Turn on the news and there’s bound to be a story about inflation and the economy.  These are topics on many people’s minds – which may include existing and prospective patients.  To better understand consumer economic awareness, outlook and spending behavior, every month Synchrony conducts a consumer sentiment survey.  Synchrony’s Health & Wellness financing solutions CareCredit and Allegro Credit are able to share this survey information with providers to give them insights that may help them adapt to help more patients get the treatment or devices they want or need.

Cautious Spending Ahead

In the September survey, In Sync With Consumers, 59% of respondents indicated that they are anxious/fearful about the economy. Recession concerns have about an average of 39% extremely or very worried and 80% overall are still concerned about inflation. An average of 65% of consumers were very careful on how they’re spending money with inflation influencing their spending decisions.1

While this doesn’t seem to be very good news, those who have been a hearing care provider for a while know economic shifts are to be expected.  The question is, how will it impact patients’ hearing health decisions and for how long?  And what can providers do now to enable more patients to comfortably move forward with hearing instruments that will help them to live connected, vibrant lives?

Address the Financial Stress

While there are no definitive answers to these questions, with the data, we can look at patient conversations from an empathetic point of view.  It’s easy to understand cost is often a barrier to care – it always has been.  What may be a solution, however, is to approach the financial conversation differently during lean economic times.  When patients come into your practice, they want to feel comfortable and at ease.  Addressing patient’s cost concerns up front instead of waiting until the fee discussion can be helpful.  “Mrs. Jones, rest assured we are doing everything we can to keep costs down and offer our patients with payment options, including the CareCredit credit card with promotional financing options to help fit your family budget.”  Mentioning early in their journey that you have a payment solution available should they prefer to pay over time with promotional financing on qualifying purchases may make some patients more at ease during the examination, treatment presentation and fee discussion and may make it easier for them to immediately move forward with care.

Control What You Can

So, here’s a bit of good news:  since the start of the year, recession concerns continue to trend downwards from an average of 47% overall in January to 39% overall in September.1  Anxiety about the overall economy is showing improvement as well, from an average of 69% in January reporting feeling “anxious/fearful” to an average of 59% in September.  And consumers remain optimistic, with 69% of those surveyed indicating that they have a positive outlook for next year, an increase of 9% from September 2022. It seems people are more positive and less fearful.  That is good news.  None of us can control prices at the pump or grocery store.  And we certainly can’t control the economy.  But we can recognize how to better help patients financially so we can help them clinically.

1 Synchrony In Sync With Consumers September 2023 survey.  Published September 2023.

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