Accepting Payments in Healthcare: Giving Patients a Seamless Experience

December 10, 2019

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A modern, connected payment system can make your patients’ experience at your practice easier on them and your staff.

As they take on more out-of-pocket medical expenses ($423.8 billion in 2016), patients are looking for ways to make paying easier and more flexible. The simpler the process, the more likely they are to pay; your chances of collecting dip by as much as 62 percent once they walk out the door. A connected payment ecosystem allows patients to pay with a simple tap or swipe, and even lets them prepay before they arrive.

Below are just a handful of reasons why a seamless payment experience can improve your practice.

Convenience

Many healthcare providers have been slow to embrace digital payments; 90 percent still use paper. And their patients want this change—many would even prefer to pay on their phones, if possible.

Above all, they want choice. Make it as easy as possible for them to pay by accepting all payment methods (check, credit card, contactless) at all locations (in office, by invoice, in app). Their experience should be the same, no matter how and where they pay.

Another crucial element of patient choice is when they pay. If they have sticker shock at their new copay or the cost of a procedure, many payment systems let them decide what they can afford on that day through a confidential, on-screen interface. They can pay in a lump sum, split it up into monthly or bimonthly installments, or customize a payment plan, all deducted securely from a credit card on file.

This solution also lets both patients and staff avoid potentially awkward financial conversations in a crowded waiting room.

Shorter Wait Times

Not all patients will opt to fill out paperwork and take care of their copay ahead of time, but those who do will spend less time in your waiting room and move the line along faster for everyone else.

And wait times have a significant impact on patient satisfaction—a vast majority think it’s “somewhat important” or “very important,” nearly one-third have walked out, and one-fifth have changed practices entirely when the wait was too long.

Improved Privacy and Transparency

Patient privacy goes beyond conversations in the waiting room. A mobile payment option allows a physician to take care of any fees or copays in the privacy of an office or exam room. They can also openly discuss the cost of any prescriptions or lab tests.

Mobile solutions also make it easier for patients to gain access to their own medical data, which typically involves a fee to cover a practice’s copying and printing costs. When records can be transmitted securely and instantly, patients will be more involved in their medical plans, costs will go down, and the whole process will be more efficient.

Innovation

Digital payments open the door to many methods of practicing medicine in ways that best serve your community:

  • Telemedicine. Patients can connect with providers remotely via online portals outside of the traditional office-based system, allowing for flexible scheduling and easy sharing of medical documentation. Physicians can also use these tools to monitor patients’ heart rate, insulin levels, and blood pressure.
  • Concierge medicine. Patients pay a monthly or annual fee and get 24-hour access to their physician. It allows a doctor or nurse to spend more time with each patient and can reduce provider burnout. Some healthcare professionals will opt for a hybrid model, with a mix of traditional and concierge patients.
  • Self-funded plans. This alternative way for employers to provide healthcare to their workers gives employees direct control over their medical funds, but also full responsibility for any costs. Patients get the ultimate choice of where (or if) to get that blood test or MRI.

In each of these examples, a connected payment solution is essential for physicians and patients to work out a system of care on their own terms.

Easy Compliance with Regulations

HIPAA is one of the most important considerations when ensuring payment compliance. Your practice is required to implement safeguards to ensure the security and confidentiality of these transactions, while still making the information accessible to patients and doctors. Payment solutions like Poynt have HIPAA-compliant data practices built into their systems.

Give Patients a Seamless Experience

As more financial responsibility for healthcare passes to the patient, it makes sound business sense that providers offer a comprehensive set of payment options as part of more customer-centric care. The right payment solution is key to giving your patients this seamless experience.

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