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presentation

“Cost”- A Vital Component of A Patient’s Education During An Office Visit

August 12, 2013



Health care costs and patient deductibles seem to be only taking one path which is the uphill one and physicians are realizing that discussing costs and how to reduce them is a very important part of the conversation with patients during an office visit.

Industry Standards State

  • Percentage of U.S. gross domestic product which comprises of health care - 17.6%
  • Expenditure on tests and procedures which do not benefit patients much- $750 bn. per year

Hence most medical societies and other physician organizations are encouraging cost discussions to help reduce healthcare costs.

Industry experts speak-

  • Most industry experts believe that patient education related to cost can help lower costs for patients without hindering quality of care
  • Various studies depict that most patients and their doctors prefer to discuss the costs involved prior to commencing the treatment
  • Many patient believe more expenses spent on health care equals to better treatment, however this is not always right
  • AMA delegates have approved a report saying patients must be involved in the decision making process for choosing treatments which are less expensive but are equally beneficial
  • Most patients want physicians to help them make the best decision financially and medically

Initiatives such as “Choosing Wisely” and “Costs of Care” aim to talk about un-necessary procedures and treatments, and also helps reduce medical bills by declining or replacing ineffective and costly procedures.

While conversing costs with patients...

  • If the physician is recommending the patient to a specialist they need to first ensure the patient of the ability of the other physician
  • Inform the patient of all the tests and procedures in simple and non technical language, also provide the reason for the tests, etc
  • Depict necessary knowledge to the patient to let them know you are updated with new technologies, and treatments
  • Ensure the patient understands you are genuinely concerned about their condition by informing them of procedures which are beneficial for them and those which are not recommended
  • Create a professional dialogue by speaking in a “matter of fact” manner so that the patient is aware that speaking about insurance and costs is related to their medical treatment, and not a personal matter
  • Finally to eliminate chance of awkwardness and rather than asking the patient his capability to pay; ask them about the extent of their insurance coverage

Increase in patient satisfaction -

Various studies depict ways of tackling the subject of cost with patients, and explaining to them expensive doesn’t always mean better. Tests are never 100% accurate and in few conditions it may be wiser to save on costs with a test which is 98% accurate rather than one which is 99% accurate. Cost discussions can help the practice lower patient costs and also make the best medical and financial decision.

A recent survey depicted that 32% had delayed medical care for them or a family member because of cost in 2012; compared to 19% in 2001. Helping patients reduce costs will help the practice not only retain current patients but also attract new patients. Moreover patients, who get excellent treatment, receive the best medical knowledge and experience - are well prepared for the treatment financially and psychologically - hence are satisfied and most likely to return.

Medicalbillersandcoders.com has been successfully providing medical billing services for over a decade now across all 50 US States. Our billing and coding experts with in-depth industry knowledge can assist practices to help determine areas which require training to improve patient care and communication.

Our team offers guidance along with providing relevant updates about new regulations and reforms- hence helping doctors inform patients about latest industry facts related to their medical billing and insurance. Furthermore our clients can easily concentrate on improving their practice management and communications as they rely on MBC for optimized billing services.

Research depicts that good communication between the physicians and patients = improved patient outcomes= patient satisfaction = Increased office efficiency = Revenue & physician satisfaction!
 

Category : Practice Administration