Patient demand for better online and digital payment options has been increasing for years. In 2017, a survey found that 68 percent of patients want their healthcare providers to offer digital payments options. Two year later, in 2019, another study found that 81 percent of consumers wanted their healthcare providers to offer more online payment options.
Then along came COVID-19, and the resulting lockdowns of the pandemic caused the use of digital payments to accelerate even further. In fact, a 2020 study conducted in the early months of the pandemic found that 44 percent of participants ages 18 to 34 had already enrolled in online or mobile banking for the first time (of those who were not already using online banking). Digital payments are here to stay.
Demand Will Keep Rising in the Post-COVID World
Similar to what happened with telehealth, digital payments may have experienced a surge due to the COVID-19 pandemic but will not end with it. And it will continue on for many of the same reasons that telehealth will, mostly related to the current generational shifts that are driving a number of changes in the overall market.
First, you have an elder Baby Boomer population that is choosing to age in place and, as a result, they are looking for as many online or in-home options as possible that will make it easier for them to do so. Then you have members of Generation X, who are reaching middle age in poorer health than expected but are more tech savvy than Boomers and so will expect more digital payment options. However, it is the youngest generations that are driving the trend toward digital payments even more than their elders.
Millennials and Generation Z don’t just want digital payment options, they demand and expect to be provided with them. What’s more, they are far more likely than older generation to switch to a different provider if such options are not provided. In fact, one survey of 1,600 younger Americans (age 18-24) found that 41 percent of them said they would consider switching to a different healthcare provider who offered a better digital experience if they were dissatisfied with that of their current one.
To remain relevant in these changing times while keeping up with the ongoing rise in patient demand, specialty practices should be implementing digital payment solutions now. Failing to do so could cause your practice to get left behind, as well as lead to lost patients and missed revenue opportunities that will hurt your bottom line.
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