4 ways to meet consumer demand

This week, PwC's Health Research Institute released a new report revealing that the healthcare industry’s payment system needs structural change to meet consumer demand.

Among other things, the report details ways to give consumers the payment system they want and compete in the changing healthcare ecosystem.

Here are four strategies from PwC that incorporate six consumer-oriented principles patients are looking for: convenience; transparency; affordability; reliability; seamlessness; and quality.

1. Accelerate the migration to digital. PwC notes that commercial health insurers do 15 percent of payments and 27 percent of payment remittance advice electronically, while the rest of U.S. businesses average 43 percent for payment. Therefore, the firm said, the issue is still one of the system's "most critical bottlenecks."

2. Partner with a sidestepper. Many consumers today find the claims process confusing, as well as costly, PwC points out. Therefore, PwC encourages healthcare providers and insurers to consider partnering with nontraditional companies offering services that sidestep claims.

3. Embrace simplicity. Given that many consumers don't understand their insurance benefits and are confused by their medical bills, online payment sites, mobile apps and aggregated billing can all help bring about a simplified consumer experience, according to PwC.

4. Multiply payment options. Providing multiple payment options and helping consumers plan for costs can reduce bad debt and days in accounts receivable, PwC said.



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