Collecting payments at the time of service: Top 3 benefits.

Time-of-service payments can lead to more predictable revenue, a boon for independent practices. This financial stability allows healthcare providers to invest in improved patient care and better equipment, ultimately enhancing the overall healthcare experience.

Collecting payments at the time of service: Top 3 benefits.

From the moment a patient schedules an appointment, their experience begins, extending beyond the doctor-patient interaction and culminating when the cost of care is settled.

Building a trusting patient/provider relationship hinges on crafting a seamless process. Payment collections are a significant factor affecting this process, influencing both the patient experience and your practice's financial well-being.

The Snail Mail Payment Procedure

Traditionally, healthcare providers address patient collections well after the patient's office visit, often after they have left the facility. This approach can result in significant delays, and it may require additional effort from the patient, such as calling the office, logging onto a website, or making payments by mail, if they pay at all. As a consequence, many paper bills end up lost or forgotten, necessitating follow-ups by phone or through mailed reminders by billing staff.

Research consistently shows that financial success is more likely when patient copays and outstanding balances are collected at the time of service, before the patient departs the facility. This proactive approach is more effective, especially when you consider that practices typically collect only 50 to 70% of patient payments after patients leave the office. It's time for healthcare practices to adopt a strategic approach to patient collections.

Collecting copays and outstanding balances at the time of service offers three primary benefits.

1. Enhance the Patient/Provider Interaction

Simplified patient experiences through time-of-service payment solutions not only enhance patient satisfaction but also improve billing transparency, support, and service. Achieving this level of excellence is made possible through the use of a payment terminal, which opens up opportunities for direct patient communication and resolving any inquiries they may have regarding their bill.

Furthermore, patients are provided with a secure, convenient payment experience tailored to their preferences, whether it's through credit card, Google Pay, or Apple Pay.

This approach significantly aligns with meeting patients within their comfort zones, thereby fostering stronger patient-provider relationships grounded in empathy, transparent communication, and a culture of trust.

2. Lower Healthcare Billing and Collection Expenses

Time-of-service payments are a versatile solution that can effectively handle both current visit charges and outstanding balances. By implementing a payment terminal, you can significantly enhance your collection efficiency, managing both online and offline transactions, refunds, and payouts seamlessly. This approach offers numerous benefits for your billing department and administration team, including:

Minimized errors associated with manual data entries and updates.

Reduced back-end collection costs.

Liberated time for your staff to focus on other critical aspects of revenue cycle management.

Enhanced alignment and consistency between front office and billing department procedures.

3. Increase Practice Revenue Significantly

Initiating the collection process during a patient's in-office care, rather than at the end (after they've left), empowers providers to proactively boost their practice's revenue.

Engaging in open discussions at the point of care facilitates patient inquiries and allows your team to offer guidance and transparency, resulting in improved collection outcomes. To enhance this process, consider training your staff to:

Confirm the amount due.

Maintain a service-oriented and empathetic approach.

Present payment options and collect payments.

Provide a printed copy of the remaining bill if the balance isn't paid in full.

Optimize Collections at the Point of Care

Your practice's revenue relies on patient collections. However, rising bills, uncertainty about the amounts owed, and a lack of communication can hinder patient responsiveness. To address these challenges, it's essential to shift your focus to time-of-service collections and ensure that your staff communicates clearly and empathetically with each patient. Embracing time-of-service collections offers three key benefits that can propel your practice towards enhanced patient collection efficiency.

Introducing a payment terminal reader at your front office empowers both patients and your front office staff to handle in-person time-of-service payment collection seamlessly. This integrated system streamlines the patient experience, reduces your medical billing expenses, and, most importantly, increases revenue. By adopting these practices, your practice can better cater to patients' needs and nurture strong provider-patient relationships.

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