According to a 2017 Poll by Kaiser Health, 45 percent of Americans had a difficult time paying an unexpected $500 medical bill. Around 19 percent will not be able to pay it and 20 percent will pay it through their credit card.
Health costs are certainly one of the biggest financial difficulties most people deal with. But it’s not only the patients that suffer. Even healthcare providers struggle too. As with every patient who is unable to settle their medical bills, delayed payments can significantly affect their cash flow.
Thankfully, there are ways to streamline the patient payment process and improve revenue cycle management.
Using Technology to Streamline Revenue Cycle Management
Perhaps the easiest way to streamline the payment process and maximize patient care is to modernize the revenue cycle management. And with the current technology, doing this has gotten much simpler than ever.
Today, healthcare facilities, care centers, hospitals, and clinics make use of an advanced system that allows them to speed up a business process, from scheduling patient appointments to collecting payments. Such systems are also designed in simplifying the billing process, filtering insurance benefits, and gathering of medical records, among others.
Key Strategies to Streamline Payment Process
One of the most important steps in streamlining patient payment process is by streamlining admissions. More and more healthcare providers are making use of online platforms to make appointment scheduling much easier, without the need for patients to make a telephone call or wait in long queues. Now, patients simply have to book online (usually through a mobile app) and start from there. In addition to setting appointments, health apps also allow patients to view their financial statements, billing information and benefits information.
Minimize billing and collection errors
Even the tiniest errors (such as misspelled names or addresses) can impede the billing and collection process, which in turn adversely impacts the revenue cycle management. Errors can also cause delays and even denials of insurance claims, which can be frustrating for both the patient and the healthcare provider. There are various ways to minimize errors, such as automating information gathering.
Eliminate repetitive tasks
When it comes to business operations, less is certainly more. The more the healthcare staff has to do prior to the appointment, the more expenses there are. Post-service expenses such as filing with insurance providers, making billing follow-ups, collecting payments, or writing off bad debts do not only affect revenue cycle management but also negatively affect the customer experience.
Promote customer-oriented payment system
Apart from the quality of care that patients receive, another important step towards streamlined revenue cycle management is establishing a customer-friendly payment system. With the ever-increasing financial struggles associated with healthcare, people these days don’t just aim to make payments quickly and efficiently, but also to avoid surprises when the bill arrives. Customer-friendly payment systems may also include giving patients access to financial resources not to miss the bills with personal loans. It provides easy-to-understand patient statements and offering different payment options such as allowing beyond in-person and mail payments, helping patients obtain financial assistance and accepting a variety of payment methods.
Poor workflow is not only inefficient but also expensive. Thankfully, healthcare providers are now able to utilize software programs that streamline their workflows – eliminating the need for excessive staffing and unnecessary repetitive tasks, and improving patient financial services. Streamlined workflow allows healthcare providers to prioritize their resources and resolve issues quickly and effectively.
Establish payment assurance strategy
Today, healthcare providers should aim to provide a deliberate and customer-friendly approach to settling payments. Establishing a solid payment assurance strategy helps healthcare providers collect and process payments while improving customer experience.
Consider outsourcing RCM
As their business grows and healthcare providers are required to improve their revenue cycle functionality along with business operations. Because of this, revenue cycle management is often set aside. When all things seem to be overwhelming, there’s a good reason to outsource RCM to the experts. There are third-party companies that specialize in optimizing revenue cycle management.
Maximize collection of patient payment
Lastly, part of providing customer-friendly payment services is by maximizing the collection of payments. This can be done by creating a clear and well-defined payment collection process, collecting payments upfront, and utilizing a reliable payment software.
Providing quality care is a priority of any healthcare provider. But in order to do this, establishing a streamlined patient payment process should also be given great attention. All this results in a better revenue cycle management. And there are many ways to do that, from streamlining admissions, minimizing errors, and eliminating repetitive tasks to establishing a payment assurance strategy, improving workflow, outsourcing processes, and maximizing payment collection – all these can help healthcare providers ensure that they are able to collect payments in a timely and more efficient manner.