you access to download application forms, access coupons, and find grant information effortlessly to share with your patients.

Doing this shows your patients that you are dedicated to giving them the best price points for their healthcare needs, and making sure they can afford their medication.

Benefits of increasing price transparency at your practice

Increasing price transparency helps to build trust and loyalty to your practice. It also enhances your patient’s experience and could help improve outcomes. While it may seem like patients want to know the costs for healthcare services so they can price shop, that’s not always the case. Almost half (46%) who want healthcare costs information wish to use it for financial planning.

 

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