Creating an Efficient Patient Strategy

The healthcare industry is often compared to the technology and retail industries, where the bottom line is exclusively tied to a consumer’s choice. Although it is obvious how opposite healthcare is from any other industry. A consumer buys something from Amazon or hails a ride from Lyft primarily because they want to, not because they have to. In healthcare, patients are not typically getting medical services by choice. Instead, they enter the industry when they are sick or in need of medical help.

For providers, there is a direct connection to patient collections and their bottom line as payers cover less of the amount due for services rendered. As payment responsibility and frustrations increase, that connection and the impact becomes more prevalent. Here are the four most critical trends billing services should focus on to implement an effective strategy and get patient engagement right.

  • Patients Don’t Want Paper.

Nearly 60 percent of providers surveyed reported that paper statements were the primary method of collecting from patients; yet, 41 percent of providers have not changed their patient statement in over five years. The reliance on an outdated method of billing may be a major contributor to why 73 percent of providers report that it takes longer than 30 days to collect from patients.

  • Patients Are Always Connected.

For patients, this persistent online connection frequently shapes how they make payments, including their common household bills. When asked how they normally pay their monthly bills, 63 percent said they go online to pay. Billing services can offer a standalone online payment portal to meet this patient expectation. However, the data also tells us that integrating payments with existing online portals, such as a health plan’s member portal where patients already go as part of their healthcare journey, greatly expands a billing service’s digital reach for healthcare payments.

  • Patients Want Mobile.

A mobile component is quickly becoming the norm for a convenient experience with payments playing a vital role in that experience. Mobile payments have become so ingrained in the digital world that more than half of the top 2017 apps in the Apple App Store featured the ability to make or send payments as core to its functionality. This includes understanding their payment responsibility upfront and saving payment cards on file for future payments—all from a mobile app at the provider check-in.

  • Patients Want Automated Payments.

Digital wallets allow consumers to save payment information on file for future and recurring payments, ensuring a convenient and simple payment experience for every transaction. This guarantees payment for billing services while removing the hassle and cost of traditional payment methods for patients, which is especially helpful for smaller balances. Automatic payments are growing at an impressive rate of 196 percent per year, according to data on the InstaMed Network. More and more providers are seeing the value of this digital payment option, as 76 percent of providers surveyed offer payment plans at their organizations.