Three Ways Your Physical Therapy Office Can Benefit from an Automated Payment System

As a specialty provider, the payment collection process for physical therapy practices can be very complex. Patients are often navigating many factors, including the cost of service and how to pay. Regardless of whether you provide cash-based services or accept insurance, a portion of the bill will often fall to the patients. Ensuring your practice is equipped to communicate and collect on patient payments is critical.

New technology has helped some practices simplify patient payments and maximize balance resolution. Automated payment systems are designed to streamline the patient payment process, with some enabling patients to easily view bills and pay in a variety of ways, including using Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Automated patient payment solutions can make the process easier for patients, but what about for your staff? How can these modern systems benefit your office? Let’s explore three primary ways an automated payment system can help your physical therapy office.

#1: Save staff time

An estimated 23.6 million Americans with employer coverage spend a large share of their income on premiums or out-of-pocket costs. Because patients are often responsible for a significant portion of the payment for physical therapy services, staff invest a lot of time tracking down payments. Creating a seamless process to monitor payments and easily conduct collection follow-ups is an essential aspect of saving time for your office staff.

Some automated patient payment collection systems offer a set-it-and-forget-it feature to send out payment reminders, freeing staff up for more timely tasks. These reminders can be scheduled to go out at certain intervals via mail, email or text, whichever the patient prefers.

#2: Increase revenue

COVID-19 had more than one impact on the healthcare industry. For 72% of physical therapy practice owners, revenue losses exceeded 50% at some point. Numbers have since gone back up, but industries nationwide have had to adjust to a post-pandemic society that increasingly relies on digital processes, especially for customer communications and financial transactions. To stay relevant and grow the business over time, physical therapy practices must look at new ways to meet their patients where they are.

A survey by U.S. Bank showed a strong consumer demand for modern options, with the top five ways for providers to improve the payment process being patient portal (37%), mobile app (32%), contactless mobile wallets (24%), pay by text (20%) and pay by scanning QR code (17%). To support their bottom line, many physical therapy practices have looked to adopt new technology to allow patients to make payments in a variety of ways. This can help staff collect payments at the time of service, which can reduce your practice's outstanding balances and keep your practice financially healthy.

#3: Improve patient experience

Improving the patient experience is vital to building a lasting relationship with your customers. With the average physical therapy clinic seeing between 101 and 200 patients each week, finding ways to prioritize the patient experience is imperative for your practice’s growth. Clinics can improve patient experience through contactless payment options, which expanded rapidly during the pandemic. To this point, 66% of consumers stated they would consider changing healthcare providers for a better payment experience.

Like many clinics, yours likely engages in more telehealth visits than in the past. The share of Medicare visits conducted through telehealth in 2020 increased 63-fold, from approximately 840,000 in 2019 to 52.7 million. Switching from physical billing to automated payment processing, can help increase patient-to-practice loyalty as they shift to telehealth appointments.

Kareo Patient Collect takes the headache out of patient collections by clearly communicating outstanding balances to patients at the right time, and on the right device. Its mission is to help practices collect more, faster. To learn how to successfully implement a new payment solution at your practice, sign up for the Kareo newsletter to receive a copy of our 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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