How to drive patient loyalty while reducing administrative costs.
One of the most challenging problems facing healthcare practitioners is how to streamline the payment process so that they can spend more time dealing with their patients’ needs and less time worrying about dealing with the complexity of healthcare finances.
Fortunately, this long-standing problem has a modern-day answer: digital payments solutions. While maintaining patient privacy, these automated, customer-focused platforms work in concert with practice management software to reduce uncertainty, speed up and streamline the otherwise lengthy patient payments process, and deliver many other benefits to both practitioners and patients. They are increasingly becoming practitioners’ preferred prescription for solving business-related problems.
Payments have long been a thorn in the side of the practitioner-patient relationship. Historically, practitioners have waited months to be paid, as their back office, patients, and health insurance companies exchanged information on the cost of a procedure or office visit, how much is covered under the patient’s policy, and how much the patient is responsible for, along with deductibles and copays.
Paper bills would be sent to patients in the mail, and the patient would then have to write a check and mail it back to the practitioner, assuming they had the money and didn’t dispute the charge. As time elapsed, this process injected unwelcome financial stress into the practitioner-patient relationship, when ideally the focus should have simply been on care.
For practitioners, today’s digital payments solutions, such as Fifth Third’s Health Express, address these patient revenue cycle management issues, compressing months into minutes.
The key benefits include the following:
- Eliminating cost surprises so patients are more likely to pay in a timely fashion
- Offering patients electronic payment options that are similar to what they are used to in other retail-like experiences
- Enabling communications via text and email to reach patients, reducing cycle time
- Enhancing the patient check-in experience and eliminating office waiting time
With digital payments, patients can learn on the spot how much their insurer is covering, how much they themselves owe, and how the visit might affect their annual deductible. Through properly timed electronic communication and outreach, digital payments solutions let practitioners collect revenue up front so they’re not chasing it months later.
Digital payments solutions can help practitioners in other ways. They can cut a practitioner’s administrative costs, and the technology can be used to avoid the expense of hiring extra personnel who would otherwise handle these back-office tasks in a labor-intensive fashion. Overall, practitioners can spend less time on billing and paperwork while still complying with government regulations, knowing they have a trusted partner with their bank. Most importantly, they can spend more time just being there for their patients.
Patients appreciate the contactless convenience of digital payments solutions, especially in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is true for both telehealth, where a payment cannot be made in person, and office visits, with concerns still high over handling office equipment such as point-of-sale terminals.
The platforms’ ease of use, speed, and accuracy are also patient pleasers. The platforms are so easy to use and integrated with medical records software, that obtaining and paying for healthcare can be as seamless a task as ordering and paying for food online from a restaurant. In effect, one-stop shopping.
If a patient has a question on billing, the Health Express platform also offers a two-way chat feature to achieve a quick resolution.
When patients are responsible for a greater share of the cost for their medical treatment, they are more likely to feel a bond with a practitioner who offers a digital payment solution and less likely to shop around for another, more patient-centric practice.
To learn more about this and other treasury tools, contact your relationship manager, treasury management officer, or find a banker to learn more.