Streamline Healthcare Revenue Management with a Single Payment Solution
By: Jana Franks
Today, healthcare economics and accounting are more complex than ever. As the burden of financial responsibility increasingly shifts onto patients, providers not only have to work with various insurance companies to collect but also the patients themselves. As healthcare customers, they expect the same payment options they have grown accustomed to in the private sector. Added to this is the growing healthcare ecosystem, which brings new payment touchpoints everywhere – including in-room visitor dining, spa treatments, outpatient clinic services, and more.
Given this complicated climate and interdependent networks, healthcare providers need increased efficiencies from their collection teams and third-party partners. Choosing a solution that incorporates your banking, payment processing and revenue cycle management (RCM) software all in one is a powerful way to save time and money, speed collection times and simplify operations.
Investigate your options to find an end-to-end processor that works for your organization. Start with the patient experience, which is the foundation for quick collections and overall patient satisfaction. The Elavon 2019 Healthcare Payments Report, shows that most consumers (48%) consider healthcare to be the hardest of all industries when it comes to payments, beating out restaurants, banking, lodging and airlines. So, look for a processor that makes paying for medical bills as easy and convenient as buying a smartwatch on Amazon or chips at the grocery store. Make sure you can accept all types of credit and debit cards, as well as checks, cash, Apple Pay and other mobile wallets.
Other features can make handling large healthcare expenses more manageable for patients and improve price transparency. For example, a processor that integrates with your eligibility and estimation software and sends clear bills can help patients understand what insurance coverage they qualify for and budget for what they will likely have to pay. Meanwhile, online payment options and email and text reminders can drive customer loyalty and engagement, thereby reducing collection times* and increasing revenue. Tools like payment plans and card-on-file can create a smoother experience for patients and your staff.
When it comes to improving the experience for providers, a complete solution offers many advantages. Using your bank’s processor can make tracking payments easier, and you may get faster access to your money with benefits like same-day funding.
A solution that integrates with your RCM software can also give you better visibility into the entire lifecycle of a patient visit – from the moment they book their initial appointment, to how they prefer to pay for parking and coffee at the cafeteria, to whether they pick up toiletries at the pharmacy on their way out, to how long it takes them to pay their final medical balance. These insights and analytics can give you a better understanding of the entire patient journey, allowing you to provide custom recommendations for a patient that can make their life easier while at the same time increasing your revenue. It can even help you determine when the best time to send payment reminders* is and discover which payment methods your patients are most comfortable with.
As you’re evaluating vendors, it can be helpful to ask the following key questions:
- Is the solution easy to implement? Will it work with your bank, RCM software, and other programs and tools you rely on?
- Is the solution easy to use? Will your staff have a hard time understanding how to send invoices or collect payments? Will patients be able to pay their bills easily in person, online or from their cellphone? Will you be able to automate any processes that currently take up your employees’ time?
- Is the solution secure? Will it protect cardholder data throughout the entire lifecycle of a transaction? Does it come with state-of-the-art security features, like encryption and tokenization?
Streamlining healthcare payments is simple when you choose a solution that incorporates your banking, processing and RCM software. It allows you to free up money and staff time that can be better spent implementing other best practices for the new normal in healthcare and patient responsibility, such as improving communications with patients.
About the author: Jana Franks is the Senior Vice President and GM of Elavon's healthcare business. She has more than 20 years of experience in driving innovation and substantial market growth across the fintech and healthcare industries. Jana holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado and has achieved New Product Development Process (NPDP) certification by the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA). She gives back to her community as a volunteer teacher at Junior Achievement of Georgia, an organization focused on economic, education and workforce development.
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