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April 12, 2019
David W. Johnson
Consumerism Economics Innovation

How to Improve Patient Satisfaction with Transparent Payment Systems

American healthcare patients are demanding more price transparency, affordable services and quality care. Why are they not receiving it? How can healthcare organizations listen to consumers and set themselves up for success and achieve patient loyalty?

Americans are used to Fee-For-Service (FFS) payments, but this is not the future of healthcare. To make customers happy and satisfied, healthcare organizations need to work patients to improve their payment experience.

Adapting to change is hard. Think about Queen Elizabeth in the 1950s. The people disapproved of the English Monarchy for its failure to see the potential in the people. Instead of using her authority to silence their perspectives, Queen Elizabeth listened to the people and adapted to the times. Previously, she forbade her sister Margaret to marry her divorced fiancé Peter Townsend. Now, she has invited divorced American Meghan Markle into the royal family as Prince Harry’s wife. Change is hard, but necessary and achievable.

Many Americans can no longer afford healthcare and are afraid of the economic effects of getting ill. Since patients cannot compare costs of healthcare services before they receive them, they are stuck waiting around to see when and how much they will owe. Unexpected healthcare costs and lost income during treatment are the leading contributors to personal bankruptcy in America. (1) What if healthcare could ease patients’ minds, reduce administrative tasks for physicians and increase revenue at the same time?

Advent Health (AH) and Simplee worked together to achieve this goal. Advent Health serves nearly 5 million+ patients annually and wanted to create an easy and transparent payment experience for their patients. They wanted to offer their customers the following features:

  • Self-Scheduling
  • Single, Enterprise-wide Bill
  • Mobile Scheduling
  • Self-service Pre-registration
  • Mobile Pre-service Payments

Patients are empowered to check-in and view service prices online before coming to their appointment, which saves time for clinicians. Advent Health also white-labeled a Simplee system to create flexible payment plans for patients to complete their purchases, which has resulted in an 85% repayment rate. Advent Health’s revenue cycle experience now has a net promoter score of 40, compared to the average healthcare billing office score of 18. (2) Increased transparency and improved customer experience has resulted in higher returns and greater customer satisfaction. To create a successful healthcare payment program, organizations need to incorporate the following 5 elements:

  1. Clear communications
  2. Flexible payment scheduling
  3. Convenient payment methods
  4. Cost transparency
  5. Easy to navigate payment mechanics (enabled by technology)

Just as Queen Elizabeth listened to the people and maintained success as a leader, healthcare organizations need to do the same. Healthcare is a business like any other. Organizations that bring patients into the decision making of healthcare processes will regain loyalty and longevity with patients. In the end, high-end value rules. For more information on this topic, please read the full Market Corner Commentary here.


[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2018/03/26/the-truth-about-medical-bankruptcies/

[2] AdventHealth NPS based on 42,494 patient responses. Healthcare average from Longitudinal study of patient satisfaction with billing and payment experience by Connance (Consumer Impact Study, 5th annual, results published Aug 2014).


About the Author

David W. Johnson

David Johnson is the CEO of 4sight Health, an advisory company working at the intersection of healthcare strategy, economics, innovation. Johnson is a healthcare thought leader, keynote speaker, and strategic advisor to organizations busting the status-quo to reform our healthcare system. He is the author of Market vs. Medicine: America’s Epic Fight for Better, Affordable Healthcare, and his second book, The Customer Revolution in Healthcare: Delivering Kinder, Smarter, Affordable Care for All (McGraw-Hill 2019). As a speaker, Dave plays the role of rebel, challenger, industry historian, investor and company evaluator to push audiences forward. (Watch bio video.) Johnson applies his 25+ years of investment banking in healthcare to identify ways the healthcare industry must change to deliver better care. He received a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, an English degree from Colgate University, and served in the African Peace Corp service. Join over 10k+ healthcare executives who read our weekly insights and commentary on www.4sighthealth.com. His third book, Less Healthcare, More Health: The Prescription for a Happier, More Equitable and Productive America, will publish in 2024.

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