The traditional “do no harm” philosophy in healthcare revolves around weighing the potential risks and benefits of clinical procedures and treatments—physicians have a huge responsibility when calculating the outcomes of their actions.
But in a truly patient-first approach, “do no harm” extends far beyond the exam room.
As healthcare costs become an increasing burden for patients, providers must work to offer a patient financial experience that allows everyone to access the care that they deserve—with financial terms that help patients shoulder the cost.
The “Do No Harm” Principle in Healthcare
Also known as primum non nocere in Latin, the “do no harm” principle is a fundamental ethical guideline in healthcare that began with the Hippocratic Oath.
The idea behind the oath is that physicians must always keep the patient’s well-being and safety above all else—every decision must be made in the patient’s best interest.
And while the principle has evolved over time, “do no harm” has endured throughout the centuries for a reason: it is a moral imperative of the utmost importance.
Today, providers also need to consider the patient financial experience as an integral part of the modern version of this ethical responsibility. Why? High deductibles are a common feature for most insurance options, along with complex co-pays and patients carrying a greater responsibility for the overall cost of their healthcare.
Extending the Principle to the Patient Financial Experience
Under these circumstances, too often Americans avoid receiving treatment altogether—they feel the financial stress is too heavy a burden to carry. In fact, according to a recent AccessOne survey, 47% of consumers expect to delay healthcare expenses in 2023
When patients do consider financing options, they are frequently finding themselves the unsuspecting victims of predatory lending practices. Sadly, when patients are at their most vulnerable, there are some bad actors who only care about their own profit.
Confusing billing practices, exorbitant costs, non-recourse patient financing, aggressive collections, medical credit cards—it all adds up to harm the patient.
In order to set priorities straight, the “do no harm” principle is a good way to look ahead and understand that the patient is always first.
Patients must feel financially supported when looking out for their health—they shouldn’t have to choose between their physical and financial well-being.
That’s why health systems need to offer patients a range of options for paying for high-cost care.
Patients First: AccessOne’s Approach
At AccessOne, we approach patient payments as part of the cohesive healthcare experience, where the patient is at the center of every decision.
We believe everyone deserves affordable access to care, without negative financial repercussions. That’s why we are committed to removing affordability barriers for patients and improving collection rates for providers through an innovative mobile-first payment platform.
AccessOne’s patient financing solutions extend the same terms to everyone, no matter their credit score. And because damaging a credit score would be damaging to a patient’s health, we never report to credit bureaus.
In an industry where a high standard of care makes the difference, we’re taking it up a level and proving that “do no harm” belongs at the center of healthcare’s clinical and administrative functions.
Payment shouldn’t be a barrier to health, but an opportunity to strengthen the patient-provider relationship with an easy, convenient, and transparent experience.
The Impact on Patients
The “do no harm” ethos can be summarized like this: providers should do everything possible to help improve the health outcomes of patients.
When patients feel confident about their course of treatment and how they will manage their financial responsibility, they’re more likely to pursue care.
Instead, shady tactics like deferred interest can destroy patient trust, and, in turn, their future health outcomes. Often, patients who need help the most do not qualify for certain programs.
For example, some non-recourse vendors offer customers a promotional zero-interest option, but only if the charges are paid off within 12 months. Many patients miss the fact that if the total amount isn’t paid in the 12-month period, all interest accumulated over the last year can be billed all at once to the customer, leaving them with even more debt.
A genuine patient-centric approach, where all patient needs are considered throughout the whole experience, from appointment through payment, brings better health outcomes. Patients are relieved of the stress of surprise health bills, and can actually access the care that they deserve.
The Impact on Providers
Patient payments is a crucial element of providing excellent care.
Providers who facilitate a true patient-first experience from appointment through payment are positioned for long-term success.
By designing a transparent payment plan aligned with what patients can realistically afford, providers cultivate loyalty and satisfaction.
After all, patients who are in control of their payments are more likely to continue their relationship with their healthcare provider.
Providers have a responsibility to educate patients and facilitate transparent conversations about out-of-pocket costs.
And this has true benefits for providers: when patients feel empowered, they are more likely to pay, resulting in improved patient loyalty and revenue cycle management for providers. In fact, user-friendly patient payment solutions led to a recourse rate of less than 10% with 95% of patients current with their payments for the University of Kansas Health System.
“Do No Harm” Is More Than Clinical Care
If you want to adopt a “do no harm” approach throughout your healthcare organization, you need to build a bridge between excellent care and a seamless payment experience.
With AccessOne’s patient payment solutions, patients are empowered to fully understand their financial responsibilities without hidden fees or surprises. With detailed statements and easy-to-understand payment options, our solutions are designed to provide flexibility so patients and their families can select the payment method that best fits their circumstances and preferences.
It’s not just about paying a bill, it’s about facilitating an experience that puts patients first. Doing so is not only an ethical choice, but it’s also better for overall patient health and the sustainability of your practice.
Imagine what could happen in the healthcare industry if all players, payers, and financing companies alike, put this principle into action. There would be no more distrust and patients would have the freedom to pursue the care they need without fear of financial ruin.
Do you want to ensure that your patients get the care they deserve? Reach out today and discover how AccessOne’s solutions can help you apply “do no harm” to patient financing.