Payment collection remains a challenging part of revenue cycle management for healthcare practices. A gradual increase in healthcare premiums and the large deductibles that tag along with insurance plans mean that patients have to shoulder a considerable part of the financial responsibility of getting treated.
With time, the number of Americans with medical debt has kept increasing. The 2023 Scorecard on State Health System Performance report states that there is a total of $88 billion of medical debt on consumer credit records captured in 2023.
According to RCM experts, these patients aren’t refusing to pay. In most situations, they are not in the right position to take up the financial responsibility. The first step to addressing patient debt is to be empathetic and find solutions that work.
Here is where personalized payments come into play.
One of the critical end goals of RCM services is to generate and collect revenues. Patient medical debt, when it keeps building, will affect the effectiveness of revenue cycle management strategies and bring down the financial stability of healthcare practices.
Let’s talk about personalized payments. What are these, and how would they help revenue cycle management efforts?
Personalized payments are a group of strategies that create a win-win billing situation for patients and providers.
Personalized payments give back control to the patients, bring a sense of empathy to the collections process, and ensure the patients aren’t pushed into a corner to make larger payments they cannot afford.
Components of a successful personalized payment plan
1. Transparency – most patients now don’t want to pay if their bill is confusing. RCM service providers must create a system of having transparent charges captured in a way that’s easier to comprehend by patients.
2. Flexibility – flexible payment plans are the need for the day in healthcare. Payment plans help patients split larger bills into manageable portions that may be easier to pay.
3. Tailor-made – tailor-made payment plans are made keeping in mind each patient’s affordability, needs, and comfort. AI tools already in the market can process tens of thousands of patient information and find a payment plan that may work for the patient best. These tools are the future and must be utilized.
4. Technology-adaptable – if you want to offer innovative, well-thought-out, and smart personalized payment plans, then you need the help of adaptive technology.
5. Smart payments – your patients should be able to pay via their phones, through an email link, or even through a simple phone call. Making payments more accessible and more innovative will help improve revenues and bring down write-offs.
Finding a balance between human interaction and RCM technology
The best strategy for implementing personalized payments is finding the right balance between human interaction and technology in RCM services.
Training the RCM service providers on personalized payment strategies will help the team handle out-of-pocket payments better. Having on-site experts will help patients understand their obligations well in advance and be better prepared when they are billed.
RCM technology, on the other hand, can help patients make payments through various portals and platforms and choose to pay in a way that works for them.
At a time when patient debt is increasing exponentially, offering personalized payment plans is not a choice anymore. Service providers must do everything possible to tweak their existing RCM operations and make it easier for patients to fulfill their financial responsibilities.
The fact that such personalized payment solutions improve patient experiences is an added benefit. Patients are end-consumers in the healthcare industry. A service needs to be tweaked to exactly match the needs of the consumers, and that’s why your RCM operations must be reworked to open up opportunities for personalized payments.
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