Your clinical care revolves around your patients, no doubt. But what about your billing processes? In the past, many providers have relied more on insurance companies for revenue rather than direct patient billing. But in today’s healthcare environment, a bigger focus on patient collections and their billing experience is needed. When patients find their healthcare billing frustrating and challenging, they often take longer to provide payment.
In addition, the pandemic has drastically changed how many industries approach their consumers. This is the case with healthcare too. A more patient-centered approach has become more common in many aspects of practicing, whether it’s communication and marketing or care management. Patients have become more used to user-friendly, digital experiences, and will leave a trusted company or brand (or healthcare provider) for another that can offer a better experience.
When it comes to your billing, a similar approach is needed. You need to deliver a convenient, positive experience to keep patients coming back. For accomplishing this, here are a few things to consider:
Consider implementing online portals and payment options.
Portals that are accessible online can help your patients easily make self-payments, manage their accounts and set up payment options. With today’s patients, convenience and accessibility is more important than ever. As with their appointments and care, they want account management at their fingertips 24/7 without having to call or visit your practice. They can pay bills for multiple services and procedures at once instantly and electronically – like they do with online retail, food and service websites. This is especially true now, with so many still feeling the financial and lifestyle toll of the pandemic.
Help educate your patients on billing.
Many patients may not fully understand all aspects of their bill or financial options, so if you’re able to educate and help them through this process, they’ll likely have higher satisfaction with their visits and feel more in control of their financial responsibilities. This can happen in-office, with simply explaining their balance in a way they understand, what they owe and why, whether this is owed in advance of care (with an estimate) or following care, what financial options for payment they have and what may be best for their situation. Also, be available and able to answer their questions effectively. Working with them with payments instead of just handing out bills can result in increased patient loyalty and improved collections on your end. If you do offer a patient portal online, you can have payment education resources available there too for easy access.
Utilize patient-centered metrics.
You may be tracking more system-centric stats like net collection ratio, claims denial rate and time needed to collect (which are all valuable). But if you’re not already, you may consider also keeping an eye on other patient-centered metrics such as patient satisfaction, self-serve payments, online patient portal usage and online payment rates. And looking beyond online metrics for added knowledge, you can also establish other metrics like call wait times, phone calls received, call abandonment rate and number of days for appointment scheduling.
If creating a more patient-centered billing process is something you need support with, we’d love to talk. Schedule a consultation with one of our practice management experts today.