Our banking experts highlight the three best practices for optimizing patient payment services.
Over the past seven years, High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) have increased ten-fold, and with out-of-pocket payments expected to grow to $420 billion by 2015, healthcare providers are finding themselves scrambling to keep up with the changing landscape.1
In light of the changing industry, we asked healthcare banking experts to highlight some of the key best practices to patient payment optimization. Three stood out from the rest.
1. Any Patient, Any Place, Any Payment
Make it easier for consumers to pay their bill. Survey your current offerings and 'plug any gaps' in the payment types available to their patients, including point of service, phone, web, credit card, check, etc. (see chart below). You can also tailor current policies to allow all points of service to engage patients in collections—and to accept all payment methods.
The potential benefits to your bottom line include lowering operating costs from electronic transactions, greater efficiency and productivity through automation, improved cash flow, greater collections and lower write-offs.
2. Visibility into Key Metrics
Today, healthcare provider management does not necessarily have access to reliable, near-real-time data on a granular level. Managers need visibility into higher-level metrics such as:
What percent of your patients pay some or their entire amount due at point of service, web, phone, before/during/after meetings, etc.?
What percent of what you bill for do you actually collect?
What are your average receipts by service type, location, payment type?
Answers to these sorts of questions—or visibility into this data via reports and dashboards—can drive real performance improvements over time, in part because it allows for benchmarking.
3. Integration into Systems and Workflow
Providers must integrate payment processing into their health care systems, including clinical information systems, hospital information systems, patient accounting modules, enterprise resource planning systems and general ledgers. This means integrating payment processing into healthcare workflows so that your patients can pay at the point-of-service, by web, by mail, by phone and via payment plans.
The key benefits of integrated payment processing include:
Operational efficiencies like automated payment posting
Improved financial performance via higher and quicker collections
Improved compliance resulting from the substitution of electronic transactions for paper
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1 AHIP Center for Policy and Research, 2005-2011 HSA/HDHP Census Reports; June 2011 report, p. 2