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Patients Feel Providers Aren't Transparent Enough About Costs

Analysis  |  By Jay Asser  
   May 26, 2023

Analysis reveals preference data revenue cycle leaders can use to improve the patient financial experience.

Even with price transparency laws in place, many patients are having experiences with their provider that fail to inspire trust, according to a report by Salucro.

The healthcare financial technology company released its 2023 Trends in Patient Payment Communications report, which focuses on billing, payment options, and patient preferences. The data is made up of responses from 1,348 healthcare consumers surveyed in the spring of 2023, with all respondents having paid a medical bill online within the last 18 months.

When it came to price transparency, 41% of respondents felt that their provider was not transparent about the costs of their medical care, compared to 59% who felt their provider was transparent.

Much of that transparency can be about the billing experience. The report stated that one of the ways to improve patient communications in 2023 is to ensure billing statements are clear, accurate, and transparent.

"Understanding your patients and their needs is a critical step for any healthcare organization looking to implement new solutions into their revenue cycle, and it's more important than ever that the solutions to those needs sit within the context of existing provider workflows," Clayton Bain, founder and CEO of Salucro, said in a press release.

The report also found how the billing experience can influence patient loyalty. Of those surveyed, 36% said they would consider switching providers due to a poor billing experience, which can include inaccurate billing statements and a lack of communication preferences and payment options.

"Poor billing experiences and a lack of payment options are primary factors that could cause patients to switch healthcare providers or write negative reviews," the report said. "Similarly, provider loyalty is influenced by patient satisfaction with the overall billing experience. Providers who value billing transparency and offer modern communication options continue to be rewarded with positive feedback and returning patients."

Another strategy revenue cycle leaders can utilize to create a positive patient financial experience is to educate patients on how to navigate the billing process.

For example, proactively sending patients an estimate of their services cost ahead of time allows for greater transparency, trust, and understanding.

Jay Asser is the contributing editor for strategy at HealthLeaders. 


Salucro's 2023 Trends in Patient Payment Communications report surveyed 1,348 patients who had paid a medical bill online with the last 18 months.

Around two in five respondents (41%) said they felt their provider was not transparent about the costs of their medical care.

More than a third (36%) of respondents they would consider switching providers because of a poor billing experience.

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