Americans’ lives are significantly impacted by the stress caused by money. Unfortunately, this stress carries over into their preventative healthcare as one in five Americans have either skipped or considered skipping going to the doctor when they need care because of financial concerns. On top of that, healthcare payment options often lack convenience and flexibility. Patients are more likely to feel financially confident about going to the doctor and paying their bills if they were offered payment options that suit their financial circumstances.
Online and mobile technologies prove to be monumental in changing how patients view and pay for their healthcare costs. With the majority of adults in the U.S. turning to the internet for information, healthcare organizations can get strategic about how they reach patients about their payment responsibility and use this platform to offer payment options.
Treating Patient Financial Engagement as a Priority
One of the main reasons the healthcare experience is stressful for patients is that they feel disconnected from the process. Oftentimes, they don’t know what to expect prior to their first visit and later receive unexpected bills that are unclear and difficult to decipher.
Developing a strong foundation of communication is key to making the patient feel at ease, even before stepping foot in your office. Prior to their first visit, make use of phone, mobile, text, and email to make them aware of what to expect upon arrival, including services and procedures that might not be covered by insurance. Include a “Prepare for Your First Visit” section on your website and make it easy to access from your organization’s homepage.
Many patients are not in a position to deal with an unexpected healthcare bill. The sooner the patient knows about costs, the more likely they are to pay for their healthcare bills. In fact, studies have shown that 70% of patients are more likely to pay a bill if they receive a cost estimate on the day of their service.
This is why it is so important to communicate clearly and often with patients to avoid unwanted surprises. With online payment tools, you can safely and securely present financial obligations and so much more to your patients right at their fingertips.
Provide Patients with a Variety of Online and Mobile Payment Options
As stress takes hold of patients amidst medical concerns and procedures, avoid fueling that stress with billing and payment hurdles. With the adoption of the payment platform, patients can pay the way they want using online and mobile payment options such as:
- Digital payment methods at online checkout (PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay)
- Patient Loans
- Payment Plans
Marketing of Online Payment Tools
Make your patients aware of the online payment tools at their disposal through multichannel marketing. The easiest, most personal way to do this is by word of mouth. When the patient checks in, you can ask if they have logged in to make a payment online yet. If not, provide them with login information and a list of benefits they can expect from utilizing this tool.
Additionally, you can create callouts on the homepage of your website. A short, attention-grabbing message explaining why the payment platform is an easy and secure way to view bills and make payments will do the trick. Another effective channel is email. In most cases, healthcare organizations have email addressed for their patients, even if they have not yet registered for a patient portal or payment platform. Craft a message that conveys the security, convenience, and ease of use of the payment platform, with a direct link to the login page. This puts everything they need right in front of them and they will be more likely to explore the tool.
Reduce patient stress by making them aware early and often of what to expect and the options they have. Convenient online tools with everything in one place (balances, options to pay) can go a long way for patients.
Is taking patient payments from home a new normal for your healthcare organization? Check out our webinar, where we get right to the point – how to navigate payment processing safely and securely from home.