Also in this issue

Throwback Thursday: U.S. Hospital Chapel Stained Glass Windows
Stress Training Brings Calm to Hospitals Emergency Departments
Public Partners in Population Health
Improving Physician Engagement with EHRs

Pick a service-oriented industry — auto dealers, air travel, hospitality, taxis, banking — and without fail you can find a convenient, (fairly) reliable and consumer-friendly e-commerce companion. Cars.com, Expedia, Orbitz, Uber, Lending Tree. Plug your information into their apps or websites and within seconds they’ll churn out services, pricing and payment options.

Noticeably absent from the list is health care. Saddled by silos and arcane billing processes, health care organizations are leaving a sour taste in most consumers’ mouths, according to a new thought-provoking report from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute.

“Health care is still in a horse-and-buggy world while these other industries are moving to driverless cars,” Ceci Connolly, HRI’s managing director, said, citing the report during a visit to our Chicago office earlier this week.

PwC surveyed 1,000 adults about their interactions with the health care system and analyzed 34 million claims in the Truven Health MarketScan 2012 commercial claims database. They found multiple pain points, noted Trine Tsouderos, HRI director and primary author of the report. For instance, 47 percent of those who identified themselves as being in poor or fair health said they did not understand their costs before receiving a hospital bill. Meanwhile, affluent respondents — those earning $100,000 or more annually — were most dissatisfied with insurers. One-quarter said that they were not confident in the accuracy of their bills. And millennials? Well, they are more likely than the general population to actively question their bills and ask for changes. Millennials also are prone to factor a hospital’s billing practices into their overall perception of the organization, Tsouderos said.

But it’s not all bad news. The report, "Money Matters: Billing and Payment for a New Health Economy," points out that health care organizations that offer “convenient, seamless, affordable, quality, reliable and transparent billing and payment” can expect to not only retain and attract new consumers, but improve cash flow and revenue cycle, as PwC Principal Nikki Parham suggests in the video below.