In today’s increasingly digital world, being able to accept patient payments online is a must for urgent care centers, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. That’s not new information. What you might not know is that you should also be giving your patients the best possible online experience during your billing process, especially during the challenging time of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Nearly three-quarters of Generation Z and 76% of Millennials use online platforms for healthcare transactions. About 65% of Generation X and nearly half of Baby Boomers also take care of their healthcare transactions online — so it’s not just the younger generations. Moreover, with the COVID-19 situation, patients are quickly adopting digital engagement tools like telehealth, which is becoming the “new normal.” By investing in a good online billing experience you can improve the payment process for all of your patients.
Optimizing your online billing process doesn’t have to be difficult. Patients are coming to expect that they’ll be able to pay their medical bills online, because it’s faster and often safer than making paper payments. Because patients are taking on more and more of their medical expenses out-of-pocket, giving them an easy way to pay is a good way to shorten your revenue cycles, too. Let’s look at some tips you can implement to improve the digital payment collections process and in turn improve the patient experience.
3 Ways to Improve the Online Payment Experience
1. Offer a User-Friendly Portal
For many people, the most frustrating part of the payment process is that they can’t make their payments online. Second to this, however, is having an online payment interface that is difficult to use, unintuitive or slow. Make sure your payment portal is updated with a modern design and an easy-to-use interface. The easier it is for patients to submit a payment, the more quickly they will take action to do so.
2. Make Sure Patients Understand Their Bills
One of the biggest reasons that patients don’t pay their healthcare bills on time is because they don’t understand what it is they’re paying. They might be caught off-guard by the price or confused about how their insurance coverage will be applied. Because they don’t understand, they set the bill aside, meaning to come back to it later, but likely forget about it. You can fix this problem with a well-designed online payment platform.
Try to provide as much information as you can, but make sure it’s still simple, clear and easy to understand. If possible, outline what patients are paying for by service. Include any pertinent insurance information, and then what their out-of-pocket final cost is. If your facility can, offer a flexible payment plan so that your patients can feel less overwhelmed when facing a large bill and you can begin to collect payments sooner.
3. Use Psychographic Segmentation
Psychographic segmentation is a consumer science that categories healthcare consumers into one of five patient types based on their personality, lifestyle, attitudes and values. Using these insights, you can craft customized messaging that resonate with individual patients and their unique approach to health and wellness, as well as their propensity to pay their medical bills. In turn, this personalized messaging can help increase your online patient payments because patients are motivated to take action by the messages they receive.
Fortunately, you don’t have to personalize every message. The PatientBond platform is powered by a proprietary psychographic segmentation model and can help you craft customized communications as well as send emails, texts or automated, interactive phone calls based on your patients’ personal preferences. You can even automate payment reminders, especially if you offer your patients a payment plan.
Your team won’t need to worry about remembering to follow up with patients to collect the next payment. It’s automatically ready to go into the system, and patients will receive easy instructions to visit your website and make their next payment. And, importantly during these challenging times brought about by COVID-19, your practice offers a patient-preferred way to collect payments.
Facilities that have implemented the PatientBond platform and psychographic segmentation have seen a 4x increase in patient payments within 10 days of making the platform live. They also see a 61% increase in patients making payments. By improving your online payment experience you can increase your revenue. If you’d like to learn more, read our patient payment case study to see how our platform maximizes collections.