By Patrick Creagh, Marketing Specialistblogbfpic1

Thanksgiving weekend is fast approaching, but some industries never take a day off.

Retail is an obvious one, and Black Friday creep is out in full force with some stores opening at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day this year.  It seems crazy but it works!

A less obvious one is healthcare, because if you have an allergic reaction to the collard greens (I’m allergic mom, I promise!), there needs to be a doctor available to treat you.

While the retail stores have the advantage of transacting business on the spot and capturing an instant boost in revenue, healthcare must proceed through eligibility and claims verification and finally engage the patient for the out-of-pocket responsibility. However, that doesn’t mean providers can’t take advantage of the consumer-focused Black Friday strategies to capture more revenue; here’s 3 tips for your business office to use:

Incentives Matter!

Yes, we did point this out last year but this year…incentives still matter! If discounts are powerful enough to tear families away from the dinner table, imagine what a prompt pay discount could do for your hospital. A clearly communicated discount offer will not only lead to faster payments, but is also proof of superior customer service.

The Future is Digital

Lately ‘Cyber Monday’ and other online flash sales have overshadowed Black Friday, highlighting a larger trend of financial transactions moving online.  There is no question that hospitals will need online payment options to remain financially solvent. However, for some hospitals, patients have more digital tools than ever before to manage and pay their bills. These include secure portals to view and manage all of their payment activity from all of their providers, and even their actual statements are digital in the form of eBills.

Staff to Meet Demand

On the retail side, using transaction data to forecast staffing needs is par for the course, but is just now starting to take hold in healthcare. When you make a lot of sales on Black Friday for example, your customer service department should expect more calls in the coming weeks. As a hospital, are you analyzing your payment data to anticipate those kinds of staffing needs and serve your patients well?

Hopefully these Black Friday tips will help you as you plan for 2015. Enjoy your turkey this weekend, and be thankful for the ones who man the ship while you are away.