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You've taken the leap and launched your online patient payment portal. Congratulations! But why are you still mailing so many paper statements?
As more patients point and click to settle up, the less you should be printing and mailing billing statements. It's time to start inviting patients to opt out of paper billing so you can maximize the benefits of your online payment system.
Reaping the Benefits
The paperless route for outbound statements and inbound payments is a win-win for providers and patients alike.
Cost savings. Obviously, when patients opt to go paperless, providers immediately trim expenses for paper, printing, and mailing. Given the high volume and frequency of patient billing, even a moderate reduction in outbound bills can help providers reap considerable cost savings.
Immediacy of cash flow. Payments made online are usually processed more quickly in comparison to mailed payments since automation eliminates most manual payment processing and posting tasks. Patients can check their updated balances online to confirm they're settled up, while you benefit from that payment without delay.
Easy, real-time tracking. For providers and patients alike, online payments can provide immediate and accurate account status information. Providers and patients can see where accounts stand in the moment and at any time around the clock. Additionally, emailed statements can be tracked to confirm the message was successfully delivered.
Making the Transition
While the benefits of going paperless are numerous, providers can't arbitrarily cease sending mailed bills. For most organizations, patients must consent to opting out of receiving paper statements. Here are just a few ways to help foster the transition to paperless billing.
At registration. Not only should you encourage enrollment in online payment while patients are registering, but you should also invite them to opt out of paper billing at the same time.
On printed statements. Make every piece of printed billing material a reminder that patients can opt out of paper by including a reminder that paperless billing is an option, and by listing the online payment portal website address where patients can pay their bills online and opt out of paper bills.
On the online portal. Prompt patients to make the decision to go paperless within your online portal and make it part of the registration process. Display a message on the landing page and within auto-generated email confirmations as well.
Tout a discount. Provide a small financial incentive to patients who opt out of printed statements. Whether you take a set dollar amount off the patient's balance or give a percentage discount off the next statement, this motivates the patient to go paperless.
People power. Make the paperless pursuit an internal objective, especially for staff members in patient-facing financial service roles. Train the financial services team to mention opting out during all reasonable interactions, and consider incentives for those who successfully and measurably convert patients to paperless billing.
Issuing the Invitation
For some patients, paying online is the status quo. For others, it's a natural evolution to move away from mailed statements. No matter where they are on the spectrum, there's no denying that most patients want the ability to settle up electronically. Many of them don't just prefer online payments but also want to opt out of paper payments altogether. All you have to do is make the invitation and reap the rewards.
Emdeon Patient Pay Online can help your organization improve cash flow and reduce billing costs with less effort and paperwork. Call 877.EMDEON.6 (877.363.3666) to learn more.
Publication Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2012