Medical costs: The conversation physicians need to have with patients | Geneia

Medical costs: The conversation physicians need to have with patients

July 18, 2019
Mark A. Caron, CHCIO, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer


Talking money with patients increases trust and satisfaction
Infographic representing the percentages of patients who want to talk about cost during medical visits.

When the overwhelming majority of your patients want to talk about something, you should talk about it. Especially when the conversation contributes to the holy grail of high-quality, cost-controlled care that improves patient engagement and satisfaction. 

We’re talking money. 

Recent research indicates 59 to 80 percent of patients want to talk about medical costs during medical visits.

That’s almost everyone.

And, more importantly, when cost conversations occur, medical professionals demonstrate sensitivity to patient needs and build trust, engagement and satisfaction, all of which lead to stronger adherence to care plans and better population health.

Shifting consumer attitudes about medical care

As high-deductible health plans gain traction, the healthcare industry becomes more consumer-driven. Applying the same passion and rigor used to research and choose any product, such as a new car or streaming device, people want to know they are getting the highest value for their medical dollar.

An easy win in the cost conversation

Talking about money isn’t easy, especially within the context of a hectic patient visit. All too often, patients themselves need a few minutes to absorb the information you are giving them and adding even more information might seem overwhelming. However, knowing your patients are open and eager to talk about costs will hopefully encourage you to make a few minutes for this crucial conversation.

An easy win for physicians and patients is drug costs. Drug costs are relatively easy for patients to understand and, armed with the right information, physicians are well positioned to engage patients in improving their health.

But, you need the right data to make it happen

To facilitate the conversation, front-line care teams, and those involved in pre-planning of office visits, must have a clear line of sight into final costs, alternatives, social needs and past patient adherence. With this knowledge, physicians make better decisions and can work with patients to improve engagement and satisfaction while controlling costs and maintaining high-quality care.

We can help

It is a complex undertaking to properly enrich pharmacy data at the patient-level and then deliver prescriptive action based on clinical pathways, contractual requirements, and episodic groups that tend to be elastic over time. The process requires ongoing refinement, one guided by innovative algorithms, best practices and science.   

It’s worth the effort, however, as costs, including drug costs and prescription adherence significantly impact population health and the success of value-based care.

Learn more

Your patients are overwhelmingly interested in talking to you about their medical costs. Drug adherence and cost data sets are the proverbial tip of the data iceberg. Given the expanding data universe, I would advise hospital leaders to thoroughly investigate data science and data integration capabilities to meet patient demand and improve population health outcomes.

To learn more, I encourage you to download our white paper, Hospital Success in Data-Driven, Value-Based Care.

Download the white paper


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