By Bird Blitch

At HIMSS17, I had the opportunity to participate in this year’s Interoperability Showcase as chairman of the HIMSS Revenue Cycle Improvement Task Force (more on that here!). Two common themes I noticed in the showcase were automation and visibility. Given that Patientco helps providers take advantage of both concepts to maximize patient payments, I thought I would share four tips to speed up your patient revenue cycle.

Treat patient payments like claims

Few practices look at patient payments the same way they view insurance claims. As a result, there’s been little emphasis on standardization. Now is the time to standardize and automate patient payment processes, just as with insurance claims.

Track patient payments

Staff often need to go outside the practice management system and into another program in order to process patient payments. Those payments then must be reconciled through yet another system and posted back to the accounting system. Managing these multiple payment channels can cause a lag in reporting, which in turn delays the ability to track payments and make data-driven strategic decisions.

Make payment easy

Making payment easy is the key to collections. That means offering patients the payment methods they find most convenient. Consolidating payment channels onto a single platform helps save money and cut down on complexity for staff members and patients. A patient who can easily pay is a patient who is more likely to pay.

Consider the patient’s perspective

Consider Christina, a patient who receives an invoice from her provider, then pays half of the bill online and the remainder of the balance over the phone a few weeks later after she gets her paycheck. In her mind, Christina has made two payments to the same doctor to settle her bill. Imagine her confusion when, because of posting delays with the second payment, she receives a call requesting the payment she has already made.

No matter how payments are accepted, it’s important to recognize how patients perceive the experience and how that impacts the practice’s patient revenue.