How Technology Can Improve Your Practice’s Financial Health
Medical practices are finding it increasingly difficult to stay afloat. One reason is that increasing numbers of patients aren’t paying their share of the bill. What can an independent practitioner do? Turning to technology can be a lifesaver – and doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Kevin Clinton, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager at Kareo, explains how.
Advances in technology have accelerated change and improved functionality across all sectors. The healthcare industry is no different. What used to require dozens of laborious manual tasks can now be accomplished in minimal time with even less effort.
Just as rapid has been the patient-centric view. The desire to meet a patient when and where they are evolved into an overarching focus on prioritizing patient needs and providing value along with instant access and clear communications between patient and provider. Connected health went from an eagerly awaited concept to actual reality.
Yet for all the benefits of technological advances and emphasis on customer-centricity, there is one area that remains frustratingly complex: payment collections. This is due in large part to the percentage of privately insured patients with high-deductible plans, a trend that continues to increase. Reduced payment from commercial payers places more burden on patients to pay, resulting in decreased net collections for most medical practices.
If your practice has experienced this, you aren’t alone. Let’s take a look at how leveraging technology and putting your patients first can help your practice’s financial health.
Why has patient billing been so difficult?
Patient collections have historically been challenging due to communication gaps – including lack of transparency and complex billing details. The issue is exacerbated as patients are saddled with more financial responsibility. If they are confused by billing details, they often don’t pay. In fact, over 20% of people surveyed reported medical debt in 2015. The number grew to an alarming 22.7% in 2018, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
This has left many healthcare practices with discouragingly low payment collections along with added work to resolve past-due collections. While the onus is on the patient to pay, healthcare practices need to evaluate their collection process – from beginning to end – to make the process more efficient and effective.
An integrated patient collection solution
Marrying technological advances in payments with a customer-centric mindset benefits both providers and their patients. An integrated EHR and billing platform is the answer, for ease-of-use and cost efficiencies. Keep these considerations in mind when searching for a system.
For providers, a patient collection platform should offer:
Intuitive interface: Patient payment collections is a complex process, so you want a solution that makes things simple for every member of your team. Not all platforms are designed equally. Do your staff a favor and find one designed with the end user in mind.
Accessibility: Data is only helpful when it is easy to find and understand. Solutions that focus on navigation can help ensure your practice has all the answers it needs at its fingertips (literally).
Customizable features: Choose a solution with multiple options for billing delivery and payment collections. Some platforms let practices reach customers via email, SMS or mail, and allow patients to pay by credit card or even Google Pay or Apple Pay. It’s even more convenient if your solution saves a patient’s preference for future billing.
For patients, a payment platform should offer:
Easy-to-understand patient statements
Digital reminders for outstanding balances
Ability to pay via phone or tablet versus check
It's time to leverage today’s connected health advances to address your billing challenges. An integrated patient collection platform can transform your patient collections by streamlining tasks in an intuitive way and reaching your customers where they are, taking into account how they want to be contacted. Save time and increase efficiency while increasing payment collection in a timely fashion. In the end, it can transform the patient burden of payment into yet another connected experience that further cements a positive and trusting provider and patient relationship.
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Kareo provides leading-edge clinical and billing software designed for direct medical practices. Contact us for a free consultation showing how an integrated platform can transform YOUR practice today.