Most healthcare professionals tend to agree that they wish they didn’t have to charge for their services, and that they know cost is a considerable barrier for patients accessing or entering into any healthcare service accessed in the private sector.
Then on the Patient’s side, a significant number of patients (100% of those we have interviewed at HealthNow) believe that cost is the largest barrier to healthcare, they wish it was more affordable and that they wish there were more ways to access the care they need and pay for it as their budget allowed. Further, I believe it’s important to note that patients are well aware that providers need to add charges to cover the cost of their services in all sectors of private health.
This leads us to the discussion point,
Do we need to lower our prices to be more accessible?
Personally, I believe accessibility does not mean lowering your prices. As we need to ensure business health first to ensure we can all continue to have sustainable businesses that are able to continue providing great levels of healthcare.
What it does mean though, is listen to patients, consider their concerns and find ways to meet both your business needs of charging a certain amount while making your service accessible to the patients not only those that can afford it but those that need it most.
Here are a few ideas from patient research and feedback we have collected in the establishment of HealthNow
1 – Turn credit card payments on at your EFTPOS terminal and let your consumers know they can use credit cards to pay. I’m not sure why, but there tends to be a healthcare setting where companies are against allowing credit card payments because of the tiny merchant fees!? Why is that?
Quick news flash, you’re only paying on transactions that potentially otherwise wouldn’t have occurred? Wouldn’t you rather pay a small <5% transaction fee than not get paid???
Not to mention that for some, credit cards are an effective financial tool to allow inclusion in purchasing needs when they otherwise wouldn’t have been able too. I understand the fear and want of preventing people from debt but I think there needs to be a slight shift in mindset here and recognize that the majority of the population use credit cards responsibly.
2 – Offer payment plans. This can take a little bit of work to set up and manage but for patients is an absolute lifesaver! By offering payment plans your patients are able to access the care they need and you are able to get the price you need to sustain your business operation over time. Both parties get what they need – there is however consideration for the administration of the service and please make sure you set this up properly with contracts and ideally Direct Debit forms so you can automate your repayment process to the full fulfilment of amounts outstanding. (Consider getting bank and legal advice)
3 – Create a pre-paying account process for clients where they contribute a small amount each week to be able to use it when they need your service. As with the last suggestion, this comes with a few layers of complexity and effective management but if done right and communicated to patients/clients in the right way can be a really effective tool to make care more accessible when patients need it and is a process patients are keen to engage with where there is transparent management of funds. (Consider getting bank and legal advice)
4 – Offer HealthNow, a transaction solution that allows you patients to pay with money from their prepaid health savers account. HealthNow’s Buy Now Pay Later Solution with zero interest where you are paid at the time of treatment/service and your patients pay HealthNow back over time. Preventing patients from incurring credit card debt and removing all of the complexity of setting up system solutions for you.
HealthNow allows you to continue charging what you need to remain profitable while offering solutions that your patient’s want to use in your clinic or for your service making healthcare in your business a lot more accessible!
If you would like to learn more about offering HealthNow in your clinic/practice/site and how together we will make healthcare more accessible for patients. Click on the link below and one of our customer success team members will send through more information.
The answer to the above question;
Roughly 24% of patients in the last 12 months have neglected care because of cost. If you want to be able to see 24% more patients, accessibility is probably an important issue for you to solve.