Convenient Single-Source Payment Experience Drives Patient Satisfaction and More

Keeping patients satisfied is a driving concern in healthcare today. Traditional healthcare providers face competition not just from other providers, but from new players in the consumer retail space and even pharmacies. In addition, patients increasingly expect convenient online access to healthcare, information and billing/financial services. 

Patients exist in a consumer-driven environment. It’s hardly a surprise that they evaluate their level of satisfaction on the entire healthcare experience: from preservice to the financial engagement that follows every episode of care.

Put another way, patients experience their entire healthcare journey as a single brand, with every touchpoint along the way influencing their satisfaction and loyalty. Delighting patients along their healthcare financial path means:

  • Preparing patients in advance of their care with estimates and expectations of their financial obligations 
  • Providing personalized billing options—pay in full, prescribed payment plan, financing or financial assistance—that fit each individual patient
  • Making it easy for patients to self-serve, which allows them to pay when and where it’s most convenient
  • Providing billing and reminders in the channels that patients prefer and respond to best, whether it’s email, text, phone, print or a precise combination 
  • Answering billing-related questions from patients quickly and confidently over the phone or in your facility

Connecting patients with a personalized and consistent payment experience is a high standard that’s highly attainable. An all-in-one financial solution ensures you have one view of the patient at every point of interaction. This provides your staff with consistent information and empowers them to answer patient payment questions quickly and accurately. 

A comprehensive solution can provide a powerful edge in the competition for attracting and retaining patients. When a modern patient-centric payment portal is paired with payment processing and automated reconciliation—a single-source provider—you receive other benefits too: a significant reduction in reconciliation time and write-offs, savings on processing fees, fewer vendors to manage, and impressive economies of scale from eliminating additional gateway fees.

Important considerations

Switching payment providers may seem daunting, but it can be straightforward with an experienced partner to help guide the process. Three key factors in that process are tokens, processor-specific hardware and merchant service contracts.

Tokens are specific to each payment vendor. They are used to protect sensitive payment information related to cards and bank accounts. Tokens also protect personal identity information that is stored in the payment solution, playing a critical role in preventing a data breach and lost data. 

When a payment vendor changes, tokens must either be released by the current payment vendor or replaced by the new payment vendor. If this change process is holding you back from a better overall payment experience for your patients, work with an experienced partner to evaluate the mix of one-time payments and recurring payments (such as payment plans) that use tokens. Together you can build a strategy that enables this change with minimal negative impact to your patients and your team.

Payment Hardware needs to be configured based on the merchant processor. That requires understanding which devices are compatible with the new merchant processor and the functionality required for the devices. It’s also important to consider the type of environment in which payments will be made (i.e., at point-of-service or via a call center agent), which helps determine the type of hardware that will need to be supported. 

Lean on your payment vendor to assist with your hardware strategy. The strategy may even include deviceless payments that allow patients to interact with your staff but use their own devices when inputting their private card or banking information.

Merchant Services Contracts, which are legally binding between healthcare providers and merchant services vendors, spell out specific terms and pricing. The contract terms enable a healthcare provider to accept forms of payment and allow them to adhere to card brand rules and regulations. 

Providers need to understand their current contract obligations and potential fees that may be associated with early termination. When you weigh contractual commitments against the potential patient experience benefits—and financial improvements—the ROI can be compelling.

Bottom Line

The ideal payment partner should be a skilled technologist, expert in patient experience and behavioral analytics, and expert in payment processing and healthcare revenue cycle—but they must also be your guide, saving you time and money. Core payment-related changes don’t have to be obstacles to remarkable payment results: 

  • Up to a 35% self-service rate, which indicates patients’ eagerness to pay when they can make payments when and where it is most convenient for them
  • A 2.5 times increase in eBill adoption, another powerful indicator that patients appreciate ease of electronic payments
  • A 1.55% payment rate increase (the amount paid versus the amount billed)
  • A 50% reduction in the time it takes to conduct manual reconciliation
  • Savings of up to 10% on processing fees

Patients want to pay their bills. Giving them the best tools makes the payment process easier, generating stronger bottom-line results and enhanced patient loyalty.

Partnering with an experienced vendor can help healthcare providers evaluate the steps involved in switching to a single-source payments provider. Careful evaluation of tokens, payment hardware and merchant services contracts will help reveal if the benefits outweigh the challenges. 

Keeping the patient financial experience top of mind will lead to outcomes that are best for everyone.

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