The rise of consumerism in healthcare is driving providers to evaluate how they approach healthcare payments. To collect more from patients and reduce administrative costs, providers need to offer more convenient, consumer-friendly options, such as online patient payments.
In today’s world consumers want ease and convenience in many aspects of their lives, including being able to pay their bills online. As more people turn to digital solutions for their financial needs, healthcare providers must accept online payments to remain competitive in today’s market
67% of consumers prefer online payments for medical bills.–Trends in Healthcare Payments Annual Report
Electronic payments make it easier for patients to pay their bills and they help streamline processes for healthcare providers, too. By accepting online patient payments, healthcare providers can reduce paperwork, save time, and increase accuracy in billing. Additionally, electronic payments enable a secure way to pay bills, which can help build patient satisfaction and prevent fraud.
If you don’t offer your patients online payments today, here are the top five reasons why you should.
1. Collect More Patient Payments
Patient payments have become increasingly important for healthcare providers. With the rise of high-deductible health plans and expanding out-of-pocket costs, patients account for an ever-growing portion of a medical practice’s revenue.
While healthcare providers rely more on patients for revenue, they face challenges with collecting. A survey from Kaufman Hall showed that more than 40 percent of respondents have seen increases in bad debt and uncompensated care. Offering patients a easy way to pay online will enable you to collect more and reduce your bad debt. The convenience and ease of an online experience can encourage timely payments and lessen the likelihood of unpaid balances.
Utilizing automated reminders is another benefit of online patient payment systems that can help boost patient collections. Automated reminders can be sent via email or text message to patients with outstanding balances, to gently nudge them to make a payment.
2. Get Payments Faster
After a medical visit, providers frequently wait weeks or even months to receive patient payment for the services rendered. These delays can put a serious crimp on cash flow. By allowing patients to pay online immediately after receiving their billing statements, you can collect funds faster and accelerate your revenue cycle.
Paper checks and invoices are easily misplaced or delayed in the mail. On the other hand, online payments are electronically processed and recorded. This ensures accurate tracking and storage of all transactions in a secure digital environment. There’s no need to wait to receive checks in the mail and then wait until a deposited check clears. This can reduce the risk of lost or delayed payments and also facilitate maintenance and organization of financial records.
In simplifying the collection process, you can reduce days in accounts receivable and ultimately improve the financial performance of your healthcare business.
3. Reduce Administrative Time and Costs
Many healthcare providers rely on manual methods such as printing and mailing paper invoices and physically entering payment information into their billing systems. In fact, 78% of healthcare providers primarily collect from patients with paper and manual processes.1 However, doing so is time-consuming and can lead to errors and delays in processing. By accepting online payments, healthcare providers can automate collections and eliminate the need to handle paper checks or make manual data entries to record a payment.
On average, healthcare practitioners’ costs to collect from patients are three to five times greater than the costs to collect from health insurers. One reason for this is that the paper-based methods most providers rely on often result in the need to send multiple billing statements.
Tracking payments made through manual methods is often problematic. Paper checks can get lost in the mail. Also, checks, whether received by mail or on-site are not always be accurately recorded. This can lead to confusion and potential disputes between the patient and the practice. Difficulties in tracking paper-based payments can cause lags in payment confirmation and increase frustration for both patients and staff.
In contrast, online payments enable patients to pay their balance directly upon receiving their statement. This instantly streamlines the collection process, which can offer significant savings in print, mail and administrative costs. It can also reduce the time needed for staff to follow up with patients regarding outstanding balances.
4. Improve Patient Satisfaction
Accepting online payments plays a significant role in increasing patient satisfaction and building patient loyalty and trust.
Data from the Trends in Healthcare Payments Annual Report shows that 91% of consumers pay recurring bills, such as cable and utility bills, online. Your patients who already pay bills online will enjoy having a more convenient way to pay their healthcare bills. By offering online payment options, healthcare practices demonstrate that they understand and value their patients’ time and preferences.
Enhance user experience
One of the primary ways that online patient payments increase satisfaction is by delivering a streamlined and user-friendly experience. Patients can quickly make payments from the comfort of their own homes and on the go using their smartphones, tablets or computers. This eliminates the need for patients to mail checks, or spend time on the phone with billing representatives. The convenience of online payments reduces stress and frustration associated with traditional payment methods, leading to a more positive experience.
Enable multiple payment options
Online patient payment systems often have multiple payment options, such as credit cards, debit cards and electronic funds transfers. By offering a variety of payment methods, healthcare practices cater to individual preferences and financial situations, making it easier for patients to manage their healthcare expenses. This flexibility helps improve patient satisfaction and foster loyalty. Healthcare consumers are more likely to return to a practice that meets their needs and preferences.
67% of consumers want digital and electronic payments options such as receiving eStatements and paying online–Trends in Healthcare Payments Annual Report
Enabling your patients to pay online can improve customer service by automating processes. For example, you can send automated reminders to patients with outstanding balances, which reduces the need for staff to make potentially uncomfortable collection calls. This saves time and resources for your practice, and it also helps maintain positive relationships with your patients.
Increase payment security
Another important aspect of allowing patients to pay online is the increased security and privacy that these systems provide. Enabling secure digital payments via a secure patient portal helps patients know their sensitive financial information is protected. This helps to build trust, as patients can make payments without worrying about potential data breaches or identity theft.
Finally, accepting online payments can provide a competitive advantage by showing patients that you keep up with the latest technology and trends in healthcare.
5. Streamline Processes and Integrate Systems
By integrating online payments with your practice management or accounting system you can automatically post and reconcile all payments in the same place. This means that your billing staff no longer needs to manually track and confirm payments.
When all payment information is in the same system your billing team can quickly identify outstanding balances and follow up with patients accordingly. Having real-time visibility into payment status helps to ensure that no missed payments slip through the cracks. This frees up valuable time that’s better spent on other tasks.
Enable Online Patient Payments at Your Healthcare Practice Now
By offering a convenient, secure, and flexible online payment system, healthcare providers can significantly improve the financial experience for patients and staff. The net result is faster collections and a healthier bottom line.
1InstaMed Provider Healthcare Payments Survey 2022