By Christopher Wolfington
I’ve noticed that streamlining payments is a common issue for healthcare providers. That’s why I’ve done my best to address it.
A high-quality clinical experience is usually at the forefront of all healthcare providers minds, and rightfully so. Yet, while it’s important to ensure that each patient is getting a high-level of care while they are being treated, what happens after they go home and are left with a huge medical expense, one that may hinder them from receiving similar care in the future?
As the industry becomes progressively more value-based, this payment problem is becoming more important than ever. Providers struggle to find ways to incorporate actionable payment plans into their clinically-prioritized system.
Provider financial objectives for patients usually boil down to three main issues:
- How can we free up cash flow?
- How can we eliminate internal and external collection costs?
- How can we increase revenue opportunities?
The solution is usually incredibly simple – patient engagement.
Patient engagement is a growing trend in the healthcare industry. Some common examples of patient engagement tools you may recognize include web-based patient portals and cloud-based solutions.
Tools like these enable patients to take an active role in their own care, which is a great motivation to take initiative and understand their entire healthcare experience. After implementing patient engagement strategies, providers increasingly see great outcomes in:
- Enhancing patient care
- Improving patient retention and volume
- Educating patients on processes, procedures and at-home care.
Yet streamlining payments, one of the most common patient and provider concerns, is still a hugely untapped patient engagement opportunity.
So how can we leverage patient engagement tools to streamline patients?
Price Transparency and Communication
Most of us would shy away from shopping at a store that kept all of their prices secret. Would you be cool taking your milk and cereal home and then waiting for a huge bill? I wouldn’t either. And yet, this is the model for many healthcare providers.
Instead of leaving your patients in the dark, streamline payments by being transparent about pricing.
Patients have a right to know how much services are going to cost. This enables them to better prepare for how they will manage their payments, establishes good will, and gives greater peace of mind.
Payment Commitments and Options
The best way to avoid the dreaded “oh no” moment from a lump sum is to establish payment plans, both before and after care. If balances are communicated ahead of time, patients can reduce the financial burden and better manage their healthcare payments. This is easily done through education, which empowers patients to choose the right financial plan for their unique situation.
Despite the mounting medical debt throughout the country, most patients are willing and ready to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses. They simply don’t have the right tools or education to do so. By emphasizing patient engagement, healthcare providers can better streamline payments.
Christopher Wolfington, Chairman and CEO of FinPay, LLC, is a business leader and entrepreneur with over 29 years of experience in consumer and financial services. Mr. Wolfington is currently living in Philadelphia, PA and continues to use his entrepreneurial talent to identify key opportunities and solutions in high growth markets.