By Travis Schneider, founder and co-CEO, PatientPop.
Running an independent healthcare practice isn’t easy, and few practices have the resources or bandwidth to chase down late payments. While most patients want to pay their bills on time, it’s clear that many don’t – which leads to an unhealthy revenue cycle that can threaten a practice’s success and/or growth potential.
A 2019 report indicates that 22 percent of physician offices said that 10 percent or more of all patient accounts go to bad debt, which can take months or even years to recover.
For those practices that have trouble collecting timely patients, taking a closer look at the organization’s billing strategy can often reveal several opportunities to get paid faster. By evaluating current practices and asking the right questions, practices can make important changes that can improve the long-term financial health and success of their practice. If your practice is struggling to collect timely patient payments, here are the top three questions to consider:
How Does Your Healthcare Practice Handle Invoicing?
Postal mail is a nearly obsolete means of collecting payment. Thus, practices that use paper invoices sent via the U.S. postal service are less likely to receive timely payments. From delivery delays to misplaced bills or stamps, there are simply too many ways a well-meaning patient can get derailed when trying to make a payment. That’s why digital invoicing and online bill payments are the wave of the future – and savvy practices know, it not only improves revenue cycle metrics but can also enhance the patient experience.
The Patient Pop’s Patient Perspective Survey for 2021 reveals that more than 50 percent of patients prefer a digital experience when it comes to paying their bills. Digital, transparent invoicing and billing can support a healthcare practice’s patient retention strategy too.
According to the same survey, more than a third of patients (36.4 percent) have left a healthcare provider in the last two years — and many cited issues with costs or billing as a primary reason for making the switch. Acceptance of digital payments makes it fast and easy for patients to make their payments.
By Travis Schneider, co-founder & co-CEO, PatientPop.
Developing a top-tier practice requires doctors to be more than great practitioners. If you do not have a loyal patient base and a positive reputation, you will only be facing an uphill battle in your path to success.
Your ability to attract and retain patients will depend on how well you and your staff understand your patients’ needs, especially with patients having more choices for healthcare than they ever have. Healthcare practices may feel the same pressures that brick-and-mortar retailers face now. Look no further than Walmart’s Health Center Program and Amazon Care to see what the future portends.
To gain attention and stay competitive, you will need to position your practice as a top-of-mind option for prospective patients. At PatientPop, we regularly survey patients to identify what they care about most concerning their healthcare experiences. Our 2021 Patient Perspective Survey results underscore the obvious: All private practices must consider patient feedback and nurture patient relationships to attain meaningful and consistent growth.
Fortunately, the blueprint for achieving this is straightforward. With the right technology and workflows in place, you can respond to patient feedback and deliver personalized patient experiences in a way that sets your practice up for success.
Cover Website Fundamentals and Claim Your Online Profiles
Today’s patients will turn to the Internet first when researching a physician’s capabilities and reputation. Our survey found that 74.5% of patients have done just this while looking for care or selecting a primary care physician or specialist. Therefore, your practice needs to have the proper online marketing fundamentals to capitalize on this trend. This process starts with tailoring your website and marketing channels to satisfy your ideal patients’ needs.
First, refine and optimize your website to ensure it is user-friendly and mobile-ready. To see where your website currently stands and uncover other improvement opportunities, PatientPop has created a “competitive scanner” that any practice can use to determine their online performance in their market, compared to others in their specialty. Within moments, the scanner offers a closer look at your Google rank, online reputation, overall web presence, as well as your website’s speed, searchability, and more. You can use your report as inspiration to make changes to improve your digital footprint and searchability.
Once you are comfortable with your website’s appearance and performance, optimizing your site to engage with prospective patients using Google is essential. The search engine giant currently owns an 88% market share of the online search sector, and we have found that it remains the search engine of choice for patients seeking new providers.