Why Patients Are Headed to Malls for Care, not Hospitals

American malls are taking on new partners – healthcare clinics. That’s because patients are finding walk-in clinics an easier and more gratifying way to manage their healthcare. In fact, the number of medical clinics at malls has risen by almost 60% since 2017, according to a recent report from CNN Business.

The report calls this trend “medtail,” blending the simplicity and ease of use for consumers with medical services.

Driving the movement to malls is patient worries about the complexity and affordability of healthcare. Consumers are increasingly willing to pay outright to avoid surprise billing(s) from providers. 

A recent survey shows 22% of Americans are losing sleep over healthcare or insurance bills. Access and affordability to healthcare continues to be the number one issue Americans worry most about – higher than crime, government spending, and drug use.

Patients are increasingly concerned about rising healthcare costs and deductibles. The sharp increase in health insurance is pushing a growing number of American families to the breaking point, according to a recent investigation by the Los Angeles Times.  

As recently as 2006, the average deductible for individual coverage in a job-based plan was just $379. By the early 2000s, employers began shifting costs to workers as they sought to manage their healthcare spending. The average deductible has more than tripled, to $1,350. More than 25% of workers have plans with a deductible of at least $2,500. 

The sharp increase in health insurance is pushing growing numbers of American families to the breaking point, according a recent report. In 2009, the average deductible was $533 for a single person, but has since risen by over 150% to $1,350 in 2018.)

Another recent report from ModernHealthcare outlines the stresses besetting patients owing healthcare bills. “The average patient, often saddled with debt and increased costs of living, is struggling more each year,” says the report, which advocates for more consideration of patients’ ability to cope with these obligations with payment plans. 

In response to these concerns, some healthcare providers are adopting new payment approaches, using financial services to create flexibility for patients. One comprehensive study of 250 leading providers found that: 

  •     62% link improved patient financial services to a boost in patient satisfaction, and
  •     46% said they expect them to also help boost clinical outcomes for patients.

These hospitals achieved results by engaging patients throughout their healthcare journey. They are developing personalized paths to payment using a consumer-centric approach to financial healthcare management. 

For example, at AdventHealth, patients said they wanted a better way to understand their medical finances. In the first year of launching the new platform, the hospital experienced 83% growth in self-service payments. Collections through the higher cost early out vendor decreased by 28%.

Providers face a critical challenge to simplify their billing processes. By enabling healthcare providers to engage with patients earlier—before they set foot in an office—hospitals can increase collections, patient throughput, and satisfaction while reducing staff workloads and enhancing the accuracy of patient registration data. 

To make the payment process more understandable and manageable for patients, forward-thinking providers are offering self-service estimation, check in, and payment services making them consumer-centric, intuitive, and personalized to the needs of the individual.

By using current tools and advances in revenue cycle, providers can help relieve patient concerns and worries about the complexity and affordability of healthcare.