Collecting patient payments is of utmost importance for urgent care centers, hospitals and all healthcare facilities, but unfortunately, it’s become more difficult recently. Many patients are now bearing more of their healthcare costs due to higher deductibles, so the payment process is changing. Let’s take a look at some of the recent healthcare technology trends that can make it easier for your organization to collect patient payments in 2020.
As healthcare costs continue to rise, consumers will look for care that is as affordable as it is accessible. Telehealth hits both marks. Not only can patients schedule an appointment when it is most convenient for them but, in some cases, a virtual visit can also be less expensive than a traditional one.
By offering telehealth services, your facility creates opportunities for patients to embrace more cost-effective forms of care. The more affordable a treatment, the more likely the patient will be able to pay quickly — and in full. Likewise, telehealth can increase utilization of healthcare services. Patients who know they can afford a virtual visit are more likely to see their healthcare provider at the first sign of an issue, rather than put off the appointment due to fear of costs.
2. Automated payment reminders
Your staff likely has plenty of other things to do than follow up with patients who haven’t paid their bills yet. But the reality is that those bills must be paid and patients often need reminders. Luckily, healthcare technology platforms now have the ability to create automated payment reminders.
These reminders can be email or text, depending on what patients prefer. Some patients would rather receive information about payments strictly over email, while others would rather handle everything through text messages. Automated payment reminders ensure that messages are going through the patient’s preferred channel without taking up your staff’s precious time.
3. Mobile payment options
Technology has changed and people are relying more heavily on their smartphones to handle all their daily tasks. If you can provide an option for patients to pay their bills via their mobile phones, you can stand out from other urgent care and healthcare facilities in your area. You’ll also increase the likelihood that patients will make their payments because you’re providing an extremely convenient option. Many patients can receive payment notifications via text or email on their phone, so it’s easy for them to click a button and make a payment without needing to switch devices.
4. Eliminate paper statements
Paper statements are expensive to print, mail and send follow-up reminders. By eliminating paper statements and implementing electronic options, you can reduce your costs. You can also make it easier for patients to complete their payments. Very few patients still want to receive paper statements and make payments by mail. Instead, they’d prefer to view their bills online and either make a payment through an online portal or call with their payment information.
5. Personalized messaging
Different people have different wants and needs. Throughout this blog, we’ve discussed how most people want to make payments online. While this is true, there might still be a few of your patients who would rather call with the information or potentially even send a paper check. Understanding and catering to your patients’ individual preferences is one of the best ways to increase the success of patient payments.
One way to do this is to leverage psychographic segmentation. With a quick survey, you can group patients into one of five groups based on their lifestyle, personality, preferences and motivations. These insights help you understand how to most effectively motivate patients to take a particular action, such as paying a bill.
For example, PatientBond’s proprietary psychographic segmentation model can also help you understand which patients prefer email reminders and which would rather have text alerts. Then, using our platform, you can craft personalized messaging that appeals to each segment’s unique wants and needs and is automatically sent through their preferred communication channel — at the frequency they’ll respond to best.
According to data from the PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, a national healthcare consumer study, email is a popular way to get bill reminders. But Willful Endurers, who find that there are more important things to focus on than their health, and Self Achievers, who prioritize their health more than any other segment, are statistically more likely than the other segments to prefer a live phone call when getting bill reminders from their primary care physician.
Not every person is the same, even within each segment, so it’s important to learn what patients respond to when sending notifications based on their psychographic segment. Once you tailor your approach to reflect what each patient prefers, you’ll have a much better chance of improving collections.
No matter what technology you use, there are many ways for urgent care centers, hospitals and private practices to increase patient payment collections this year. By focusing on these five trends specifically, your organization can shorten its revenue cycle and reduce costs related to billing and collections.
For more on patient payments and psychographic segmentation, download our case study.