Did you know that some doctor’s offices and clinics still send paper bills to customers? In fact, it’s more than “some.” A recent survey by Navicure shows that 77 percent of doctor’s offices still use this dated method settling accounts with patients.
There’s a general disconnect between the healthcare industry’s embrace of technology on the administrative side vs. the healthcare end, despite evidence that patients would like to see more options.
In fact, Navicure also found that only 28 percent of providers keep a patient’s credit card on file to make paying more accessible, while the number of patients who want to use such methods is much higher.
Paperless patient payment reminders are cheaper, less hassle and preferred by the majority. Some doctor’s offices still have staff devoted to making collection calls and that would be fine if it were 1960, but it’s almost 2019. There are plenty of technological tools available to streamline the process of collecting payments so you can build your bottom line and make patients happier.
Let’s unpack some of the reasons why your medical practice should switch from paper to automated collections.
1. Reduce Costs
It costs a lot less to automate communication with your clients. Do you really want to devote salary and benefits to a person collecting payments when you could automate the process at a fraction of the cost? A staff member can interact with patients about their bills if a human interaction is warranted, but it shouldn’t be the person’s sole job.
For example, a five-location urgent care center that used PatientBond’s automated platform for collections rather than manual phone calls saw an annual cost savings of $55,000. That’s a reduction of two to three hours per day in staff follow-up time and $750 in daily savings on paper statements.
2. Maintain Patient Privacy
While privacy isn’t guaranteed with a text or an email, it’s far less likely those payment reminders will be seen by someone else than a letter, which could be delivered to the wrong person.
In fact, a study by The American Journal of Managed Care found that 65 percent of data breaches were through paper and film-based records. Patients continually cite privacy as a top concern and by updating your systems with modern technology, you’ll show your patients you value it too. You’ll also build loyalty and trust, which you can further boost through PatientBond’s tools that amplify engagement.
3. Save Physical Space
The era of cloud technology allows for secure off-site storage, which provides a great opportunity to add extra space to your practice. Instead of unnecessary piles of paperwork and rooms devoted to boxes of paper documents, that space could better be used for patient purposes.
4. Improve Care
When your whole staff is devoted to caring for your patients, then the focus becomes on care and not on collecting.
5. Increase Transparency
One of the limitations of paper bills is that relevant information isn't always included or it comes separately in different envelopes on different days. This confusion creates resentment among patients, who are making more dollar-related decisions about healthcare. And that means you may not get paid promptly.
An online billing and payment service is a better option because it lets the patient see all the associated charges in one place, and it facilitates a quicker payment.
6. Personalize Communications to Motivate Compliance
One size doesn’t always fit all. Different patients face different circumstances, and a single-sheet bill or collection notice in the mail might not work for everyone. But you don’t have the time and expertise to go through the psyche of every patient to figure out the best way to collect.
However, technology can. PatientBond uses psychographic segmentation in automated payment reminder messaging. This model motivates compliance and promotes the collection of outstanding patient payments with tangible results in receivables.
In a case study, one urgent care center was looking for more efficiency in payment collection and in the first week of using PatientBond’s automated payment reminders application, they saw a 4X increase in collections.
PatientBond has proven to motivate patients to pay their bills and that helps smooth the creases in the revenue cycles that all medical establishments have to contend with. Bottom line, when you can motivate a patient to pay their bills, you put the onus and responsibility on them and free up resources to do what you do best: treat patients.