If you are finding that patients are becoming more demanding, you are not alone. increasingly, imaging providers are fielding more questions about the cost of procedures and are measured on factors beyond just the quality of their equipment and the expertise of their radiologists. Factors such as how much time they spend with their patients to alleviate concerns and explaining procedures.
An article in the latest issue of the Radiology Business Journal outlines five market forces that are driving the trend of the patient as consumer. They are:
- Cost-shifting. With insurers increasingly asking patients to bear more of the burden for costly procedures, as well as the growth in the number of uninsured patients who can pay cash, patients now have a strong motive to shop around for the best price on a procedure.
- Patient steerage. Insurers aware of the difference in cost for certain advanced imaging procedures are offering patients incentives to go to lower-cost providers. In some cases, they will pay the patient cash just for calling a toll-free number that offers cost comparisons among providers.
- Social media. Patients have more access than ever before to the opinions and experiences of their peers. From Yelp to Facebook, what other patients have said about a practice will influence their choice in provider.
- Patient-satisfaction scores. Medicare in-patient reimbursement is already tied to how a hospital scores on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Services (HCAHPS) survey that is administered to Medicare recipients after discharge. Ambulatory will likely follow suit and private insurers may also adopt the model.
- More choices in provider. Accountable-care organizations (ACOs) protect patient choice in provider to avoid the failings of the restrictive HMOs of the past. The Medicare’s Shared Savings Program, for example, allows individuals to choose their providers, placing the attributed ACO at financial risk for any services provided outside the network. In other words, have great service or lose money.
Read the full report, including actions imaging providers can take to respond to the patient consumerism trend.