Experian Study: Consumers looking for greater financial control in their healthcare journey

Financial experiences are a top pain point for 94 percent of consumers

Franklin, TN, September 5, 2018 — Like any other consumer-facing industry today, healthcare is rapidly evolving into a competitive environment where providers must not only provide exceptional care to their patients but also consider how patients experience the financial and administrative aspects of care; people want to be treated not only as patients, but as valued customers. Providers are recognizing that their satisfaction can make or break a business. To understand the pain points involved with the typical healthcare journey, Experian Health conducted a consumer study and found that the biggest points of friction during consumers’ healthcare journeys involve the financial and administrative aspects of care.

"The healthcare industry has an enormous opportunity to improve a consumer’s experience by focusing on providing transparency across the administrative, financial and clinical aspects of their healthcare journey. Consumers want control -- they want to know, upfront, the cost of their care so they can avoid surprises and prepare to meet financial obligations,” said Jennifer Schulz, president of Experian Health. “They also want on-the-go access to pay their medical bills and schedule appointments. This requires healthcare organizations to adopt the same data, insights, and technology as other consumer industries to drive an ideal customer experience.”

Many complicated tasks in order to pay for care cause frustration

When it comes to the steps associated with seeking and obtaining medical care, consumers expressed that financial matters cause the most angst, even when compared to the process associated with getting diagnosed by a physician or undergoing medical tests. Survey results reveal 97 percent of consumers ranked financially related tasks that take place prior to a doctor’s appointment as “very” to “extremely” important parts of their healthcare journey, but most are dissatisfied with current solutions to address these pain points. Additionally, 98 percent of consumers ranked the ability to pay their medical bills as “very” to “extremely” important, however many consumers are not satisfied with their ability to do so today.

“We conducted this analysis of the entire healthcare journey because we want to focus our innovation efforts around solving the most critical pain points of both consumers and providers,” said Kristen Simmons, senior vice president of strategy and innovation at Experian Health. “After seeing the results, we realized most of the top issues for consumers today are areas where Experian Health can help to reduce friction between consumers and providers. By drawing on our expertise in consumer data and analytics, Experian Health has invested in data-driven technology that takes the financial stress out of the relationship, and lets both parties focus on what matters most — the patient's health.”

To modernize how consumers engage with healthcare organizations, Experian Health offers numerous patient engagement products and services to healthcare organizations. One example is consumer price estimates—in which Experian provides upfront estimates of a consumer’s out-of-pocket cost for an upcoming procedure—using real-time data from the hospital, as well as contract terms with the consumer’s insurer to compute benefit structure and deductible status.

As the industry innovates further around the consumer experience in healthcare, Experian Health is co-developing with healthcare providers a new consumer experience—a 24/7 mobile experience powered by data-driven technology, that helps consumers navigate their healthcare journey. Using data to drive personalized experiences, a consumer can know what they can expect to pay—and be provided with options to afford it—across the entire healthcare journey, from doctor’s visits to ancillary services. With this technology, customers can understand the complete costs attached to their care, be matched with greater options and more flexible solutions for payment, and ultimately feel a far greater sense of confidence and control as they avoid many of the financial pain points noted in the study.

About the study: A unique perspective of the consumer mindset in their healthcare journey

Consumer survey used a jobs-to-be-done approach
In qualitative interviews, each consumer walked through their most recent healthcare experience. In total, those interviews revealed 137 jobs associated with a healthcare journey. A quantitative survey to more than 1,000 respondents measured the level of importance associated with each of these jobs, as well as the consumer’s current level of satisfaction with their ability to get each job done.

Consumers identified financial touch points as the most important tasks in the journey – and executing these tasks generated the most challenges and dissatisfaction levels. Hot-button issues include:

  • Understanding how much is owed for services before healthcare is administered
  • Knowing what their health insurance will cover
  • Determining what financial support and flexibility is available (e.g., a payment plan)
  • Affording their healthcare services

Provider and payer interviews focused on patient experience challenges
Experian Health completed in-person and phone interviews during July-November of 2017 with provider clients and payer partners. The interviews inquired about the priority of creating a great consumer/patient experience, any organizational changes to support that priority, related initiatives that are underway, and the challenges of creating a great experience for the consumer.

The second phase of the study asked select healthcare providers about their strategies and struggles to address customers’ needs. The common theme was that organizations want to provide a supportive and seamless experience for their customers; however, providers feel challenged by:

  • The confusion and frustration of customers who don’t understand medical charges or the value of healthcare services
  • The need to improve the customer experience in a holistic, well-coordinated way (many are pursuing one-off approaches that don’t consider the end-to-end customer journey)
  • The lack of clear metrics to measure the customer experience across touchpoints and over time (to ensure efforts are focused in the right places)

A complimentary white paper on the study, Embracing consumerism: Driving customer engagement in the healthcare financial journey, is available via:

For more information about Experian Health’s Patient Engagement Solutions, please visit https://www.experian.com/healthcare/solutions/patient-engagement-solutions.html.

About Experian Health

At Experian Health, we collaborate with more than 3,200 hospitals and 10,000 other healthcare organizations representing 500,000 plus providers — almost 60 percent of the market — to provide data-driven platforms to empower our clients to make smarter business decisions, boast a better bottom line and foster stronger patient relationships. Our industry-leading solutions include revenue cycle management, identity management, patient engagement and care management.

Part of Experian, the world’s leading information services company, our Experian Health business is known for patient access heritage, advanced data insights and patent-pending Touchless Workflow™ to help providers, labs, pharmacies and other risk-bearing entities power opportunities in today’s consumer-driven healthcare environment.

Experian has 16,500 people operating across 39 countries, and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people and innovation to help our clients maximize every opportunity. We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

For more information about Experian Health, visit https://www.experian.com/healthcare/. Learn more about Experian at www.experianplc.com or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the Group.