While many doctors are busy transitioning to electronic medical billing software to improve their medical practice management, others are struggling with patients that have been hit hard by the most recent financial crisis. Over the past few years, many Americans have been unable to afford their hospital bills. Some even needed to file for bankruptcy after costly medical procedures, while others have tried to negotiate discounted payments with their healthcare providers.
This climate has created problems for both patients and doctors, the latter of whom strive to perform necessary and essential care whenever possible while remaining profitable. However, a recent poll shows that consumers may be changing their minds about their own ability to afford essential medical treatments.
At the end of September, Thompson Reuters released the results of its Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index that found that Americans' confidence in their ability to pay for healthcare increased during the month. In total, the poll rose one point, from 97 in August to 98 in September. According to the company's press release, this was two points below the baseline measurement of 100.
To determine patient confidence, the polling agency first tries to assess the past experience of its participants over the span of the last 90 days. The two point jump was the result of the fact that many respondents said they were less likely to delay or be unable to fill a prescription.
In the second part of the study, Thompson Reuters attempted to determine how this will affect the medical billing cycle for doctors over the next three months. Many of the participants suggested that they were more optimistic about their ability to pay for not only their insurance, but also healthcare services.
As a result, doctors may see an increased cash flow in the coming months, which they could then wisely reinvest in the latest technological developments that could aid their practice, such as software from Lytec or Allscripts.