No-shows, scheduling fewer patients due to the pandemic, and bad billing practices all affect your bottom line. Throw in overtime, inefficient office procedures, and excessive administrative costs, and your healthcare practice is losing money. And, we haven’t even begun to discuss the headache of unpaid patient balances.
When you’re running a busy dental, vision, or other healthcare practice, who has time to focus on collecting lost revenue? You’re simply trying to make sure patients have a good experience, and everything runs smoothly and on time throughout the day.
If you’re like the majority of practices, you’re still trying to recover from 2020, and you’re too busy to send out overdue billing statements. However, you can’t afford not to recoup these losses. It’s a catch 22.
If you’re not sure what to do next – aside from working overtime so you can prepare and send overdue balance notifications – consider something you do every single day, multiple times a day: send text messages. Recovering lost revenue is really that simple. Here’s how to text, so patients click, and your practice gets paid.
Why should you send text messages to collect unpaid and overdue patient balances?
First, more than 70 percent of patients prefer to communicate via text, and 60 percent of them want to pay their bills online. Second, it’s good for patient satisfaction and building better relationships.
If you’re not familiar with it yet, SR Pay – our secure payment texting platform – makes it easy to collect outstanding balances from patients without the hassle of printing and mailing paper statements. Instead, SR Pay lets you text a payment reminder directly to a patient’s phone. From the text, patients click a direct link to a secure payment screen where they can pay the way they prefer with debit, credit, HSA, or FSA cards.
Texting is faster and helps you recoup more money.
We’ve heard from offices like yours that it takes an average of three paper statements to collect payment from one patient. That’s so much work for your team! Think about the number of patients you have at your practice, then multiply that number by three statements per patient, then include all the time, energy, and resources – paper, ink, envelopes, postage – just to recover the money patients owe for office visits, exams, and procedures.
To make matters worse, studies show that after 60 days, you only recover about 60 percent of an unpaid healthcare bill. That means, after all that time and effort, even if you do receive payment, you’re still losing money.
Here’s another important statistic: 95 percent of texts are read within three minutes of being sent. And, the average response time is only 90 seconds. That means sending text payment reminders quite literally speeds up your payment process and leads to higher collection rates – a big boost to your bottom line.
What else can you do to recover lost revenue?
Collecting outstanding balances sometimes takes a little creativity. One way to get timely payments is to offer payment plans for patients who have a hefty bill. Showing a willingness to be flexible lets patients know you care and you understand the financial challenges so many Americans are going through today.
As part of the payment plan, offer to keep a credit card on file and charge the card a monthly amount your patient feels comfortable with. That way, you get regular payments and patients know what to expect so they can budget for the monthly deduction.
Another option is third-party financing. Most dental and vision practices don’t offer third-party financing – something many patients want. It could be the deciding factor in whether or not a patient gets a recommended preventive treatment, or opts in for a procedure that will improve their health.
Finally, consider offering a discount for patients who don’t have health insurance and are paying out-of-pocket. Even a small discount shows empathy, which goes a long way in patient happiness. And, keeping patients happy means more positive reviews and more referrals – two more pieces of the puzzle that keep revenue coming in.