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Three Reasons to Upgrade Practice Payment Systems

When no red flags appear for a while, it’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security about your practice payment system. Unfortunately, where payment processing systems are concerned, you can never be too careful—especially when an outdated system could mean not only missed opportunities for improved efficiency, but also a greater likelihood that cybercriminals can find a way in.

With consumer healthcare spending expected to grow to $608 billion by 2019, according to a recent InstaMed report, cybercriminals are all too aware of how lucrative it can be to successfully infiltrate practices. Hospital systems and larger health organizations might seem like the more appealing targets, but going straight for payment processing systems and record storage systems often yield greater returns, since payment systems are usually linked to more than one health organization.

For that reason and others, practices must be careful to select a payment processing system provider that is dedicated to top-of-the-line security. The right vendor and payment system could also offer several functions designed to improve revenue cycle outcomes and compensate for certain weaknesses in practice procedures.

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Outside of security concerns, upgrading or switching payment processing systems altogether, depending on vendors and system functionality, could resolve any of the following concerns:

A Lack of Payment Options

Patients like options. Being able to pay by card, check, or ACH, as well as mobile options are essential in today’s market to ensure payments are made quickly and easily. According to InstaMed, 68 percent of consumers prefer to pay their bills electronically, and 20 percent of payments are made using mobile devices. Options and omnichannel access are essential to remaining competitive and keeping consumers happy.

Issues with System Interoperability

Practices that haven’t considered new technology in a while might be surprised to find that system interactions have improved in the last few years. One of the greatest complaints for many practices during the switch to electronic health records (EHR) was a lack of integrated systems and interoperability. Those issues are a thing of the past for most new payment processing systems, which are designed to interact easily with certain EHR systems or come as part of a centralized whole that practices can choose in order to replace all other outdated management software and sync up all practice processes.

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To Manage Bad Debt

Although most patients want to pay their bills, increases in out-of-pocket expectations combined with the rising cost of care have had a profound impact on their ability to do so. Successful practices have had to find a way to help patients manage health cost while still preventing bad debt numbers from rising too high and incoming payments to fall too low. The solution, many have found, is offering flexible payment options, which an upgraded payment processing system can provide with less work from practice staff. Automated payments and electronic payment options often mean that patients can manage their accounts much more effectively without constant prodding from collections teams or account managers.

Some practices might think it’s easier to simply stick with what they know, but the current era favors the bold. Improvements in technology are occurring all the time, and payment processing systems and practice management software are at the forefront of much of that change, especially considering the political and financial pressure placed on improving the U.S. healthcare system during the past decade.

Whether they realize it or not, many practices would benefit from updating their internal systems, especially if those updates increase patient access and deter cybercriminals from poking around. Ultimately, it’s not unlike insurance—if you don’t ask about a better option, you won’t know there is one. Why get less from your payment processing system when there is the possibility of getting so much more?

Originally published Nov 29, 2017 / Updated Feb 8, 2018
Happy female patient in 40s registering at hospital reception desk with employee recording data.