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The RCM Cookbook: Making the Perfect Payment Process

Summer culture includes a variety of fun activities, including classic neighborhood barbeques, where everyone shows off their best grilling skills and shares their favorite recipes. As part of that, no barbecue is complete without the right sauce.

Similarly, finding the optimal patient payment processes for your practice requires the ideal mix of ingredients. Combining input from payers, providers and patients regarding their needs with the right tools and options will give you the perfect payment process blend – and put you on the path to a tastier revenue cycle overall.

Highlights from our 2018 Patient Payment Check-Up Survey Report offer insight on what’s in the secret sauce for a perfect payment process. The report, which we commissioned HIMSS Analytics to conduct, surveyed 1,000 patients and nearly 900 providers to pinpoint differing perceptions of providers who bill for healthcare and patients who are increasingly taking on more responsibility for a larger portion of their healthcare bill.

Here’s what the recipe for that secret sauce looks like:

1. Take one patient estimation tool. Patients want greater transparency around the cost of their care. Our survey respondents agreed if provided a cost estimate before or during their appointment they’d be more likely to pay their bill faster (46%), return for future care (68%), and recommend your practice to a friend (69%). With those statistics, patient estimates shine as the star ingredient of our patient payment recipe.

2. Add a robust set of digital communications and billing capabilities. Today’s patients are tech savvy and expect digital convenience for most services and industries, and healthcare is no different. Since or survey shows patients are comfortable sharing their email address (80.5%) and phone numbers (78.2%), and 45% prefer electronic billing methods, adding capabilities like an online portal, and electronic delivery of statements via email or text message will surely add depth to your overall payment recipe, not to mention speeding payment processes.

3. Mix in a variety of payment options. Online bill pay, automatic payment plans and the option to pay balances using a credit card kept on file are good ways to help make it easier for patients to pay more of their balance, faster. Providers also think these are good ways to reduce a host of revenue cycle woes, including the cost of collections, patient AR days and bad debt and write-offs. So add new payment options, tell patients about them, and watch your patient payments rise like a good loaf of bread dough.

Now, while your exact payment process ingredients may vary based on your patients’ and payers’ unique wants and needs, if you tailor this recipe and combine these ingredients in the right way, voilà, you’ll have your own perfect batch of RCM goodness.

Find even more tips and techniques to build a strong billing foundation in our RCM 101 series.

For more insights, discover what else patients are looking for from the payment process in our 2018 Patient Payment Check-Up Survey Report.