Why all the fuss about mobile payment?
Patient’s increasing mobile smartphone usage in personal, professional, and leisure is driving the medical field’s need to implement mobile payment systems at point of care and post care to ensure patient payment is collected in full. Traditional payments systems like cash, card, and check are slowly decreasing as the preferred method of payment because it’s faster and easier to pay using Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and other mobile wallet applications.
Near Field Communication (NFC) icons are now present at gas stations, ATMS, and even Redbox, with a host of other retailers offering POS systems that enable consumers to pay by tapping their phone on the NFC icon on the credit card machine or chip card reader to make a payment.
Online merchants are now aware of visitors with Apple pay and offer the ability to pay by simply selecting “Pay with Apple Pay.” To some this ability to make payments using a smartphone may seem new and even daunting, however, once smartphone users are able to see the ease of purchase and assurance of security, the ability to pay with a smartphone without physically handling a credit card, can be a game changer for some.
So why are mobile payment trends important to a medical practice?
92% of Millennials (ages 23-38) own a smart phone and communicate and use mobile payment in personal, professional, and leisure, except when visiting most medical practices. Millennials are now the largest percentage of workers in the labor force at just over 33% and medical practices need to engage and connect with this patient base to collect more payments.
There are a few road blocks to implementing a mobile payment system for your practice.
First, many mobile payment systems are one dimensional and opt in all patients into the system at once.
The issue with a universal system is some patients do not want to pay through mobile and prefer traditional forms of payment. Second, many mobile payment systems do not integrate with your PM or EHR software, so it creates more work for your staff to manage the mobile payments instead of streamlining payments directly into your software. Third, most mobile payment systems lack in reporting for medical practices as payments do not always match the patient’s account number. The reason this is an issue for billing departments is family members may pay for a patient and the credit card transaction report shows the name on the payer’s credit card and not the patient. This makes reconciliation difficult as the billing team doesn’t know where to apply the patient’s payment and doesn’t want the patient to call in upset because they paid their balance.
I want you to succeed when implementing a fantastic mobile payment program to engage patients and increase cash flow.
Here are 5 questions to ask before implementing a mobile payment system at your medical practice:
- Can your current credit card machine or chip card reader accept NFC (Near Field Communication) payments?
- What generation are your patients? (ex: baby boomer, generation x, millennial, generation z)
- Will the mobile payment system integrate with my Practice Management software?
- Will the mobile payment system have the capability to auto post payments into my software?
- Is the mobile payment system one dimensional or does it offer other methods of payment, too?
If you can answer these questions confidently, you are on your way to engaging your patients to transform the patient payment experience and your billing department forever. Good luck out there.