By Travis Schneider, founder and co-CEO, PatientPop.
Running an independent healthcare practice isn’t easy, and few practices have the resources or bandwidth to chase down late payments. While most patients want to pay their bills on time, it’s clear that many don’t – which leads to an unhealthy revenue cycle that can threaten a practice’s success and/or growth potential.
A 2019 report indicates that 22 percent of physician offices said that 10 percent or more of all patient accounts go to bad debt, which can take months or even years to recover.
For those practices that have trouble collecting timely patients, taking a closer look at the organization’s billing strategy can often reveal several opportunities to get paid faster. By evaluating current practices and asking the right questions, practices can make important changes that can improve the long-term financial health and success of their practice. If your practice is struggling to collect timely patient payments, here are the top three questions to consider:
How Does Your Healthcare Practice Handle Invoicing?
Postal mail is a nearly obsolete means of collecting payment. Thus, practices that use paper invoices sent via the U.S. postal service are less likely to receive timely payments. From delivery delays to misplaced bills or stamps, there are simply too many ways a well-meaning patient can get derailed when trying to make a payment. That’s why digital invoicing and online bill payments are the wave of the future – and savvy practices know, it not only improves revenue cycle metrics but can also enhance the patient experience.
The Patient Pop’s Patient Perspective Survey for 2021 reveals that more than 50 percent of patients prefer a digital experience when it comes to paying their bills. Digital, transparent invoicing and billing can support a healthcare practice’s patient retention strategy too.
According to the same survey, more than a third of patients (36.4 percent) have left a healthcare provider in the last two years — and many cited issues with costs or billing as a primary reason for making the switch. Acceptance of digital payments makes it fast and easy for patients to make their payments.
Is Your Practice Sending Payment Reminders to Patients?
Many patients wait for more than 60 days to see payment for services rendered. Sending reminders is one of the easiest ways to streamline this process and encourage patients to pay their bills before it is too late. Using email or text message payment reminders can help practices connect with patients who already spend a lot of time in an online world.
To facilitate prompt payment, combine the digital payment reminder with an online payment option – allowing patients to complete their payment with just a few clicks. Adding this simple tool can help practices reduce their days in A/R while also improving patient satisfaction and reducing the reliance on resources needed to collect late payments.
Does Your Healthcare Practice Make Patient Payment Easy?
Today’s consumers live in a convenience-driven world where they can buy cars from vending machines and grocery shop on their phones. Those organizations that make a consumer’s experience fast and seamless are those that are the most successful – and healthcare is no exception. It’s this simple.
Healthcare practices that make it easy for patients to pay their bills are more likely to get paid on time. And while implementing digital patient payment solutions requires an investment, it’s one that pays off quickly. By reducing manual workload, improving the revenue cycle, and enhancing the patient experience – online invoicing and digital payment solutions can help practices grow and prosper with minimal effort.