Patient Payment Portal Effectiveness
Medical Billing and Patient Payment Portal Effectiveness
According to a survey done by MGMA (Medical Group Management Association), most medical practices will generate around 25% of revenue from direct patient payments. Failing to collect on time, then, can cause a major decrease in total revenue over any set period.
This is the main reason that even the smallest medical practices will want to explore options for streamlining payment payments. Yet there is much more than “Check, cash or credit card”. What is your current patient payment strategy? What sort of payment portals do you make available to patients when billing and collection?
Do you demand payment at the time of treatment? While that can be a benefit to you as you treat patients, it is also a factor that keeps many from booking. For example, one of the biggest mistakes that medical practices make when they are planning their payment portal collections strategies is offering too few payment options.
What Is the Effectiveness of Patient Portals in the Collection Process?
In fact, there were several things that were uncovered by the MGMA. The recommendations they made were meant to ensure optimal effectiveness where patient payment portals were concerned, and included:
- Being flexible with payment options – Cash is always great, but most of your patients will probably need to use debit or credit cards. While keeping a credit card system in the office has associated fees, this may ensure you earn the expected 25% revenue on time. You may also want to consider options for an ATM installation as this too can facilitate immediate payments.
- Having clear policies – Communication is the key where payment portals are concerned. Ensure that your entire staff is able to explain the financial policies in place in the practice, and to clearly communicate this to patients to ensure there is no confusion. A major part of this policy must be around the responsibilities for your patients where non-covered services are concerned.
- Enforcing the policies – While having the policies is important, be sure that your staff is able to clearly enforce what they communicate. One way of doing this is creating “a culture of payment before service”. In other words, at check-in, you can ask patients how they would like to pay for their visit, and process it ahead of time.
- Follow up on billing – There is a proven correlation between the time that a patient leaves the office and when the bill arrives. Use an online portal to send bills, notify them via email, text or a phone call on the day they receive treatment, and you will boost the likelihood of prompt payment. Collections experts say that 30 days between treatment and collection of a balance is around 80% and only declines after that point.
- Consider a medical billing company – While doing your billing “in-house” may seem like a no brainer for cutting costs, the realities are surprising to some medical providers. Not enough staff, not enough knowledge or resources, and not enough research into the total costs for billing and collections leaves many practices at a loss when the collections could have been promptly managed directly through a patient portal paired with a medical billing company.
- Research patients – Your EHRs, or Electronic Health Records, should allow you to easily see patient balances prior to treatment. Know when a patient is failing to pay versus simply having a balance due. There are differences, and knowing when someone systematically fails to pay promptly enables you to make better choices about how to communicate with them. A patient portal can send alerts letting them know that a high balance due may become an issue with an upcoming appointment.
Portals are still something that many physicians and patients are familiarizing themselves with. They offer an astonishing opportunity to streamline things, and can even boost collections and streamline billing if you explore the options fully.
For more information about how Medynamix can improve the profitability of your small medical practice, fill out our request for information form or call us today at (423) 822-5655.