Addressing the Problems of Collecting Patient Payments in Healthcare
As we have addressed before, the rise of high deductible health plans (HDHP) have led to a sharp increase in patient payment responsibilities, which in turn has led them to demand more price transparency, a high level of communication on the cost of care via digital channels, and easier and more convenient ways to pay. As a result of the rise of patient as a payer, most medical practices are proactively seeking to implement technology that automates the patient revenue cycle and removes the uncomfortable conversations about collecting outstanding patient payment balances. On the back end, the traditional method of sending paper statements has become incredibly expensive and outdated and is not an effective way to collect patient payments.
Medical providers must recognize that they will see a larger percentage of their future revenue streams come from patient out-of-pocket expenses and adapt their approach, processes, and systems in order to improve patient collections while also creating and maintaining a good relationship with patients.
Below is a brief summary of some of the best practices to improve patient collection while also improving patient satisfaction and retention rates. These practices are expanded upon in the whitepaper.
Practices need to increase awareness and accountability. Being able to recognize what is working and what is not can go a long way towards creating an effective team. It might be beneficial to create a baseline of current revenue cycle metrics and then comparing that baseline with good external benchmarks. Practices should focus on process improvement aimed at boosting patient yield (net patient collections – patent billing & collection expenses over total patient responsibility).
As we discussed earlier, there is an increased demand from patients for price transparency. Now that a high percentage of the healthcare payments are coming from patients themselves, they want clear and concise information on how much they will owe. Surveys have showed that patients prefer having the option to keep a credit card on file to automatically pay residual balances under $200. Technology is at the forefront of the move from healthcare patient revenue cycle status quo and practices should utilize it. Technology can act as a “digital assistant” by taking over many of the back-end revenue cycle tasks.
Now more than ever, it is beneficial for practices to have a good relationship with patients. One way to do this is by providing appointment reminders via preferred digital communication channels. Confirm the date and time of the appointment, include special visit instructions and a Google map/directions of the office location, proactively have forms (e.g. - Consent to Treat, Financial Policy) filled out prior to the visit, and send the information to them via SMS text and/or email. Sending patients appointment info leads to fewer missed appointments, less time filling out forms at the office, and an opportunity to pay down outstanding balances via a patient portal which in turn leads to more effective patient payment collections.
By incorporating some of these practices, providers can optimize patient payments and increase revenue while boosting patient engagement and retention. Utilizing the latest tech-enabled patient RCM management solutions, such as Health iPASS, is the right choice for practices who wish to thrive now and in the face of additional forthcoming patient revenue cycle changes in the healthcare industry.
The updated version of the whitepaper will be available under “White Papers” in the Resources tab. You can download that whitepaper, or any other Health iPASS whitepaper by visiting the whitepaper page or clicking on the link below.
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