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Billing and texting: More patients want digital reminders


A recent survey suggests consumers are more interested in getting payment notices digitally. Some hospitals are offering more digital payment options, but many are not.

Consumers say they’re more open to getting digital reminders about healthcare bills, and they’re also wanting providers to pay attention to their preferences, a recent survey suggests.

More patients say they want a billing notification from their healthcare provider via text message, according to a recent survey. (Image credit: ©Flamingo Images - stock.adobe.com)

More patients say they want a billing notification from their healthcare provider via text message, according to a recent survey. (Image credit: ©Flamingo Images - stock.adobe.com)

Patients say they’re increasingly more interested in getting bill reminders by text, according to a survey of more than 1,300 people in the spring conducted by Salucro Healthcare Solutions, a healthcare payment technology company.

Well over half of the participants (62%) said they would prefer to pay their bills via an online patient portal, the survey found.

The survey found more patients say they want a billing notification via text message, with 59% saying they would prefer a text notification over a phone call or email. Last year, 45% said they’d prefer a text message.

A slight majority of the respondents (51%) said a text message reminder would prompt them to pay their bills more quickly.

More healthcare systems have been looking at improving convenience for consumers, including in areas such as scheduling appointments and paying bills.

More hospitals are offering digital options to pay bills, but plenty of patients say they’re not seeing different payment options from their healthcare providers.

About a third of consumers (32%) said their health system offered an online payment option, which is up from 27% a year ago. And 11% of those surveyed said they had a text-to-pay option this year, up from 8% last year.

At the same time, more than half of those surveyed (53%) said their healthcare provider had not updated their payment communication options over the past year.

Many healthcare providers aren’t asking patients about their preferred method of getting billing reminders. Nearly half of the survey’s respondents (45%) said their providers didn’t inquire about the way they’d like to get billing reminders.

Consumers offered mixed views about apps with payment and scheduling options. The survey found 35% said they love their apps for payment and scheduling, while 26% said they found the apps difficult to navigate, and 17% said their provider didn’t offer an app. More than 1 in 5 said they weren’t sure if their provider offered an app.

The survey also suggested that bad billing practices could have consequences. More than a third of the participants (36%) said they would consider switching healthcare providers if they have a poor experience with billing.

Clayton Bain, founder and CEO of Salucro, said that healthcare systems need to pay attention to the way they’re asking patients to pay their bills.

"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," Bain said in a statement.

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