It can be difficult for private practices to keep up with rapidly-changing technology. Difficult, yes, but necessary for survival. There have been so many changes in the past few years that the practitioner’s head might be spinning. Each advance in technology offers ways to maximize efficiency and boost practice revenue, but understanding and incorporating them can require a certain amount of diligence and persistence.
With attention so diluted, patient payments might not get a lot of attention. Individual patient accounts can seem like a small amount of money in terms of overall practice revenue, and collection efforts can require crucial practice resources. Times are changing, however, and many patients have larger bills, due to changes in insurance coverage and deductible/co-payment requirements. Out-of-pocket costs that might have been under $100 at one time, can now soar into the thousand dollar range. Multiply that by a few hundred patients and you are talking about a significant amount of revenue that could be lost to the practice.
Automated healthcare payments offer a solution to both the independent practice and the patient. Instead of struggling to efficiently collect payments from individual patients, automated payment systems let practices set up regular payment plans with patients that practically run themselves. This article looks at a future with healthcare payment technology that makes it easier to manage practice revenue.
Why Independent Practices Should Use Automated Payments
Many private practices struggle to collect payments from their patients. They use older systems which rely on paper invoices and manual follow-up efforts. This is a waste of resources, and also quite inefficient, especially in light of the general consumer acceptance of automated payment systems. Consumers today are setting up automatic payments for everything from ongoing bills to major purchases, but medicine has not yet adapted to that new comfort level. Many practices still send monthly payment reminders, and then find themselves trying to collect on a surprising number of outstanding invoices.
In recent years, many patients have shifted to high-deductible healthcare plans, which means they are often more responsible for out-of-pocket payments. A private practice might collect a small amount of money at the time of service, but larger bills are put into their existing billing system. The patient might move, and not receive a mailed bill, or might forget to make a payment. Even those practices with online payment systems can sometimes be too complicated to maneuver for certain patients.
Automated payment systems, on the other hand, offer private practices the ability to collect these larger balances more easily, without increasing the administrative burden for office staff. Patients are familiar with the automated payment routine because they have already incorporated it for other services into their daily routine. Patients avoid missing payments, and the practice collects the revenue it has already earned.
Benefits of Automated Healthcare Payments for Private Practices
Payment simplicity for patients and administrative staff at private practices is essential for achieving increased productivity in a shifting marketplace. With rising inflation and increased costs for many items, not every patient can pay a $1500 bill at one time. The option to pay over a set period of time is appealing to the patient, but it needs to be offered in a way that does not add an unnecessary burden to the practice. Payment plans that must be routinely monitored can serve as a drain on practice resources. Automated payment systems make the experience better for patients, and more efficient for practice staff.
Automated healthcare payments make paying larger sums more convenient and palatable for the average patient. Instead of throwing their hands up in frustration, patients can go about their business knowing that their medical bills are being paid in a reliable fashion. Benefits to the private practice of offering automated healthcare payments include:
Less time and less involvement with office staff means lower costs for the private practice. There are also additional cost savings to be seen in reduced printing, paper and mailing costs. It is also an eco-friendlier approach to payment management.
More Reliable Cash Flow
Once a private practice knows that it has patients set up on automated healthcare payments, it can better predict the amount of money that will be flowing into coffers on a regular basis. This makes it easier to predict cash flow, and allows for better planning of expenses.
Improved Patient Experience
Patients don’t like having to deal with billing issues either. The more problems they have making a payment, the less favorable their view of the practice becomes. Setting up an automated payment removes the hassle of having to write a check or log-in to an online payment system every month. Patients can spend less time worrying about payment, and more time focusing on their health, which may also lead to improved compliance and better outcomes.
Healthcare Payment Trends in 2022
While improving healthcare payment technology will be the biggest trend for 2022 and beyond, other trends include:
Better Integration with Telemedicine Services
During the pandemic, patients became more accustomed to working with their medical care providers online, either through telemedicine or patient portal services. The next logical step is to capitalize on this online familiarity with payment plan options, so patients can now manage appointments, handle payments, and communicate more efficiently with their healthcare providers.
Consumer Approach to Healthcare
As patients become accustomed to paying increased out-of-pocket costs for their own healthcare, they are also becoming more sophisticated consumers who look for healthcare experiences that are personal and convenient.
Changing Generational Needs
While older patient populations might still be comfortable with paper payment systems, younger generations don’t have the patience or the familiarity with this approach. They are accustomed to doing everything online and paying for everything online, and expect no less from their medical providers. They can be fickle, and may even be willing to switch providers that are not able to provide an enhanced digital experience.
Key Takeaway for Automated Payment Systems
The key to being able to survive and thrive as a private practice is automated healthcare payments. These automated payment systems allow practices to save money, reduce administrative costs, improve patient satisfaction, and promote a higher probability of on-time payments.
Amazing Charts Helps Independent Practices Boost Revenue Recovery Efficiency
To find the best ways of boosting revenue recovery efficiency in your private practice, look for a provider that understands the needs of small- to medium-size private practices and has an established track record of innovative and helpful digital solutions. In 2001, a practicing physician who was familiar with the challenges private practices face on a daily basis, decided to form Amazing Charts to provide automated solutions to these problems.
We have grown consistently by creating easy-to-use solutions specifically designed to boost efficiency. Today, we offer a variety of capabilities to help small, independent practices function smoothly, including Electronic Health Records (EHR), Practice Management, Medical Billing Services, Population Health, Telehealth, and Remote Care. Call 866-382-5932 or visit our website to learn about our products, schedule a practice consultation, arrange a free trial, and find more information on how your private practice can use our technology to boost efficiency and enhance patient care.