Traditionally, it was enough for a medical practice to render services, collect copay, submit a claim, and then bill the patient. For a growing number of urgent care centers (and other medical facilities) this model of billing and collecting is no longer optimal. This is in part due to changing consumer expectations, as well as growth in the urgent care sector.
As a result, many urgent care centers experience a significant discrepancy between patient collections and outstanding revenue; medical facilities are not wholly compensated for their services. Offering an automated healthcare payment solution can help your practice bridge that gap. Here’s how:
1. Meet Patient Expectations with an Automated Healthcare Payment Solution
The consumer mindset is changing. According to research conducted by NTT DATA, “59% of U.S. consumers expect their healthcare digital customer experience to be similar to retail.” In other words, consumer expectations are being molded by their experiences with other industries: They want simple, fast, and reliable digital interaction.
In fact, this same research revealed that 75% of patients felt methods for bill payment need improvement. The modern consumer expects a degree of flexibility and convenience when it comes to how they pay for services, and that expectation now extends to the healthcare market. By providing automated payment solutions your practice can:
- Increase patient satisfaction
- Connect with patients on the move
- Increase collections including low balances
A healthcare payment solution—particularly one with roots in retail payment solutions—is the perfect way to meet consumers on their terms. With Account on File technology, a medical practice can easily bill one-time patients or even schedule simple, recurring payments via an automated patient payment plan, which offers flexibility for patients and more revenue for your practice.
2. Automate Workflow to Maximize Patient Collections
An automated healthcare payment solution is convenient for consumers and staff alike. Staff spend only slightly more up-front time with clients in order to enroll them in the system and thereby streamline the medical billing and collections process. Staff members simply discuss the system with the patient and capture their payment information and signature.
Based on the pre-authorized agreement, the patient payment workflow is automated. With payment information safely stored in advance, billing is simple and collections are more certain. Automating the medical billing and collections process saves time, increases practice revenue, and can significantly reduce paper statement costs—not to mention the considerable number of hours staff often spend preparing and mailing those statements. By automating these administrative tasks, a facility greatly enhances its practice efficiency. The best mobile payment systems should offer your practice the ability to:
- Establish and customize emails for payment reminders
- Offer MMS and SMS text messages and the ability to schedule reminders
- Import patient balance through flexible, integrated solution options
- Connect through outbound email and text campaigns
- Help patients pay in full or establish a payment plan
- Funds are deposited in your bank account
3. Capture Patient Payment Information from One-Time Patients
Automation is particularly helpful when capturing the information of one-time clients. Patients are increasingly relying on urgent cares for their general healthcare needs; not just emergencies. In fact, the urgent care market experienced 8% overall growth in 2018 and has a compound annual growth rate of 5.3%.
Especially where these one-and-done patients are concerned, it can be difficult to capture payment information. Without a long-term relationship, paying the medical practice isn’t always top-of-mind for them; and with no other in-person interactions, following up with the patient can be a challenge for the practice.
An automated healthcare payment solution makes it easy to communicate with and bill clients. Some technology will even enable you to automatically notify patients about bills through text or email, and ensure funds are available. Not only does this kind of technology increase patient collections, but it also is a considerate touch on the part of the practice—a touch that may turn one-time patients into long-term patients.
An Automated Healthcare Payment Solution that Works
A streamlined solution like ClearGage’s AutoPay allows organizations to safely store and use a patient’s payment account to pay for balances owed after insurance adjudication. Practices benefit as much as patients, especially because it helps reduce staff time with billing, reduce postage costs because it helps practices go paperless, and offers access to a full suite of reports and dashboards to monitor patient adoption and revenue metrics with ease.
In one success story, an urgent care in Tampa Bay used AutoPay to increase their patient collections from a low of $46,000 in one month to an average of $200,000 per month. An automated healthcare payment solution streamlines the medical billing and collections process, ensuring that you’re able to collect compensation in a timely manner and measure your success as you collect.