Healthcare Payment Solutions: Why It’s Time for an Upgrade
By Lisa Brooks, Vice President of Healthcare Partner Management
Like many businesses, healthcare organizations are transforming their operations to incorporate more digital technology and consolidate vendor relationships to provide an all-in-one, holistic solution. Digital processes allow healthcare facilities of all sizes to be more efficient, serve more patients, understand propensity to pay and increase profitability. In order to maximize these benefits, however, it is crucial for healthcare solutions providers to integrate digital healthcare payments with the software and systems you provide. Even if all other aspects of the organization operate digitally, efficiency and profitability decrease when healthcare organizations continue to use paper-based processes for payments.
What a Modern Healthcare Payment Solution Offers
Today’s healthcare payment solutions benefit patients as well as providers. Leading solutions providers will educate their healthcare clients on their options and the benefits they deliver, including:
- Better Patient Experiences
Patients are also consumers. They are accustomed to omnichannel experiences, payment choices, and convenience. To meet patients’ payment experience expectations, physicians, physical or occupational therapists, dental offices, physicians’ offices, and other healthcare providers must offer payment options while reducing payment friction. Digital healthcare payment solutions, such as contactless payments, text-to-pay, and online payments, meet that demand.
Digital payments can also help reduce “surprise bills.” A Morning Consult survey found that 20 percent* of patients received unexpected medical charges. Digitizing healthcare payments enables patients to fully understand the charges upfront while allowing them to settle bills quickly and conveniently.
- Operational Efficiency
Many hospitals and medical practices invest a great deal of time and resources into billing. According to Affordable Quality Healthcare, Inc. (CAQH), the impact of moving from manual to electronic payments can save nearly $2 per payment. Considering the volume of transactions for healthcare companies, this can add up to millions in annual savings.
First, eliminating paper bills streamlines revenue cycle management while reducing the time and resources spent on collections and creates a reporting structure to understand the propensity to pay. Digital invoicing also eases some of the burden on staff during ongoing labor shortages and enhances accuracy. With payments posted electronically, human error decreases.
- Data Security
As rich sources of both personal information and credit card numbers, healthcare systems are a tempting target for fraudsters. Protecting patient information is paramount. But secure processes also safeguard your client’s business. Paper-based processes can put payment data - not to mention protected health information (PHI) - at risk.
Advise your clients on PCI compliance along with information on crucial payment security features, such as point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and tokenization, so they can feel safe knowing the healthcare payment solution they choose will increase data security for their business.
What Is Included in Healthcare Payment Solutions?
A number of options exist for technology to increase efficiency and enhance the payments journey:
- Payments at the Office or Healthcare Facility
For optimal patient experiences, healthcare providers should accept a variety of payment methods so patients can settle copays or uncovered expenses. Consumer demand means it’s crucial to offer EMV chip card payments, contactless card or mobile wallet payments, as well as ACH payments that transfer funds directly from their bank accounts. Patients will also appreciate the opportunity to make payments at a kiosk, eliminating waiting in line for assistance from staff.
- Payments After Care
While many healthcare providers still rely on manual paper billing processes, a U.S. Bank survey found the majority of patients want digital options to pay. In fact, 37 percent of respondents want to be able to pay through a payment portal, and 32 percent prefer to pay through a mobile app.*
Solving this disconnect can enhance patient experiences and create more efficient operations. Additionally, if a patient needs to establish a payment plan, automatic recurring payments can deduct funds each month, saving the patient and healthcare provider staff time.
Healthcare providers may also benefit from enabling payments from the mobile apps or patient portals they use to communicate with their patients.
Benefits to Partners
Healthcare solutions providers will increase the value they provide by integrating their software with a payments platform that monetizes payments and billing processes. You’ll help your clients save money by decreasing paper use, reducing billing and collections time, and minimizing the time from service to payment – all contributing to healthy ROI.
Offering these solutions also creates additional touchpoints with your clients, giving you a greater opportunity to understand new challenges and pain points healthcare providers face and sell deeper by providing comprehensive solutions. You have more opportunities to become a trusted business advisor and building stronger relationships with your clients.
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