Medical billing: It’s probably not your favorite part of your job, but getting it right is essential to keep your doors open and continue delivering quality care for your patients. In this article, we’ll share tips for improving your healthcare practice’s medical billing process for greater efficiency, transparency, and profitability.
Benefits of Sound Medical Billing & Payment Processes
Having sound medical billing and payment processes in place introduces several operational and financial benefits for patients, providers, and practices alike.
Efficiency for Providers
For providers, cumbersome tasks like chasing down unpaid medical bills and disputing denied insurance claims greatly hinders productivity and gets in the way of delivering top-quality patient care. In fact, seventy-eight percent of providers reported they cannot collect a $1,000 patient balance within 30 days.
In other words, for most providers, the medical billing process is time-consuming and inefficient. Streamlining medical billing and payment processes allows providers to work more efficiently and focus their time and efforts on doing what they do best: running a successful practice and taking great care of patients.
Transparency for Patients
Modern healthcare consumers increasingly look for transparency regarding the cost of their care. Research demonstrates that cost transparency delivers greater patient satisfaction and is equally important for younger and older generations. In fact, 65 percent of today’s healthcare consumers said transparency about cost, or knowledge of the cost of care beforehand, is critical. Having sound medical billing and payment processes in place enables providers to be completely transparent with patients about the cost to them upfront.
Profitability for Practices
Last, but certainly not least, is greater profitability for healthcare practices. With standardized medical billing processes in place, practices can maintain a healthy cash flow, increase overall profitability, and maximize financial and operational performance.
Increased profitability comes not only from collecting bills faster and in full, but also from achieving cost-savings by eliminating redundancies and working more efficiently. It’s really a win-win across the board for everyone involved!
5 Tips to Improve Your Practice’s Medical Billing Process
Even if you know your practice’s medical billing processes could improve, pinpointing specific areas for improvement and identifying the right solutions can prove challenging. Here are five techniques to help you streamline and improve on the existing medical billing and payment workflows at your healthcare practice:
1. Accept digital payments on your portal.
These days, nearly every healthcare practice offers digital bill pay and patient portal access. By allowing your patients to pay their bills online at their own convenience, you can increase the number of on-time payments and deliver a great digital experience to align with modern consumer expectations. All at once, your medical billing processes will become more efficient and your patients will be happier with your digital offering.
2. Provide cost estimates and reminders.
Two-thirds of U.S. adults are worried about being able to afford unexpected medical bills. Sharing cost estimates with your patients in advance of an appointment or medical procedure improves transparency, as well as the likelihood that your patients will pay their balances in full.
In addition to cost estimates beforehand, you should also automate patient payment and collections processes by delivering outstanding balance reminders. This way, patients are prompted to make payments and guided through your online bill-pay process with ease.
3. Educate your staff on new processes.
To truly streamline and improve on your practice’s medical billing, you need to ensure everyone is on the same page and equally knowledgeable about your new process. Are you planning to introduce new workflows that staff members must learn and adapt to? Will you be changing your collections processes for overdue payments? However you choose to evolve your medical billing, make it a point to educate your staff on any new processes and tools so everything runs as smoothly as possible.
4. Offer patients flexible financing options.
With so many of today’s patients on high-deductible insurance plans, it’s no wonder they need flexible financing options to manage escalating healthcare costs. Giving your patients the option to pay outstanding balances over a period of 6, 12, or 24 months—while you’re paid nearly in full within 48 hours—provides cost flexibility for them and a healthier cash flow for your healthcare practice.
5. Stay up-to-date as medical billing evolves.
Much like healthcare, medical billing is an ever-evolving industry, with new regulatory requirements hitting the headlines all the time. To protect the financial health of your business and keep your internal payment processes in check, you and your practice staff need to stay up-to-date on the latest changes in the medical billing world.
There you have it. By following these tips and keeping a close eye on your practice’s medical billing and payment processes, you can work more efficiently, deliver high-quality care at a transparent cost, and improve your profitability for lasting success.