by Kurt Lovell, COO Patientco

PrintSelf pay is the fastest growing segment of healthcare – a reality that hospitals are faced with every day as they experience increasing patient responsibility and stagnant patient collection rates. This revenue is the most difficult and costly to capture; it’s estimated that healthcare providers write off about $65 billion in patient debt each year. It is crucial for hospitals to have a suite of tools in their arsenals to manage this patient revenue successfully. Patients, like consumers, want flexibility and options when it comes to managing their healthcare expenses. A comprehensive solution is a requirement in the today’s marketplace — patients expect it and billing offices need it. If you don’t have one, you’re losing out on valuable time and cost savings. This is costing you money today and, more importantly, poses a threat to your financial solvency in the future.

Implementation of a patient payment solution is an essential component of a hospital’s overall financial strategy. When selecting a solution, maximizing ROI with increased efficiencies and decreased costs within your Revenue Cycle should be top priorities. To ensure this, the solution should adhere to three simple rules:

1.  Ease of Integration

A common objection hospitals have to adopting a comprehensive patient payment solution relates to their existing HIS/PM system or billing platform. A patient payment solution must integrate with existing technology platforms – Meditech, HMS, Healthland, CPSI or any others – rather than disrupt them. Data should be exchanged between systems to give hospitals a clear overview of their revenue cycle management. Do your vendors meet these standards?

2. Ease of Implementation

Time is of the essence, so implementation should be quick and easy. If it takes nine months to ramp up, hospitals are missing out on nine months of crucial revenue. The majority of the implementation work should be done on the part of the vendor, not the hospital. The technology provider should commit to investing the hours it takes to provide comprehensive training to ensure that users can take full advantage of the new technology’s capabilities. Naturally, this should be followed up with top-notch support after implementation. In the end, online and offline processes should work as one cohesive unit to optimize organizational efficiencies. Does your vendor meet these qualifications?

3.  Easy to Understand Cost Savings

Hospitals have significant human resources committed to A/R. Patient payments are the hardest to collect and hospitals spend a lot of time and effort doing so. A patient payment solution should deliver real cost savings almost immediately in the form of the lower collection costs for third-party billing offices, collections agencies, and extraneous human resources.

CMS’s recently announced rate decrease is just around the corner. It’s more important than ever to capture patient payments using a system that answers these questions clearly. Implementing a patient payment solution should be fast and easy, so hospitals can focus on what they do best: care for patients.