How Doctors Can Increase Their Collections & Accelerate Payments with Innovative Digital Tools
As a healthcare professional, you know how much administrative work there is to keep up with the demand for healthcare services while managing your bottom line. Collecting payments from patients can be a daunting task that often ends up being time-consuming and laborious. Handled without empathy and compassion can leave patients with an unfavorable perception of your practice. Unfortunately, billing and collections are often the most challenging, creating delays in payments, bottlenecks, and lost revenue opportunities that can affect the overall health of your business. Fortunately, there are ways to streamline these processes and improve the efficiency of your healthcare business. These tools not only help to optimize medical practices and improve patient care but also allow for faster, more efficient payment processing and improved revenue collection.
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
EHR systems are the cornerstone of any digitalized medical practice. This technology lets you store and organize medical data electronically, automating patient documentation, and providing healthcare providers with all the information they need to make informed decisions. This reduces the administrative burden of manual patient record-keeping and helps medical providers make more accurate diagnoses and treatment plans, which in turn reduces the risk of errors or delays in billing. EHRs also streamline the billing process by generating claims automatically when healthcare services are provided, which reduces the manual workload and helps accelerate payments. This streamlines revenue cycle management and accelerates payment collections. Additionally, with EHRs, physicians can track patient insurance coverage, review claim status and receive notification of rejected claims early in the revenue cycle process.
Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) Software
RCM software can be used to manage the entire revenue cycle, from scheduling appointments to billing and collections. This software automates a lot of the administrative work involved in billing and revenue management, which means there is less chance of errors or delays. This software can also generate reports and analytics that provide complete visibility into the revenue generation process, which can help medical practitioners better understand their revenue cycles and identify opportunities for improvement like denial management.
Automate Claim Submission and Manage Denials
Insurance companies have various claim submission guidelines, which often leads to confusion with medical billing teams. Inaccurate coding, denial of claims, and poor follow-up can result in significant revenue losses. With automated claim submission and denial management systems, controls can be set to catch rejected claims and incorrect denials before significant claim aging occurs. These custom user-controlled systems coupled with exception handling reduce errors and improve claim acceptance rates, making it easy for doctors and practices to get paid faster.
Patient Engagement Tools
It's no secret that patient engagement is the key to driving revenue growth in the healthcare industry. With the right patient engagement tools, you can motivate patients to stay engaged in their care and follow through with recommended treatments or medicines. Patient engagement tools can include things like online portals, patient mobile apps, and email or text message reminders that nudge patients to act on appointments and follow-up appointments. These tools help patients stay engaged with their care and can significantly reduce the rate of no-shows.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to increase collections is to offer online patient portals. These portals are secure, easy-to-use platforms where patients can view their bills, pay their balances, and communicate with doctors and staff. By making it simple and convenient for patients to manage their healthcare bills, doctors can increase collections and reduce outstanding balances.
Telemedicine involves the delivery of healthcare services through virtual channels, such as video conferencing or telephone consultations. This technology is increasingly being used by medical professionals to provide virtual consultations and diagnoses, which helps medical practitioners expand their patient base, improve patient outcomes, and reduce the administrative burden, which can improve the collections process.
For Medicare approved providers, flexibility with many healthcare services became the norm. Here are a couple of Medicare telehealth flexibilities that will remain in place after the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ends May 11, 2023: physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists and audiologists can perform telehealth services through 12/31/2024. For mental health providers, the in-person requirement for services delivered via telehealth is waived through 12/31/2024.
Flexible Payment Plans
Another effective strategy for increasing collections is to offer flexible payment plans without financing options. The average deductible for individual, employer sponsored coverage was $ 1,763 in 2022. Plans purchased from the Marketplace can have significantly higher deductibles. By giving patients more options for paying their bills over time without penalizing them with interest or finance fees, doctors can help make healthcare more affordable and accessible to all.
Create a better method for patients to manage their medical expenses. Tailor plans to a patient’s financial situation and your patient will be more likely to keep their payments on time. This also helps them feel more comfortable and confident with how they will pay down the balance and keep patient satisfaction positive. d to protect sensitive information. Text messaging is HIPAA compliant when the correct procedures are adhered to such as a secure platform along with necessary administrative, physical, and technical safeguards. Two-way text messaging with enforced policies and procedures, safe storage of patient consent and user access controls also reduces security risk thus maintaining confidentiality.
Automated Payment and Self-Service Systems
Optimize and streamline the collections process with automated payment methods. These systems can be linked to patient portals, EHRs, and billing software to automatically process payments, send reminders, and reconcile outstanding balances. You and your back office team will save time and resources by automating many of the manual tasks associated with collections, while also improving the patient experience. Increasing in popularity are automated patient statements (e-statements), text to pay, digital wallet payment, and card on file options.
With electronic patient statements (EPS), practices can send bills via email, text or patient portal, reducing the time and cost of printing and postage expenses. It helps patients to keep track of their bills, increases visibility and engagement, and speeds up the payment process. EPS has several advantages like reducing administrative overhead and streamlining collection processes.
Patients are expecting the capability to pay their medical bill with consistent, convenient and online tools just like they do in retail environments. In fact, according to InstaMed’s 2022 data, 77% of consumers expect self-service payment options yet nearly 80% of providers collect using manual processes.
Utilize Collection Partners
Medical practices can also choose to partner with collection partners that specialize in collecting. By outsourcing the collections process, doctors can take advantage of the expertise, time and cost savings of efficiently adding revenue to their bottom line.
By leveraging technology and implementing digital tools, medical practitioners can streamline the collections process, accelerate payment cycles, and reduce errors or delays in the billing process. These options support the optimization of revenue generation while aiding in delivering quality patient care. Whether you are a small or a large practice, adopting digital tools will not only satisfy your patients but also impact your bottom line. Consider these digital tools as an investment in the future growth and profitability of your healthcare business.
Whether an ambulance transportation, physician practice or other professional fee healthcare provider, reach out to us at RMK for a free consult.