Although payment processing represents a complicated challenge for every business, it can be an especially complex problem in the healthcare accounts receivable management industry. As well as having to navigate contracts, hardware, and connectivity, healthcare providers must also face a number of other unique obstacles when it comes to the processing of payments.
- Protection of Patient Data
One of the key elements of healthcare payment processing is the need to protect patient data effectively via HIPAA compliance. As a provider of healthcare services, it is essential to prevent any exposure or breach of PHI (Protected Health Information), and this responsibility is also passed on to the company chosen to provide healthcare payment processing services. As breaches of healthcare data carry harsh penalties, not to mention potentially ruining a practice's reputation, it is paramount to verify that providers of the practice's payment infrastructure are compliant with both HIPAA and PCI.
- Variation in Methods and Times of Payment
Unlike the majority of retail transactions, patients will not necessarily be making their payment when their service is received. Because of the complexities of insurance reimbursements, it can take some providers more than a month to obtain payments from patients. And, with today's high-deductible plans, patients often have to wait for several weeks to obtain their statement of charges while providers wait for insurance companies to pay their share of the healthcare payment. To accommodate this issue, payment processing solutions must be able to update and track transaction data efficiently and to handle payments that are made via an HSA or FSA card.
- Posting Transaction Data To EHR/PM Software
During the patient payment process, all clinical documentation of received treatments is converted into a list of applicable patient charges in the practice's EHR/PM software. Although the majority of EHR/PM software packages can calculate the amount owed by the patient for his or her treatment, the majority are unable to actually process the payment itself, and, therefore, processing has to be completed via an alternative solution. After the payment has been collected and processed, the balance for the patient must then be updated in the EHR/PM account. Without tagging and tracking of patient transactions, it is not only difficult but also time-consuming for a practice’s employees to post every transaction to the patient's account.
Choosing the Right Healthcare Payment Processing Service Provider
The key to handling all three of these challenges is to select the right healthcare payment processing service provider that can smooth the path for healthcare providers when it comes to dealing with their healthcare accounts receivable management. By offering patients access to a 24/7 payment system that accepts a wide variety of payment methods, it is possible to cope effectively with the unique problems that the healthcare industry faces when it comes to billing. BillingTree is an expert in the field of healthcare collections and can provide a HIPAA- and PCI-compliant solution with a fully centralized reporting system that simplifies the process.