We examined the patient payment patterns in 2019 of 5 different medical practices in metropolitan areas. The 5 practices comprised of Pediatric and OB-GYN specialties. We selected these practices because they use the full suite of Innovative Billing patient payment products which include: statement processing and mailing, online bill pay, pay by phone, auto posting of payment, and cloud based in-office chip card readers. The data for these practices was holistic because all payments made out of office and in office were recorded to examine patient payment patterns in 2019.
How We Performed the Study
The data gathered for this study was collected from a secure, cloud-based gateway which captured all payments made in office and out of office. The combined patient payment transactions reached a total of 45,271 with payments made in the office totaling 37,982 (84%), payments made online 4,979 (11%), and payments made by phone 2,263 (5%).
What We Learned
The findings of this study confirm the best time to collect patient payment is face to face in the medical office because it’s an organic time to request payment. Out of the 45,271 patient transactions, 84% took place face to face in the medical office. Even with excellent face to face payment solutions, there were 4,979 times patient chose to pay their bill online after receiving a statement. Most of the online payments in this study auto posted directly into the software. The online payments demonstrate patients are still looking for traditional paper statements in the mail. Innovative Billing places an online bill pay option on the patient statement and 11% of patients chose to enter their payment online instead of calling in payment to the billing department.
Why It Matters to Your Practice
This study matters to practice managers and medical billing companies because it shows how important face to face interaction is with patients, especially when discussing financial conversations. With high deductible plans gaining participation, medical front office staff need to be trained on how to handle patient payment conversations. Many medical practices have resorted to kiosk systems as an effective way to collect patient payment, streamline the patient payment experience, and distance themselves from financial conversations. These systems may or may not be a fit for your practice depending on the type of kiosk system and if it integrates with your PM and EHR software. Finally, it’s important to understand the finding of this study because your practice needs to stay in peak financial health. It’s also important when discussing financial conversations with patients to understand the impact rising healthcare costs have on their family and work to ensure care is affordable for the practice and the patient. In the end, medical offices are running a business and at the same time serving real people with hopes, fears, and dreams.