How Collections Solutions Can Help Your Practice Withstand Staffing Shortages

Staffing shortages have continued to plague many medical practices. To this point, healthcare leaders have expressed that the workforce is one of their biggest concerns. By 2025, the U.S. is estimated to have a shortage of approximately 446,000 home health aides, 95,000 nursing assistants, 98,700 medical and lab technologists and technicians, and more than 29,000 nurse practitioners. Not only does staffing have an impact on the delivery of care, but it can also affect administrative duties that are integral to keeping a practice running.

Operating with a skeleton staff can lead to staff burnout or medical errors. Many healthcare practices are evaluating what they can do to keep their practice running efficiently and their staff supported despite shortages.

Let’s dive into why the staff shortage is occurring and how technology can help ease the burden.

Why are Staffing Shortages Occurring?

The COVID-19 pandemic was the primary cause behind lingering staffing shortages, followed by the mental and physical toll that modern-day medical workers face. However, demographic shifts have also impacted the industry.

Frontline workers like nurses were leaving the practice during the pandemic, and there was an insufficient pipeline of new staff ready to take their place. The shortage didn’t just impact nurses and doctors, but as the industry experienced concerns about staff safety and burnout, it left many who oversee administrative tasks that support the front office seeking alternative opportunities.

With limited resources and support, ordinary tasks and processes such as patient communications, payment processing, and outreach have become increasingly overwhelming. Technology and automated solutions can minimize the bottleneck for healthcare workers, helping to level the workload for a stressed-out staff.

How Technology and Digital Solutions Can Help

Implementing the right technology can help make day-to-day functions easier for medical teams. Payment processing is one of those tasks that is often a complicated process and requires a lot of time, energy, and resources.

To make matters worse, the efficiency and success of a practice’s payment process directly impacts its bottom line. Therefore, finding a solution is critical. The good news is technology has come a long way in recent years. Out of the hundreds of manual processes and paperwork completed daily in healthcare, some estimates predict that roughly 60% to 70% of them can be offloaded to intelligent digital systems.

Here are some of the ways a modern payment solution can support staff:

  • Simplify data entry: Traditional payment processes require manual data entry, including patient contact and billing information. Not only is it time-consuming, but it increases opportunities for errors which can delay payment collections. Modern technology enables patients to enter their information directly, and some even allow them to securely store a card or payment method on file for one-click payments in the future.
  • Improve communication: Many medical practices have implemented a combination of mailed statements and phone calls to secure patient payments. These require many manual staff hours. Not only are these methods inefficient, but they don’t meet patient preferences — patients prefer digital methods. A US Bank survey revealed that 44% of patients pay medical bills faster when they receive digital or phone notifications about billing, and 49% would pay by text if available. Implementing a solution that allows your staff to send patient bills via SMS text and email can reduce the need for manual outreach. Some solutions even have the option to set up automated follow-ups.
  • Streamline reporting: Being able to quickly evaluate your outstanding balances is critical to running your practice and making informed business decisions. Modern payment solution systems easily track and monitor the status of all pending and received payments. This can provide a snapshot view of where your practice stands.

Automated solutions lower the necessary phone calls and practice visits, mitigate medical errors and streamline arduous payment processes overall. One billing company’s experience with digital payment processing allowed them drive more online payments and reduce billing related phone time by 85%. Redesigning the payment workflow with technology can make the revenue cycle easier on both staff and patients, resulting in a better experience and reduced strain on the medical team.

While technology may not be able to solve all of the problems facing healthcare practices, it can provide simplified solutions that enable staff to perform some tasks faster, allowing them to focus more on what truly matters: the patients. One automated billing system sped up the collections process by 20 times for one practice, which their patients greatly appreciated.

In the current environment where staffing shortages put increased pressure on medical teams, practice leadership should always be asking where they can automate and minimize the number of people involved in clerical tasks.

Automated payment processing addresses the staffing shortage by streamlining processes that support both a practice’s employees and the patients they serve. Learn more about payment collection solutions with Kareo’s latest e-book: How to Successfully Gain Team Buy-In for a New Patient Payment Solution.

About the Author

Kevin Clinton is the Director of Marketing, Payment Solutions and joined Kareo in 2019. He has more than 20 years of experience in Strategic Marketing and is...

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