When most Americans think of healthcare payment systems, they think of high costs, complex billing, and even more complex ways of paying. Healthcare is a difficult world to navigate, more so by the day, and it’s rare to find an advocate or an organization willing to help you light the way.
Across the industry, healthcare payment challenges slow the pathways of effective care. Insurance companies, healthcare provider offices, and patients themselves are simply too busy to find the right healthcare payment solutions to suit their own needs—much less everyone’s—but there is a cure to this ailing model.
Enter COVID-19 and, with it, digital payments. Changing the way people and businesses around the world spend and accept money, digital payment solutions are revolutionizing the healthcare industry with their real-time speed, ease of use, and the ever-growing comfort level of today’s consumer.
But while digital payments change the way money moves for everyone, the needs of patients and their healthcare providers remain as different as ever.
Patients want it
Contactless payments are the safest way to efficiently manage bills for doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, and any on-site healthcare needs. Kiosks, digital wallets and tap-to-pay credit card payment solutions let consumers make a contactless payment from a distance, putting their money directly into the system and their minds at ease while also improving the patient experience.
Outside of the healthcare provider office, digital payment options like electronic medical billing and online payments also keep healthcare payment transactions clean by reducing physical contact and prioritizing patient security. Patients can pay for healthcare costs when it’s convenient for them and from the comfort of their own home. Providing more payment options also provides a better consumer experience for those who are recovering from a procedure or treating an ongoing ailment, as well as those suffering from situational anxiety.
Easy is everything when it comes to healthcare payment systems and patient payments. Frictionless transactions are a stress-free solution, winning customer loyalty when sensitivity is high. Easy-to-read healthcare bills lay out things like insurance coverage, cost of services and payment information clean and clear, communicating that the client’s health is the healthcare organization’s top priority—not revenue.
Affordable options and cost-effective healthcare services that fit into the budget are always top concerns when it comes to healthcare billing and payments. Consumers want payments that they can manage and track. Healthcare payment plans provide a good payment experience that relieves the pressure to pay for large costs quickly. This kind of payment solution allows consumers to better manage their own cash flow by spreading some payments out into the future, giving ample time to cope with their current diagnosis and any future financial consequences.
Patients want to know that they’re in good hands. Secure patient payment transactions speak not only to healthcare provider compliance, but also to credibility, dependability, and trust. When healthcare organizations lose a patient’s payment data, they’ve lost their trust and typically that means they’ve lost that person’s business.
When passing on the healthcare payment responsibility to a patient, new healthcare payment systems can help reassure them that their payment is going exactly where they intend it to, even if they don’t see it changing hands.
Providers want it
In the United States, healthcare is big business. Medical practices and health systems maximize revenue when they serve as many clients as possible in as short a time as possible. Catering to a client’s healthcare payment preferences is just one way providers can ensure a steady stream of customers—and revenue.
When provider’s healthcare payment systems align with consumer expectations and consumer trends, it’s a win-win healthcare experience for everyone. For medical practices, favoring digital healthcare payment solutions over traditional, manual processes speeds up collections and payment processing. This enables both providers and health plans to get paid faster, meaning more money changes hands in the same amount of time, maximizing revenue, and minimizing manpower.
Chronic illness is nothing to be celebrated, but as with every business, repeat customers are key to provider success. In the healthcare payments industry, recurring and automatic payments are essential to creating and maintaining a robust growth rate for healthcare providers. With digital payments, it’s easy to set up a regular billing schedule where clients and practices both can set it and forget it.
Optimizing the healthcare payment process also means shortening the time between billing, payments, and payment processing. Creating tighter, more efficient revenue cycle management benefits everyone. Providers get paid quickly. Patients are satisfied with simple solutions that are fast and easy and they’re happy to come back.Historically, practices using paper was a business norm. From doctor’s offices to insurance providers, paper has been the preference across the entire healthcare system for decades. But current trends signify the need for a shift from the traditional model to one where payers prioritize patient experience and consumer preferences over their own.
Paper slows business down. It requires time, diligent cataloging, and filing. It’s messy. It welcomes compliance issues, errors, misplacement, and damage. It slows down the revenue cycle. It’s outdated, and it makes payment processing a pain.
With automated record keeping and near-infinite storage capacity, digital payments streamline bookkeeping and payment processing, allowing patients and healthcare providers to easily manage compliance and align with insurance companies with little to no headaches. Your bank can help you make the leap to quick, secure digital payments with new software and hardware designed for modern providers.
About the author: Phil Muscato is Market President and Commercial Sales Leader with KeyBank in Rochester. He may be reached by phone at 585-238-4159 or email at [email protected].
This material is presented for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individual tax or financial advice. Please consult with legal, tax and/or financial advisors. KeyBank does not provide legal advice. KeyBank is Member FDIC.© KeyCorp 2023 CFMA #230905-2231228v