Patients Want Self-Service to Better Manage Expenses

The latest survey of U.S. consumers, commissioned by NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR), shows that patients are increasingly seeking self-service convenience when managing the financial aspects of their healthcare experience. The annual consumer study, conducted by Buzzback Market Research, reveals that more than half (51 percent) of respondents would like to manage their healthcare account by viewing payment history and settling outstanding balances via online and mobile channels.

“As patients bear greater financial responsibility for their care, providers must find new, innovative and convenient ways to improve revenue collection and reduce patient bad debt,” said Nelson Gomez, Vice President, NCR Healthcare. “Merging multi-channel self-service can provide a seamless means to capture more revenue through multiple touch points while supporting the industry initiative to improve the cost, quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery.”

At least half of survey respondents say they would be willing to expedite the payment process by pre-authorizing a credit card charge for co-pays and balances not covered by their insurance provider if offered one of the following incentives:

  • A 10 percent discount on their bill (73 percent)

  • A room and/or amenity upgrades during a hospital stay (51 percent)

  • A discount at the pharmacy or hospital gift shop (50 percent)

Self-service can help to speed the payment pre-authorization process online during pre-registration or at a kiosk during patient check-in. Beyond improving revenue capture, automating payment pre-authorization enables healthcare providers to reduce expenses related to collecting patient balances and increase overall convenience for patients.

“Rising healthcare deductibles and co-pays, coupled with the growing need for greater control and convenience, are driving consumers to take charge of their healthcare,” said Gomez. “Self-service technology is facilitating that shift in control by allowing patients to personalize where, when and how they manage all aspects of their healthcare experience based upon individual preference and location.”

Self-service also is also having an increasing impact on patient loyalty. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they are more likely to choose a healthcare provider that allows them to manage various elements of the healthcare experience – such as appointment scheduling, registration and bill payment – over the Internet, on a mobile device or at a self-service kiosk. This represents a year-over-year increase of 7 percent.

Other areas where the research indicates consumers would like to interact via online and mobile channels include pre-registering for appointments (64 percent); accessing lab results (60 percent); obtaining pre-appointment instructions (58 percent); sending and receiving secure messages with their healthcare provider (48 percent); and receiving medication reminders (47 percent).

Healthcare providers utilizing NCR MediKiosk™, the leading patient registration solution, have seen fewer claims denials and report up to a 75-percent reduction in patient wait times. They have also minimized the time and expense related to managing paper-based registration and billing processes, reducing paper forms by more than 80 percent and giving staff more time to interact with patients. Hospitals that have also deployed NCR Patient Portal, a comprehensive suite of online solutions that streamline the healthcare process, have seen 150 percent ROI within one year of implementation.

About the research

NCR commissioned Buzzback Market Research to conduct this online survey among more than 4570 respondents in nine countries (US, Canada, UK, Brazil, India, China, Italy, Germany and Australia) in March 2010. The results outlined above form part of the NCR 2010 study on consumer use of multichannel self-service solutions. BuzzBack LLC is a leading international market research firm headquartered in New York City.

About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a global technology company leading how the world connects, interacts and transacts with business. NCR’s assisted- and self-service solutions and comprehensive support services address the needs of retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, gaming and public sector organizations in more than 100 countries. NCR ( is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia.

NCR is a trademark of NCR Corporation in the United States and other countries.