Posted by: Ashley Choate
Technology is practically a way of life in modern society, and most of us wonder how we ever lived without it.
New businesses have sprung up around it, and old businesses have found new ways to save money and expand their available markets. Consumers manage their funds through online systems, and pay bills from the comfort of their own homes.
The healthcare industry, on the other hand, has been slow to adjust, but new healthcare-centric software and technology-promoting legislation are starting to change that. Now, practices simply need to understand the benefits of upgrading their systems, healthcare payment technology in particular.
According to a recent survey, 77 percent of practices in the U.S. still issue paper bills to their patients, instead of taking advantage of available healthcare payment technology and e-bill options. At the same time, roughly 52 percent of patients say that they prefer online billing, which is actually a more cost effective and environmentally friendly options.
Even more important is the flexibility that online payment systems can provide, particularly in the era of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). The higher out-of-pocket expectation for patients is forcing many practices to create payment plan systems and other financing options so that patients can afford to receive regular care.
Healthcare payment technology makes it easier for practices to communicate with these patients and offer a reliable, quick way for patients to pay bills, often through automated payment options.
Case Study: Maximizing Revenue With Automated Payment PlansLearn More
Below are some of the key benefits to adopting healthcare payment technology, all of which are geared towards making payments easier and saving practices money.
The ability to take online payments is easily one of the best features of healthcare payment technology. Through an online portal that is protected appropriately with HIPAA-approved security layers, patients can safely and quickly log in to view bills and make payments using their preferred payment method. Most of these systems are also linked to patient portals that offer access to test results, past bills, and other records that patients may need. Most importantly, patients can log in anytime from anywhere to take care of bills quickly and at their convenience.
An effective payment system also allows practices to set up payments plans and recurring payment schedules to ensure larger bills are covered. This type of healthcare payment technology is beneficial to both practices and patients, allowing them determine a mutually beneficial arrangement with clear expectations. If automated payments are authorized, patients don’t have to worry about remembering to make the payment, and practices can spend less time making calls to remind patients about their obligations, since automated emails are a common feature to remind patients before the funds are drafted from the account.
Time and Labor
The most valuable cost-saving benefit of healthcare payment technology and the features listed above is time. With a payment system that allows for automated statements or e-bills, online payments, online records access, and automated payments for scheduled plans, practice staff can focus on the most important part of their jobs: interacting with the patients and providing the best care possible.
Good healthcare payment technology can be an investment initially, but the benefits and cost-saving features pay off quickly. As many practices have had to update other systems in order to comply with new federal regulations, there’s no time like the present to include systems that will not only save money, but also improve patient satisfaction. After all, more time with patients means more opportunities to provide care, comfort, and guidance—all vital to inspiring the confidence that will result in a good practice-patient relationship over time.