By: John Lavey | Hammock President/COO

Trust has always been a cornerstone of the patient-physician relationship, and high levels of trust in medical institutions have remained steady in large opinion polls.

But as the forces of consumerism continue to transform the healthcare industry, the rules are changing—and content needs to keep pace.

The Walt Disney Company, a legendary provider of customer experience, is famous for the saying “everything speaks,” which means that every aspect of your organization that touches a customer conveys something about you. Customer expectations of trust include greater transparency from providers.

Right now, we often see the opposite of transparency. The news is filled with stories about patients who rack up bills for care for chronic conditions or serious illnesses without a clear understanding of their financial responsibility before treatment. Surprise billing stories are the worst kind of PR you can have about your brand as a provider. They tap into legitimate fears that bankruptcy is just an unexpected illness away.

Some of the move toward greater transparency will be driven by Washington, D.C. A recent executive order from President Trump ordered federal agencies to develop rules that require providers to post the cost of procedures and related quality information in a more easily understood format. Part of this transparency effort includes the elimination of so-called “surprise billing,” or bills from insurance companies charged to patients for unavoidable “out-of-network” care. Legislation around surprise billing is working its way through committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

But providers that want to act with greater transparency might want to embrace the change—across all points where their brand touches customers—before it’s dictated from Washington.

What can you do to demonstrate greater transparency? Start by giving customers the most helpful content of all: clear information about the cost of procedures and the value provided. There are plenty of reasons why this is difficult, but once transparency is mandated, providers that aren’t ready to play by the new rules will have a hard time “speaking” trust to their customers.

Photo | Getty images

About Hammock Healthcare Idea Email |
This post is part of Hammock’s award-winning Idea Email series. Idea Emails are sent every other week and share one insightful marketing idea. Idea Email comes in two flavors: Original and Healthcare. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here . To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.