By Patrick Creagh, Marketing SpecialistIMG_20150330_195419328

After years of preparation, ICD-10 is up and running. While there will be some expected hiccups, it seems so far that providers neither overreacted nor under reacted in regards to the challenges of coding upheaval.

While revenue cycle professionals can give themselves a pat on the back, departments know that there is no time to stop and smell the roses. Patients likely won’t appreciate the nuances of reprogramming the entire claims process (except perhaps patients who are diagnosed with one of the stranger hyper-specific codes; anyone get struck by a duck recently? Twice?).

The good news is that once the proverbial dust settles, there will be room for new revenue cycle initiatives, and providers can focus on improving patient-facing parts of their revenue cycle process, specifically processing patient payments.

Time to Focus on the Patient

Lots of projects have delayed providers from upgrading their patient billing experience, especially ICD-10 and EHR implementations. While these projects ultimately help patients and providers in the long run, patients may experience some billing complications in the interim (more than usual, that is). The longer it takes a patient to receive an accurate bill, the less likely that bill will be paid on time, and providers could burden increased A/R days as a result.

Even after a bill is received, patients are still finding it inconvenient to make a payment or set up a payment plan. One reason for this is that some providers bury their online bill pay solution in their patient portal. In order to pay their bill, patients must go through a complicated enrollment process before being granted portal access. If a parent wants to pay a child’s bill, he or she may need to obtain proxy access which can take even more time. None of these barriers motivate patients to make a timely payment.

Patient Payments: A Win for Your Patients and a Win for Your Department

An easy way to counteract these delays in advance is to offer a modernized patient payment portal for your patients to view, track, and pay their bills. By having a dedicated payment portal, patients have less confusion about their charges and resolve billing disputes faster than traditional billing methods.

Having a payment portal with secure messaging features lets patients communicate with the business office on their time, often outside of business hours. Staff can prioritize and delegate messages much easier than requests made over the phone. Best of all, each message is tied to that patient’s account and transaction history. When all of your patient payments and payment data are in one location, it’s easy to provide the kind of superior customer service that builds patient loyalty.

While improving the billing process will increase your patient revenue, the real winners will be your patients. You can’t put a price on the relief a patient experiences upon completing a fast, convenient payment… Patients typically brace themselves for a frustrating experience and you can make their day by delighting them with consumer-friendly technology.

Evaluate your current patient payment options and see if there’s an opportunity to boost your patient satisfaction online and in person with a patient payment portal.

Patientco offers a suite of revenue cycle solutions for healthcare providers including PatientWallet℠, a patient payments platform. To learn more about PatientWallet℠, download our free whitepaper.