An effective patient payment collection system is a necessity for your healthcare organization's revenue cycle management. There's no question that the current trend in healthcare means that patients are paying a higher percentage of their own costs. For healthcare organizations and small practices, this means that the financial solvency of the organization relies on patient payments. In the past, these models often focused far more on payment through insurance and government funding. Securing patient payments isn't just about the financial bottom line. It also impacts healthcare consumer confidence.
The change in prioritizing patient payment means a few things. First, it's imperative to find ways to encourage patient payment because the organization can no longer take the loss of revenue. Second, patients paying a higher burden for their healthcare are far more frugal about how they spend. Today's healthcare organizations are finding that adopting a more consumer-friendly approach is the key to creating and increasing patient satisfaction. When the healthcare consumer is offered a more convenient experience, they're more apt to recommend the organization and better engaged overall.
Technology, Patient Engagement, and Improved Revenue Cycle Management
Technology offers a great many avenues to improve the patient's engagement and better serve their needs. There are also options to make paying outstanding balances far more convenient for the patient and their budget. Ideally, when your organization looks at ways to use technology, you want to note what positively impacts the patient as well as improving your payment collections.
The following options offer some excellent benefits for patient engagement and improved payment:
- Check-In Kiosks. Check-in kiosks offer an excellent advantage in convenience. This option minimizes the workload for the front desk staff while allowing patients a personalized and private check-in experience. They can input their healthcare information and payment information independently, offering better security than verbalizing this information at the reception desk or writing it on long forms where the information can be entered inaccurately.
- Mobile App. Healthcare organizations can offer their patients mobile apps so that scheduling and payment can be done right from the convenience of their mobile phone.
- Patient Portal. A website or patient portal allows patients access to their records, any notes from the doctor, and excellent information pertinent to their continued well care. This option also allows patients to pay balances online on a set schedule and they can look up their outstanding balances at their convenience.
- Card on File. Many healthcare organizations are switching to card on file systems. In this case, a patient will provide a credit card which can be kept on file at the organization. That card will be charged on a regular schedule for outstanding balances and co-payments. This offers some convenience to the patient and setting a limit on possible charges allows the patient to budget this expense adequately.
- POS Payment. Point of Sale payments are becoming increasingly useful as an organization-wide protocol. In some cases, the practice might institute a policy where procedures that run over a set amount should be budgeted in advance for scheduled payments. In this scenario, organizations should validate the patient coverage in advance to better budget their total expected responsibility. This aids patients in budgeting for the services as well.
For healthcare organizations to flourish into the future, it's important that the healthcare consumer's needs are met. Offering a number of options to better allow patients transparency on the billing process can benefit consumer confidence overall.