As a healthcare professional, you know payments are an essential but potentially challenging part of providing patient care. In fact, almost 40% of Americans say they have put off treatment because of cost.
Navigating pricing and technology while clearly communicating your processes with patients can be time-consuming and demanding. These best practices can help you streamline your approach so you can focus on providing exceptional care.
Engage early and often
The money talk is always difficult, but that can be especially true in healthcare. Ease into these discussions by including payments and costs in the conversation with patients as soon as possible. That might mean having a discussion with new patients that highlights the payment features in your patient portal. Make sure that patients never feel out of the loop or uncertain where payment is concerned.
Focus on cost transparency
Patient or consumer? In the healthcare marketplace, these terms are becoming increasingly synonymous. Now more than ever, patients are shopping around for their healthcare needs.
To accommodate growing demands, some providers, in partnership with thought leader Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), are incorporating financial education processes into their patient payment experience. HFMA’s Healthcare Dollars & Sense program gives consumers best practices, helping them to make better healthcare decisions. Healthcare Dollars & Sense has four components: price transparency, patient financial communications, medical debt resolution and consumer education.
Tailor your payment experience to the patient
How much more efficient and effective would the experience be for you and your patient if you provided straightforward, digestible ways to pay for care over time?
Your patient payment model does not need to be one size fits most. Patient financial data can be leveraged to segment your patient universe by their propensity to pay, enabling you to offer individual patients the payment experience with the best possible outcome upfront. Whether it is offering traditional payment options or affordable financing or charity, you will collect funds faster and more efficiently while supporting upfront payment efforts.
Commit to flexible payment plans
Alternative payment options are a necessity. Many patients may be carrying a host of debt from student debt to credit card debt. This can make it feel difficult to pay for a healthcare expense on top of what they already owe. If that’s the case, this is where flexible, budget-friendly financing options come into play.
With Ally Lending’s healthcare financing solutions, you can give your patients the option to pay over time for care and treatments they want or need, while you get paid upfront.
Prioritize patient education
Building your patients’ confidence in payment processes is key to successfully integrating it into your business. Make sure you’re prepared to answer any questions they might have about costs, prices and how and when they can pay. Have take home literature, like step-by-step explainer brochures, on hand to give to those who may need a refresher once they’re home. By giving your patients the tools they need to navigate payments with ease, you can ensure they have complete confidence in every aspect of your practice.
Don't fall behind digitally
If you are not evolving your digital payment experience, you may be falling behind the patient payment curve. Seventy-three percent of consumers prefer to pay their medical bills online. And almost half said a poor billing experience could prompt them to switch providers, which tells us there is an opportunity for many providers to up their digital game and give consumers a faster, easier way to pay.
In addition to meeting patient expectations, maintaining a modern digital experience also positively influences payment rates. Some companies have created cloud based platforms to better engage patients and to address affordability with personalized paths to payment. Bottom line? Digestible information equals more payments.
Send thoughtful payment reminders
With medical debt accounting for more than half of all collection debt, tardiness has become an epidemic. However, providers are in luck as experts believe additional payment avenues coupled with an increasingly digital payment experience will curb the trend against non-payment or tardiness.
Providers prioritizing payment collection utilize a reminder strategy that combines multiple communication channels, ranging from more cost-effective digital channels such as email or text messages, to costly traditional methods such as snail mail and phone calls.
Power up patient payments
Reliable payment processes are a key part of the success of your business. By ensuring your patients have payment options to meet their financial needs, you can focus more resources on continuing to provide exceptional care.
It’s no secret that the healthcare landscape is changing. In this increasingly consumer-driven market, providers are not only expected to deliver top-notch care, but also to take on the added responsibility of behaving like a brand.