4 reasons to consider automated patient payments

March 10, 2017

With no sign of slowing, it’s essential for practices to develop strong, automated patient payment strategies to stay financially healthy.

The proportion of practice revenue coming directly from patient payments is increasing dramatically. 

With no sign of slowing, it’s essential for practices to develop strong, automated patient payment strategies to stay financially healthy.

Although patient payments comprise the fastest-growing slice of practice revenue, they also constitute the segment over which physicians historically have had the least control. 

Going forward, practices will depend on understanding the patient revenue cycle and making it seamless and transparent for patients. When building a business case for patient payment solutions, practices should consider these four strategies:

Treat patient payments like claims

Few practices look at patient payments the same way they view insurance claims. As a result, there’s been little emphasis on standardization. Now is the time to standardize and automate patient payment processes, just as with insurance claims.

Track patient payments

Staff often need to go outside the practice management system and into another program in order to process patient payments. Those payments then must be reconciled through yet another system and posted back to the accounting system. Managing these multiple payment channels can cause a lag in reporting, which in turn delays the ability to track payments and make data-driven strategic decisions.  

 

Practices should have access to a dashboard of metrics that shows how, when and where patients pay.

Make payment easy


Making payment easy is the key to collections. That means offering patients the payment methods they find most convenient. Consolidating payment channels onto a single platform helps save money and cut down on complexity for staff members and patients. A patient who can easily pay is a patient who is more likely to pay.

Consider the patient's perspective

Consider Christina, a patient who receives an invoice from her provider, then pays half of the bill online and the remainder of the balance over the phone a few weeks later after she gets her paycheck. In her mind, Christina has made two payments to the same doctor to settle her bill. Imagine her confusion when, because of posting delays with the second payment, she receives a call requesting the payment she has already made. 

No matter how payments are taken by your practice, it’s important to recognize how patients perceive the experience and how that impacts the practice’s patient revenue.