3 Ways Technology Can Help You Collect from Cash-Strapped Patients

3 Ways Technology Can Help You Collect from Cash-Strapped Patients with Compassion

South African consumers are being cautious. Despite some recent relief from inflation, the average consumer still feels the effects of rising fuel & food prices, not to mention ongoing electricity outages & widespread unemployment. Together with the country’s national elections in May this year, consumer confidence is low. Reports all indicate that consumers are cash-strapped, spending only on essentials. What does this mean for your business? 

Healthcare is an essential service but that doesn’t mean your private medical practice is immune to consumer spending trends. Very few businesses can simply right off bad debt so collecting from patients is a top priority. Practices that want to thrive in a challenging economy are implementing smart strategies to collect money from patients. The best part? They’re leveraging technology & automation to collect outstanding balances with empathy & understanding. 

Here are 3 ways technology can help you collect from cash-strapped patients while improving your practice’s efficiency:

Take the guesswork out of payments 

Patients are less likely to pay their invoices if they weren’t expecting them. By automating benefits checks when the patient makes an appointment, your staff has the first opportunity to communicate any co-pays or costs they’re liable for. This eliminates the element of surprise when your staff has another opportunity to collect payment by submitting claims in real-time. This means your patients are invoiced before they leave your practice, drastically increasing the likelihood of being paid in full & on time.  

TIP: Patients don’t like surprise invoices. Implement a digital solution that automates benefit checks, real-time billing, & BulkSMS reminders to enable your staff to have an open dialogue with patients about payment across your revenue cycle management (RCM) processes. 

Offer digital payment options 

Outdated billing methods can create confusion & delays when collecting payments. Patients are more likely to settle their invoices if payment options are varied & convenient. Review your payment option to identify ways to modernise & meet your patients’ needs. Not only will the right integrated electronic medical billing system enable multiple payment portals, but you can also automate payment reminders to gently nudge patients to settle any outstanding amounts. 

TIP: Don’t rely solely on cash or card payment options. Accept cardless & mobile payments, such as Snapscan, to give patients convenient ways to pay.  

Consider flexible payment plans 

Sometimes patients just can’t pay at the time of their appointment.  Review your practice’s payment policy & consider including discounts or ways to spread out the cost of their medical bills. While this is more of a ‘human’ problem, technology gives you & your staff useful information to be able to communicate effectively & manage the situation successfully. 

TIP: Train your staff to be empathetic & understanding when discussing payment options. An integrated practice management system that offers instant, easy-to-read reporting gives you the information you need to collaborate with the patient to find a solution that works for both parties. Not only will you increase the likelihood of being paid but you are building stronger doctor-patient relationships.  

Collecting payments from cash-strapped patients presents a significant challenge for healthcare providers, but it’s not insurmountable. By using technology to take a proactive approach to the challenges, medical practices can create a more efficient & compassionate environment for collecting payments from cash-strapped patients. A positive patient experience goes a long way in empowering patients to take control of their healthcare finances while ensuring the financial health of your practice.

For more about how you can improve patient collections, contact Healthbridge for an obligation-free practice health assessment. Healthbridge is the technology partner of choice to over 7,000 private healthcare practitioners, helping their businesses to thrive. Get in touch at sales@healthbridge.co.za & an experienced Business Consultant will be in touch.