87% of consumers received a paper medical bill from their providers in 2015, while only 24% of consumers actually want to use checks to make healthcare payments.
There are a lot of ways to reduce the amount of paper in the healthcare payments process. For example, online patient portals, eStatements and check-in tablets/stations are all paperless ways to improve efficiency for your staff and deliver a convenient, consumer-friendly experience to your patients.
Many providers have taken strides to implement solutions like these and reduce the amount of paper in healthcare payments. However, there is an important difference between less paper and paperless. If you’re still using paper in any aspect of the payments process, you’re a part of the U.S. healthcare system’s costly paper problem.
It’s possible to eliminate paper from healthcare payments completely, to the benefit of providers and patients alike. Here are some ways you may be already reducing paper, and approaches to further reduce the use of paper in your office to reach that paperless goal.
How you’re using less paper: Your office enables online payments.
How you can go paperless: Maximize your online payment potential. Train your staff to record patient email addresses at every interaction point so you can communicate with patients electronically. By using email as your primary communication channel, you can email patients their statements when they owe a balance and never print out a paper statement in the first place. Plus, by leveraging automation tools, you can integrate email communications with your process so patients automatically receive eStatements as soon as claims are adjudicated and patient responsibility is identified. Be sure to include a link to your online payment portal with every email communication so patients are only one click away from making a payment.
Less paper: You let patients set up payment plans, eliminating the need to send multiple statements.
Paperless: Go beyond recurring payments by giving patients an option to enroll in automatic payments. This way, whenever the patient has a new balance, the patient can receive an email notification, and a payment will be automatically scheduled without involving any paper.
Less paper: You already communicate with your patients via email.
Paperless: Do you use email for all payment-related communications? Consider using an end-to-end email communication approach using email to communicate updated balances, upcoming scheduled payments and payment receipts.
Less paper: You use a tablet or check-in kiosk for easy, paperless patient check-in.
Paperless: Are you collecting payment information and preferences at the same time? What about email preferences? Can patients select payment plan options at check-in? Take this opportunity to gather as much information as possible to eliminate the need for paper and unnecessary communication later on. To maximize the efficiency, make sure that once this information is captured, it is integrated into your practice management system to allow for seamless automation of patient communication, payment collection, payment posting and reconciliation.
Less paper: You already have a patient portal.
Paperless: Give your patients access to self-service options like the ability to set up a digital wallet, view past payment details and see previous statements. Let families have the option to set payment preferences across all family members – the same way they manage their family cell phone plan. Not only does this help to eliminate paper, it also delivers an improved patient experience.
Learn more about the healthcare payments industry’s paper problem. Download your copy of The Sixth Annual Trends in Healthcare Payments Report.