How to Improve Practice Revenue – Identifying Patient Payers

To improve your practice's revenue, you must identify and maximize each of the payer's arrangements because all payer groups are important, including patient payers. In fact, patients account for a big chunk — about 35% — of practice revenue, but many providers and their financial managers fail to notice this fact because patients aren't measured as other payer groups. As a result, many providers tend to lose out on their revenue stream, which of course, affects their profitability. 

There was a report published in 2006 by InstaMed, which uncovered that patients had experienced an increase of 162% in deductible burden during the 10 years preceding the report. From this data, you can see that patients have a great financial responsibility for their medical care. So, as a provider, you should have a clear strategy for identifying and obtaining payments from patient payers.

Creating a Strategy for Identifying Your Patients as the Payers

Your practice should create a robust strategy it can use to identify patient payers and obtain their payments so as to ensure complete reimbursements and enhance your practice's overall revenue. These are some steps you can take to achieve this:

1. Recognize Your Patients as Payers 

Patients are financially accountable to pay for their health care services, so you and your administrative staff should look at each patient as a payer. Always keep an open and transparent communication channel with your patient and let them know about their responsibilities and any financial policies that affect them. By carefully trying to understand each patient's situation, your administrative staff can easily identify patients with high financial responsibility.

2. Give Your Patients a Precise Cost Evaluation 

It has been revealed that about 89% of patients want to clearly understand their payment responsibility. Many patients even like to use technology tools to estimate their costs ahead of time. So, it makes no sense to leave your patients guessing. You should get all payment information and communicate it with your patients. When you provide your patients with the right information, patient payers will know their financial obligation and will be more willing to fulfill it.

3. Prioritize Patient-Payment Policies 

If you want to tap on the patient-payment revenue stream, then your practice should prioritize policies that would enable you to do that. Explore flexible payment policies that can be of benefit to both your practice and the patient.

4. Consider Digital Solutions 

The truth is that in this internet age, patients want a convenient and reliable way to manage their payments. So, your practice must have a platform that enables quick online payment options for your patients, as this can increase medical bill remittance. The iSmart EHR platform is perfect for that as it provides the option of online payments by just logging in.

Using the Patient Billing Function on the iSmart EHR platform

The iSmart EHR platform has a patient billing feature your practice can make use of. This feature is designed to allow you and your staff to create patient bills and manage payments. The system allows you to create a bill for a patient where the patient has a financial obligation and can be billed for the services rendered. 
With this system, you do not need to check every claim whether there was a deductible/coinsurance or not, or whether a patient has Medicaid or any other secondary payer, or whether the secondary claim is pending or paid. All of the above have been implemented right into the program, so you can easily create a patient bill when applicable without additional work.   
In addition to this feature, you can select multiple different claims for the same patient at once if you want to create a bill for these claims. Thus, you can save time while also improving your overall income. Furthermore, you can easily access the patient's ledger with the balance during a follow-up visit.

5. Monitor Your Key Performance Indicators 

Your practice has to always monitor key performance indicators. You do this by generating reports and then using the analytics to gain valuable insights. With certain key performance indicators, you will have valuable data that can be used to monitor and improve your financial goals.

While analyzing your payment data, you need to answer the following questions: 
  • Are you collecting more payments at the time of service? 
  • What percentage of payments collected are coming from the patients?
  • How is outstanding patient AR; is it decreasing? 
In each of these KPIs, you have valuable data for you to gauge the success of your patient payment strategy. 

In summary, seeing patients as payers is necessary for running a financially rewarding modern practice. With transparency and clear communication in every encounter with a patient, you and your patients can successfully arrive at the right payment scheme.