Take the luck out of your patient collection strategy

Patient out-of-pocket spending grew to over $375 billion in 2018. As patient financial responsibility continues to climb, Health Systems need to implement a patient collection strategy rather than relying on luck to collect these dollars. Otherwise, your Health System is leaving money on the table. This blog post will share four tips on how to ensure a high-performing patient collection strategy, even if you’re not blessed with the luck of the Irish!

1. Never miss an opportunity to collect payment

In today’s on-demand economy, it’s essential to meet consumer demands for convenience. When patients are ready and willing to pay their bills, you’ve got to make it easy to do so. Let your patients pay at their convenience by offering online, self-service payment channels. According to Patientco’s survey, 75% of patients want to be able to pay their bill with an online bill pay solution. Digital payment tools are popular because they allow patients to pay their bill anytime, anywhere. 

Offering self-service payments is a big time saver for your staff, too. For our client Great River Health System, the switch to a more intuitive online payment portal resulted in a 60% reduction in monthly patient call volume.

2. Communicate often & through multiple channels

The more informed a patient is about their financial responsibility, the more likely they are to pay their bill in a timely manner. That’s why it’s important to communicate with your patients often and through multiple channels.

Don’t just send a bill and hope for a payment. Be sure to use reminders to stay top of mind. Patientco’s Data Team found that eBill reminders help increase patient payment rates. When patients were sent a reminder, payment rates increased by 29 percent. Also, proactively communicate with your patients about any flexible payment options available to them like financing, payment plans, or prompt pay discounts to encourage payments.

Communicate with patients through their preferred channel. No single communication method works for all patients all the time. For many, digital communications are a home run, but engagement with the communication needs to be considered as well. For this reason, Patientco developed SmartSuppress™. This paperless billing technology allows Health Systems to monitor patient behavior and automatically tailor the patient financial experience accordingly. For example, if a patient opts into paperless billing but doesn’t open an email or pay a bill within a set period of time, SmartSuppress™ automatically triggers a mailed paper statement as a secondary reminder, increasing payment rates for Patientco clients. 

3. Prompt patients to pay with options that work for them

It’s just good business to offer your patients options for paying their medical bills. There are a range of options to consider, including financing, payment plans, prompt payment discounts, scheduled payments, and online payments. A successful patient collection strategy goes above and beyond a one-size-fits-all payment experience. Rather, a successful strategy provides tailored payment options to each patient. To offer payment options that work with each patient’s unique financial situation, consider their bill balance and healthcare payment history. By doing so, you’ll help make healthcare more affordable for your patients.

4. Educate your patients

If a patient is confused about what they owe or how to pay, they are less likely to pay their bill. Remove this barrier with education about patient financial responsibility prior to an appointment or at the point-of-service. Nearly all patients want better pre-service communications about costs and payment options. To meet this expectation, use a patient billing solution that integrates with your estimator tool and exchanges data in real time. This allows staff to communicate with patients about costs, provide information about available payment options, answer questions and establish a patient’s commitment to pay sooner.

With these tactics, you can bet your patient collection strategy will lead you to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. No four-leaf clover needed.