Three Steps to Improve Collections and Save Time
Medical practices large and small, hospitals and other medical facilities waste tons of paper every year, but more importantly they waste time processing the paper. Some estimates report that the healthcare industry reliance on paper cost $375 billion annually. Physician’s cost of delivering healthcare to patients is expensive, so what can be done to help reduce administrative expenses? Medical practices need to think outside of the box to eliminate nonessential labor expenses, like handling paperwork that adds little value. The paper chase in a doctor’s office adds hours to payroll costs and produces marginal benefit to income. Here are some key ways to save time and paper by implementing key measures to reduce reliance on physical paper.
1.) Promote eStatements
If you are still printing and sending paper statements, stop the paper clutter by processing statements electronically. Why print a paper statement, stamp the statement and send the bill by mail. Estimates for manual processing of paper statements can be as high as two to three dollars per patient statement. Most software vendors offer the option to process statements electronically. Doctors can also sign up for online portals to receive payments by a credit card. This reduces the need for processing a paper check with immediate funds availability, and it makes it easier for the patients to pay. With online portals, patients can have online access twenty four hours a day, and can pay their statement balance without the paper chase of writing a check. Most people pay their bills online with their bank. Join the crowd and encourage patients to pay online.
2.) Offer Multiple Channels for Payments and Check Processing
Another way to entice patients to pay is to sign up for e-Payments. This can enable them to pay online from any device virtually anywhere. Some online portals also have the ability to offer payment plans that use predefined limits to charge the patient automatically over a series of payments. Think about the patient that had an expensive surgery. What would be better, receive the balance over four to six installments, or to have the patient sent to collection for non-payment. The goal is to make it easy for the patient to pay. The same portals that take credit cards can take ACH payments with a routing and bank account number to debit the patient’s checking account. Ok, so maybe you are a mid to large size medical practice and you still receive a lot of paper checks. Another way to start going paperless is to utilize a lockbox with your bank. Think of the benefit of not worrying who is opening the mail, immediate funds availability with an electronic record of all deposits.
3.) Eliminate Paper From the Equation with a Patient Portal
With well-designed online templates, it can be beneficial for medical practices and facilities to ask patients to fill out paperwork online. They can fill out basic demographic information at their leisure and record a medical history before they show up in the office. The benefit is the data is recorded electronically for use in billing and health record systems saving valuable labor to document the patient encounter. This gives the staff more time to focus on clinical issues rather than on shuffling paper. Patient eligibility can be verified in advance making for a smoother patient experience. Having a portal can make the patient accustomed to viewing their patient record electronically. An email can be sent to notify the patient of test results without having to call the office.
Patient populations are changing. Most patients have grown up in a digital world and want access to billing and healthcare information. It may seem daunting in the short-term to move to a paperless system, but it pays off in the long run in terms of time saved and better information. Going paperless with medical billing payments and administrative paperwork may seem tough, but it is important to keep an eye on the benefits. Consumers like it when businesses make payments simple to understand and easy to make. . Medical practices and facilities usually see fewer patients forgetting to make a payment. Online portals can increase customer satisfaction and retention with better access to their information. They also make for a better informed patient. Make a commitment to change to the way you handle paper in one system each quarter. If you need help give us a callShare