According to AHIP, nearly 17.4 million were enrolled in high deductible health plans (HDHP) as of January 2014. That’s an increase of nearly 12 percent since 2013. Due to this growth in HDHP enrollment, patients are responsible for more of their healthcare costs and often owe a payment to their providers.
Although patients owe more to their providers, many providers still rely on paper-based, manual payment collection and posting processes. As a result, providers are spending more money and more time to collect from patients than in other industries, yet are still unable to connect with patients for their payments and accumulate a large amount of patient bad debt. Providers can overcome these challenges with integrated payment technology to offer convenient payment options and streamline workflow to better connect with patients for healthcare payments.
The Challenges of Inefficient Processes
Missing Out on Money
At many provider organizations, staff members are not able to accept payments via credit or debit card during the patient visit – and frequently, not at all. However, since most patients prefer to pay with a card and often do not carry checks or cash, many patients are unable to pay their responsibility during their visit to the provider. On average, this can result in payments delayed up to a month after a visit, if the provider receives the payment at all.
Manual, Paper-Based Processes
When providers have to post and reconcile payments manually with their PMS, it adds another disruption to the payment process. These processes require staff to manually reconcile check and cash payments during their work day, which could take a few hours each week. And if a patient has a question about a past payment, staff has to search through spreadsheets to find a payment. These manual tasks can be error-prone and reduce the time spent helping or interacting with patients.
Connect to Patients with Integrated Patient Payments
Patient Payments Made Easy
Integrated patient payment tools within a provider’s PMS enables providers to collect more payments and manage them efficiently. Plus, staff can accept multiple payment types from patients at the point of service – including credit/debit cards, HSA accounts, cash or check. Additionally, payments post directly into the PMS to streamline staff’s workflow. This enables providers to receive payments weeks sooner and prevent accruing patient bad debt. Ultimately, providers connect with patients for payments how and when it is convenient for the patient.
Automated Posting and Convenient Reporting
By leveraging a secure, private cloud, all payments post in real-time, so staff can work directly with patients instead of spending time with paper reports and Excel spreadsheets to manually record payments. And if there is a question about a payment on a certain day, staff can just click on the month and day and see all the information needed right away. This streamlined process enables staff to be more efficient and spend more time interacting with patients.
The Result: Satisfied Patients and a Thriving Business
By integrating patient payment tools within a provider’s PMS, staff can connect with patients at the point of service to collect payments and avoid missing the opportunity to collect from the patient. With automated payment posting and reconciliation, providers can go paperless and spend virtually no time processing payments.
Bill Marvin is the President, CEO and Co-Founder of InstaMed, the leading Healthcare Payments Network. InstaMed is the only single, integrated network connecting providers, payers and patients for the entire healthcare payments process, and has processed over $80 billion in healthcare payments to date.