To stay competitive, your dental practice needs to deliver an outstanding patient experience that meets today’s consumer expectations while streamlining workflow and increasing operational efficiency.
As consumers are accustomed to the convenience of making purchases, paying bills, and managing their relationships with businesses digitally, they also demand such convenience from their service providers.
Many dental practices need to improve their patient billing and payment processing to cater to patients’ preferences. If you’re still sending out paper statements that require patients to write a check, find an envelope, and hunt for a stamp -- you’re making it hard for them to pay you!
Offering online payment not only helps you meet consumer expectations but also allows you to get paid faster so you can shorten the billing cycle and improve cash flow. Here’s how to leverage technology to improve billing and payment processing so you can attract and retain more patients:
- Ask your patients to select a preferred format for their invoices (e.g., electronic or paper statements) so you can deliver their statements in a way that’s most convenient for them. You can also include an e-mail opt-in on all paper statements to convert more patients to using digital formats, which can help streamline workflow, lower cost, and increase efficiency.
- Ensure that the information on the patient statements is clear, concise, and accurate. It should include the doctor’s name, services performed, date of service, and other basic information. You can use an all-in-one dental practice management platform with an integrated billing module, such as tab32, so you can automate the invoice generation to avoid errors and delays.
- Implement a user-friendly statement design so patients can easily understand their financial responsibilities. Patients who have difficulty reading their statements will call your office and increase your staff’s workload. Even worse, some patients will simply ignore the bill and won’t make the payment.
- Include clear instructions on how to make payments (e.g., a URL for sending payment online) on the patient statement. Highlight the payment amount with larger fonts and/or different colors. Streamline the online payment workflow to make it quick and easy for patients to submit payment, which will improve the user experience and make it more likely that patients will return to your practice.
- Divert all payments online when patients call to inquire about a bill or make a payment. Instead of having to enter payment information over the phone, which is time-consuming and error-prone, you can simply send patients to an online payment form so they can complete the process securely.
- Offer a variety of online payment options, such as credit/debit cards, e-check, bank transfer, and PayPal, to make submitting payment as easy as possible. You can also encourage patients to make an initial payment by offering installment plans, which can alleviate the financial pressure associated with a large dental bill.
- Tailor payment plans to your patients’ needs and the nature of their treatments -- the most common types are installment, recurring payment, and card on file. Implement payment plans by automating reminder emails and encouraging patients to set up automatic payments. This can ensure that patients are aware of the charges and you’re collecting payments on time.
- Enable mobile payment so patients can simply click on a link or scan a QR code to get directed to a payment page. This allows you to provide a convenient service to your patients while reducing administrative costs.
- Protect your patients’ sensitive information by adhering to the latest cybersecurity protocol. A data breach is a violation of HIPAA regulations and will cost you a hefty fine. It’ll also erode patients’ trust and damage your reputation. You can use a third-party service provider that offers a cloud-based dental practice management platform to ensure that you’re adhering to the latest regulations without a high IT cost.
- Integrate payment processing into your dental practice management system so patients can pay at the point-of-service, by web, by mail, by phone, and via payment plans. Besides the added convenience for patients, you can improve operational efficiencies with automation, improve cash flow by collecting payments faster, ensure compliance by substituting paperwork with electronic transactions, and improve performance with better reporting.
To increase patient acquisition and retention, you need to deliver a seamless online experience through the entire care continuum -- from a patient’s first website visit to submitting payment.
You can manage patient relationships online and lower your cost by implementing an all-in-one, patient-first dental practice management platform designed to deliver a seamless online experience while streamlining your workflow and boosting your profits. See how you can stand out from your competition here.
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