The year 2020 challenged the healthcare industry in countless unprecedented ways. While healthcare staff and scientists are hard at work to curb the spread of COVID-19, many medical systems are experiencing revenue cycle management and patient collections issues like never before.
If your practice is struggling with revenue cycle management concerns, you are not alone. Collecting patient financial obligations is not an unfamiliar struggle for many providers. As patient out-of-pocket costs have continued to increase over the past few years, medical systems are facing larger A/R balances and more bad debt write-offs.
Coupling these existing struggles with the abundance of new issues attributed to the coronavirus pandemic yields worry-some predictions for the financial health of many medical systems in the near future.
The following five strategies are patient-approved, cost-effective, and simple to implement; resulting in a winning strategy to combat worsening revenue cycle conditions.
1. Payment Plans
Payment plans are prevalent and popular in most industries- so why are they so uncommon in healthcare?
Simply breaking up large bills in to smaller balances to be paid over a set time period helps daunting financial obligations seem manageable. In fact, 92.7% of surveyed patients say they want medical practices to offer payment plan options; yet only 44% currently do.
If nothing else, payment plans help practices collect partial balances — a definite revenue cycle win compared to patient payment default.
2. Thoughtful Patient Statement Design
Patient statements are the main method of communication between practice and patient regarding their financial obligations. In order to clarify important information and help patients understand their charges, it’s important to consider the design layout of your statement.
Simple design tricks help do just that. Color printing helps important information stand out, while images and strategic placement help catch the reader’s attention. Doing so can significantly help increase patient collections.
For a complete guide on how to properly design a successful patient statement, download our free eBook here.
3. Price Transparency
Price transparency, or providing estimates for treatment and services, helps patients prepare financially for their care. Often times, not receiving accurate estimates prior to their medical visit results in surprising healthcare bills — a leading cause of prolonged or neglected payment.
The majority of patients — 56% — actively seek out practices that do provide accurate care estimates. 74% of surveyed patients say that up-front estimates positively impact their view of a medical practice, with 57% planning to return in the future for this reason alone.
Providing accurate price estimates removes various headaches associated with paying for healthcare treatment, helping to encourage patient payments.
4. Onmichannel Billing Communications
Because digital statement and payment choices are increasing in popularity, it’s important to consider providing a wide range of options so that patients can choose the communication and payment options that work best for them.
Estatements vs Paper
eStatements are a convenient way to access billing information and usually leads directly to a payment portal, helping to simplify the collection process. However, some patients still prefer to receive paper statements. Providing patients with the option to opt-in to eStatements ensures that all preferences are considered.
Digital Payment Options
Most digital payment options allow patients to submit payment in minutes, helping to reduce the hassle and confusion associated with this dull task. Methods like QR code scans and mobile payments make it possible for patients to submit payment at any time or place that is most convenient for them, helping to speed up the collection process.
Providing these options allows patients to customize their billing and collection process, giving them peace of mind and control.
Uncertainty regarding a practices’ security measures can inhibit patients from taking advantage of digital healthcare tools like eStatments or online payments — and rightfully so.
In recent years, healthcare has overtaken every other industry to lead in severity and frequency of cybersecurity incidents. 2020’s Covid-19 related challenges have only worsened the problem. In fact, ransomware scams have increased by 400% since March 2020.
As technology-enabled options continue to increase in popularity, medical practices must prioritize security. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to work with a vendor who is HITRUST Certified. Vendors holding this prestigious certification have executed numerous safeguards and precautions to ensure their technology protects sensitive patient health information to the highest standard on the market.
As the healthcare industry continues to face unprecedented challenges in the near future, your practice’s revenue cycle does not have to take the hit. With technology helping healthcare adapt to new challenges, it’s important to take advantage of these capabilities and appeal to patient wants and needs.
MailMyStatements is a technology-driven patient statement and payment vendor who offers managed billing needs from payment plan capabilities to statement design. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our various solutions to help increase patient collections.
Heather Turnbaugh is the Content and Social Media Marketing Manager at MailMyStatements. She enjoys snowboarding, working out, and napping.
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