Why we're thankful for patient self-pay technology


The time of year in which we give thanks for the things that make our lives wonderful is upon us. While we're certainly thankful for family, friends, and good health, we'd be remiss if we, as a company, didn't express our gratitude for some of the things that make our patient billing and payment industry so great.

Of course, we may be a little biased, but we happen to think patient self-pay technology is something worthy of the Thanksgiving wishbone. It's revolutionized the ways patients interact with their physicians' offices, and it's enhanced the way medical facilities do business.

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Here's a look at some of the reasons this 21st century payment invention has made people's lives easier:

Ease of Use

Although paper trails are vital in the healthcare industry, hardcopy paper forms can make the check-in process laborious. With touch screen kiosks, however, patients are gently guided from one screen to the next as they're prompted to enter their information into the system. Self-pay kiosks house patients' medical, demographic, insurance, and financial information. Through wizards and simple walk-through processes, even the most non-tech-savvy individuals can easily navigate self-pay kiosks without feeling intimidated by the technology.

Administrator Accessibility

Medical facilities that use self-pay kiosks have reported a pleasant decline in front desk congestion. According to HealthIT.gov's "Patient Engagement Playbook," 57% of patients studied performed in-office registration by way of a kiosk or tablet when this option was available. This means more than half of the patients in the study were more or less self-sufficient during the registration process. For each person who is able to perform the check-in process using a self-service platform, less time is required of individual medical administrators, allowing them to be available to answer essential questions and leading to a more engaged patient experience.

Beyond reduced congestion at the front desk, medical personnel typically spend significantly less time on the backend correcting paperwork errors. According to Patientway.com, "[U]p to 80% of billing office staff time is dedicated to rework due to registration data errors and incomplete information." With electronic entry systems populated directly by the patients, far less guesswork and error correction is necessary

[Free Infographic] How to improve patient collections

Optimizing Collections

As the responsibility for healthcare costs fall more and more onto patients, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for many facilities to collect payment. Patient self-pay technology secures payment early in the process, paving the way for improved collections. Front desk staff at medical facilities, by nature, are generally empathetic and caring people. When they're faced with the task of demanding payment at the time of service, many individuals feel uncomfortable doing so. AthenaHealth says it best: "Digital check-in tools can change the equation, vendors say. Machines don’t feel awkward asking patients to cough up a sizable balance. And they’re programmed to prompt patients to submit their co-pays."

Optimizing Patient Experiences

Because patients enter their information into digital systems, they're able to designate their preferred forms of communication. When patients can choose notification that work best for them, practices are less likely to experience no-shows, and they can easily send payment reminders and other important information to facilitate the flow of communication and optimize patient experiences.

Helping Practices Increase Revenue

All in all, patient self-pay technology is increasing revenue at every turn. Because administrators are less bogged down with paperwork, their work hours are spent helping patients and facilitating workflow. Fewer errors result in minimized claim denials, which is certainly a positive impact on a facility's bottom line. Engaged patients are more likely to pay their medical bills, particularly when the process is simplified by way of easy-to-use kiosks, and since technology facilitates the insurance claims process and keeps various forms of payment on file, practices are more likely to realize real revenue results in a fairly short amount of time after implementing this technology.

Patient self-pay technology has changed the way the medical world works. From patients to providers, kiosks and self-pay features have benefited anyone who interacts with healthcare in any way. As 2016 turns into 2017, and technology continues to evolve, we look forward to seeing what the future holds for the patient self-pay industry.