dental-payments

3 Reasons to Revisit your Patient Payments

With so many competing priorities, many dental practices don't pay much attention to their patient payments.  Here are three reasons why it might be worth revisiting your patient payment solution.

Payments impact all functions of a dental practice: marketing, finance, technology, and operations.  Since managing patient payments has historically been much less complex than managing insurance claims, many practices rarely systematically evaluate their patient payment solution.  But technology improvements, patient expectations and changes in the payor landscape are shifting the patient payment landscape.  These shifts will impact dental practices, creating opportunities for some practices, while catching others unprepared.

 

Here are three to revisit your patient payment solution:

Reason 1:  Payments is a major lever to improve financial performance and boost valuation.

Most practices invest significant effort in patient acquisition efforts and insurance revenue cycle management, as these are correctly viewed as key levers to improve financial performance.  But many dental practices don't recognize the value that payments can play in boosting practice valuation.  Consider:

 

  • The payment options a dental practice provides and how they are presented plays a major role in driving revenue through improved case acceptance. Case acceptance, in turn impacts inbound marketing metrics such as return on ad spend, patient attrition, and overall practice production.  

 

  • Receivables aging can be greatly reduced with a good payment technology.  One FeatherPay dental client implemented contactless and mobile payments across their seven locations.  They found that 19% of their patients paid their dental bill on their mobile device. Unsurprisingly, their collected revenue also increased by 30%.  

 

  • Payments can expand margins.  Payments offer dental practices many ways to expand their margins through better operations.  For example, thinking critically about balancing practice managed payment plans and third-party financing options is not common for most dental practices.  But implementing a few basic principles can improve margins by 4-10%.
Mobile payments with FeatherPay
Enabling patients to pay their bill remotely improves receivable aging

Reason 2:  Patient expectations on payments are shifting.  Quickly.

Digital commerce has become ubiquitous.  Patients are beginning to expect the same easy experience from their healthcare providers as they do while shopping online or paying their mobile phone bill.  In a 2019 study, 40% of patients said they’d change healthcare providers over a poor intake or billing experience.  More importantly, almost 20% of patients had already switched providers for that reason.

 

Dental practices are particularly at risk of patient attrition, as most patients receive dental care independently from other health care that they pursue.

 

Fortunately, patients have been explicit in articulating the healthcare payment changes would improve the patient experience.

 

  • Mobile driven payment experience that's compatible with contactless payments.  COVID-19 resulted in a step change in contactless payments utilization, but 74% of patients say they will continue to use contactless payment methods even as COVID risks subside.

 

  • Modern patient engagement methods such as email and text reminders to pay.  31% of patients said they pay medical bills faster when they are prompted to pay from email or text.

Reason 3:  Good payments systems simplify location expansion, whether organic or inorganic

Every dental practice wants to expand their geographic footprint.  But whether they're opening a second location or a seventieth, practice expansion is hard to do well.  Among the many challenges that practices face when expanding their offices are:

 

  • Capturing economies of scale in functions like billing is important for financial success but without the proper software tools, these savings can be elusive.  Good patient payment software enables staff to effectively manage billing, collections, and auditing across locations.

 

  • It is important that staff in a new location are well equipped and well trained in how to talk with patients about their treatment options, but without the proper tools quality assurance can be difficult.  Payment software tools can help support and ensure effective conversations with patients.

If you are interested in improving your patient payments experience, then FeatherPay may be able to help.

 

FeatherPay is a patient payment platform that accelerates revenue and lowers operational costs for dental practices, while delivering a great experience for patients. FeatherPay consolidates all the different ways your practice enables payments, whether for treatment plans, invoices, membership plans or other practice services, into a single experience for patients and administrators.

 

Practices that use FeatherPay have seen a 5-20% increase in their revenues as well as improvements in operational metrics such as same-day care, patient times in the office, and unpaid patient liabilities.

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