It’s only natural that healthcare providers are usually too caught up in the everyday provision of medical services to focus on the wider issues involving their practices. However, with medical debt on the rise, it’s time for a greater focus to be placed on healthcare payment solutions and how they can be streamlined to improve the rate of collection. By looking toward wider industries for inspiration and best practice, it’s possible for healthcare providers to improve their systems exponentially.
Paper Billing – The Outdated Approach
Those who come into the financial side of the healthcare industry from other sectors are often shocked to discover paper billing is still used across hospitals and practices. This inefficient system is confusing for patients since they struggle to stay on top of the amounts they owe, the amounts they have already paid, and, indeed, the treatments and services they are being invoiced for. With billing codes and a host of information being supplied from several providers, together with their insurer, it’s no wonder patients often fail to pay bills on time.
In the past, this confusion wasn’t a problem since healthcare patient payment solutions of the era were designed to primarily collect payments from the government and insurers. However, with recent changes, and increasing numbers of patients having to agree to higher deductibles, healthcare organizations are becoming more dependent on being able to collect those outstanding bills. Add to that the fact today’s patients are unwilling to continue putting up with bills that confuse them and high charges that seem not to correlate to the amounts they believe they owe.
Learning Lessons From Industry
Younger patients, especially those who have high medical bills to pay, are often shocked at the system’s inefficiency. It raises issues about the lack of self-service facilities, the lack of tailored experiences, and the inability to obtain consolidated views. It’s clear patients are getting their ideas about bill payments from their experiences with other industries. Therefore, healthcare practices need to learn from other sectors – namely, that billing systems must reflect a customer’s needs and demands, rather than that of the company or institution that’s providing services. Patients expect to have a similar experience to what they enjoy outside the healthcare space and that involves having a strong digital presence and the ability to self-serve.
Learning From Financial Services
When looking for a model practice payment system, the finance sector is the best place to begin. After all, even the IRS enables taxpayers to use the Internet to make incremental payments on tax bills. Some of the other processes that billers across other sectors now have in place as standard include statements that include every charge, automated payment, and mobile payment. Perhaps the most important factor for most patients is being able to make regular payments over time because charges can be so high. This is something retailers and credit card operators have known for a long time.
However, healthcare patient payment solutions need to take several issues into account. Security remains a high concern for any online company that requires identifying information and credit card details. However, in the healthcare industry, security has an even higher priority because of federal laws regarding patient privacy. Another unique issue is that care is often supplied by several billing entities. Therefore, if a system that is seamless is going to be provided for patients, there needs to be a way to include several providers within the process. Patient age is another issue. While younger people are happy to use their financial and personal information in an online environment and have no difficulty using the Internet, many consumers in the healthcare sector are older and less comfortable with making an online financial transaction.
The Importance Of Convenience
Surveys have shown that even older patients are looking for greater convenience in their payments. Ninety-three percent of patients, including patients over 55, would rather pay for their healthcare online. The lesson that can be learned, in general, is people prefer companies that make access more convenient. In just the same way Amazon replaces stores with a home-delivery facility, and banks have now replaced their tellers with an online banking service, healthcare providers now need to simplify the patient experience to make a payment not only more convenient but also less painful.
iPayX’s healthcare patient payment solutions are the answer for practices of all sizes. By putting in place the opportunities for self-service through an online portal or IVR system, practices can improve patient relationships and increase the amount of revenue collected.