77% of group practices still send paper bills despite patient demands for electronic billing

Providers at times fall short in meeting patient demands regarding billing, according to Medical Group Management Association findings.

The findings come, in part, from a Digital Payment Progress Report conducted by MGMA in partnership with Duluth, Ga.-based revenue cycle management company Navicure. The Digital Payment Progress Report, which was fielded in May, surveyed more than 760 MGMA members at U.S. group practices.

Researchers cross-referenced the findings with Navicure's Patient Payment Check-Up conducted by HIMSS Analytics and fielded in January. More than 550 personnel at provider facilities and 1,000 patients were surveyed.

Here are seven findings.

1. Only 69 percent of hospital respondents can provide a cost estimate upon request compared to 79 percent of ambulatory organization respondents.

2. At the same time, more than half of patients (56 percent) plan to request a cost estimate moving forward.

3. A majority of group practice respondents (64 percent) said patients are comfortable sharing their email address, according to the findings. This compares to only 56 percent of hospital respondents who believe patients are comfortable doing so.

4. Ultimately, 79 percent of patients said they feel comfortable providing their email address.

5. Twenty-six percent of hospital respondents said it takes patients longer than six months to fully cover their medical expenses, according to the findings. This compares to only 13 percent of practice respondents that said the same.

6. Additionally, 77 percent of providers still send paper bills, even though more than half of patients (52 percent) prefer electronic billing, findings show.

7. MGMA and Navicure said the findings also showed keeping a credit card on file for medical expenses of less than $200 can help overcome various revenue cycle challenges, such as reducing patient bad debt/write off (36 percent), days in patient accounts receivable (34 percent) and cost of collections (34 percent).

Read more about the findings, including commentary, here.

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