The proportion of practice revenue that comes from patient payments is increasingly staggering. This isn’t going to be slowing down any time soon. Armed with this knowledge physicians should be working towards a strong automated patient payment strategy to stay financially sound.
While patient payments are the fastest-growing portion of practice revenue, they also constitute the segment in which physicians have had the least amount of control – the patient revenue cycle.
Moving forward, understanding the patient revenue cycle and making the payment process for patients seamless and transparent is crucial. Below are some helpful strategies to begin building a business case for patient payment solutions.
1. Treat Patient Payments Like Claims
Not many practices treat patient payments like insurance claims. As a result, there has been little emphasis on standardization. Now is the time to standardize and automate patient payment processes.
2. Track Patient Payments
It’s time to ask yourself - “How many systems does it take to process a patients payment?” If you find yourself beginning to count on two hands then it is time to move towards a more seamless approach. Logging in and out of multiple systems a day creates lag time in reporting which will ultimately create delays in payments.
3. Make Payments Easier On the Patient
We all stress the importance of putting the patient first. Making payments easier on patients is the key to collections. Offer patients payment methods that are most convenient to them. On the back end it will be important to consolidate payment channels into a single platform to help cut down on complexity for staff members. Keep this in mind – A patient who can easily pay is a patient who is more likely to pay.
4. Consider the Patient Experience
The patient payment revenue cycle is an experience and you better make sure it’s a good one. Picture this if you will, a patient received an invoice from a provider, and they immediately pay half of the bill online and the remainder of the balance over the phone once they get their paycheck. In their mind they’ve paid their bill in full. But due to posting delays with the second payment a call is made requesting a payment. Unfortunately, this patient will probably not be pleased with the phone call that was made. This is just one example of how crucial the patient experience is in the practice's revenue cycle.