Piecing Together The Patient Billing System Puzzle
"" From ImagineSoftware's article Piecing together the patient billing puzzle published by Becker's Hospital Review
The world of patient billing software as it relates to customer satisfaction is very much like a puzzle; each individual piece as crucial as the last in creating the end result. If you try to put it together with a few pieces missing, the big picture is never quite right. It will eventually and unexpectedly fall apart.
The statistics are aplenty- there’s a correlation between patients not understanding their medical bills or being forced to pay in an inconvenient way, and providers struggling to collect. In a recent study, 96% of payers said they still pay a portion of their providers by check, 76% said they were confused by their medical bills and 70% of providers reported that it takes one month or longer to collect payment from a patient.
The picture looks pretty incomplete, but there are proven ways that providers can rearrange a disorderly patient billing system to create a true work of art.
Clear Communication Between Billing Staff and Patients
Never underestimate the importance of being transparent. It’s absolutely necessary for providers to train their billing staff to answer questions about pricing over the phone and in person. Billing staff must learn that communication with patients is not a “soft skill” but something that must become second-nature. This is especially crucial during time of service, when staff is face to face with patients and must think on their feet. Explain financial policies right away, follow up with the patient if there is any confusion and be sure to use an appropriate tone. It’s something that can easily be overlooked, but how you engage in conversation with a patient is just as important as what you say. Also, consider calling your billing staff regularly to help ensure that they are being responsive.
Important Components of a Patient Billing System
There’s a growing interest in the convenience of digital communication, patient payment plans, and more options for paying healthcare bills online with an increasing financial responsibility falling on patients' shoulders.
- When you give patients the freedom to verify recurring payments and make payments anytime and anywhere, providers will have a higher likelihood of collecting the bill in full.
- Allowing a patient to see a list of every procedure, medication, and charge will help them better understand exactly what they’re paying for.
- Giving patients the ability to play flexibly over time makes a huge difference in helping fulfill financial responsibility and in Accounts Receivable.