Providers of healthcare in the United States today are facing some serious financial challenges as they struggle to cope with the problems that increasing consumerization is throwing at the industry. These days, patients must pay for more of their treatments costs than in the past, and that creates stress and confusion, not only for the patients but the providers, as well. With healthcare being transformed into a commodity, the costs for which must be met by consumers in the same way as anything else, healthcare organizations must now act to maintain their cash flow and guarantee their organization’s financial well-being. One way of doing this is by giving their patient pay services an overhaul for the 21st century.
Taking a Business-Like Approach to The Payments Process
Healthcare providers would benefit if they adopted an increasingly business-like approach to collecting outstanding payments to meet the needs of this evolving industry. As patients face more financial responsibility for their treatments, they will begin to behave more like traditional consumers. This means that organizations must respond by offering patients a more positive experience. While patient pay services are frequently overlooked, they can play a key role in increasing patient satisfaction while reducing bad debt.
Traditionally, most patients have been accustomed to having a payment arrangement where their treatment costs were paid via a medical insurance plan, with very little personal cost involved. Unfortunately, times have changed, and over the last few years, there has been a dramatic increase in insurance premiums. That, coupled with a lower level of coverage, has meant millions of patients are now responsible for large portions of their medical bills.
Introducing Flexible Patient Pay Services
Many patients remain unaware of the cost of medical treatments until they finally receive a demand for payment, at which time they realize they are unable to meet the costs. This not only leaves patients frustrated and worried but also leads to problems for the healthcare provider, who is left out of pocket, often to the tune of thousands of dollars. However, evidence has shown that offering patients greater flexibility when it comes to choosing a payment method makes the task of paying for treatments more manageable. Flexible patient pay services ensure patients are more able to make their payments on time, and will also be more likely to return to an organization that accommodates their financial situation and offers suitable payment options to meet their needs.
Negative Impact on Patient Satisfaction
Healthcare providers who lack convenient payment methods suffer from poor patient satisfaction. This makes it even more challenging for the provider to receive payment. The old-fashioned payment processes and paper statements sent through the mail are likely to irritate patients, especially because so many other transactions can now be processed through the Internet. Providers today should offer their patients the chance to access their statements and make payments via all the major channels, such as telephone, mobile phones, and online. This allows every patient, from the oldest to the youngest, to find a convenient and appropriate method of payment.
Healthcare as a Business Model
While patients need to accept that healthcare organizations are a business like any other and must be paid for their services, it is also important for providers to remember the large sums that patients must now pay are a relatively new phenomenon and take some getting used to. The best way to make a smooth transition to this new healthcare model is to offer greater convenience and flexibility in their patient pay services by offering numerous payment methods that can be accessed in many ways without compromising on security.