How IVR Payment Technology and Automation Can Save Medical Practices Money and Improve Efficiency

Medical practices that are seeking to reduce administrative costs, improve staff productivity and improve revenue collection efficiency can benefit significantly by implementing an IVR Payments solution that incorporates Text Message payment reminders. Various studies have demonstrated that approximately 30% or more of patients choose to make bill payments after hours when that option is available.

Adding an automated Pay-By-Phone bill payment option, assisted by pro-active Text Messaging and Automated Voice message payment reminders can help medical practice get paid much faster, in addition to optimizing organizational efficiencies.

In a recent study (focusing on the impact of payment reminders on payments by phone only – not other payment avenues such as web payments), of one large medical practice in particular, during a normal billing cycle, automated voice reminders were delivered to all patients who had incurred charges during the most recent billing period and received their bill in the mail. However, this time there was a difference in that 21% also receive a TXT Message Payment Reminder. The results were interesting to say the least.

Of the patients who received just the automatic voice reminder, 6% payed their bill by phone right away, i.e. in a matter of days. However, among those who received both the automated Voice Reminders and Text Message reminders, 15% paid their bill by phone right away, a more than two-fold increase. Moreover, among these patients, nearly 1/3 – 31% – paid their bill that very same day. Keep in mind as well that the figures cited above are only reflective of the pay by phone payments, when all payment channels are taken into consideration the number of people who paid promptly is even higher.

The other interesting (and for medical practices grappling with when and how to best deploy their administrative resources) relevant metric is that 28% paid after hours and on weekend.

The same study produced an equally interesting and useful statistic when it came to using both automatic Voice reminders and TXT Message reminder for patient accounts that were delinquent, i.e. 60 or more days past due. Nearly 34% of those who paid did so paid by phone on the same day and 25% of the payments occurred after hours.

Two things to take away from these metrics are that 1) Employing more than one (1) type of payment reminder can be very effective in speeding up bill collection. While people may not always check their Voice Mail right away, adding a TXT Message reminder can significantly increase the probability of getting paid faster. 2) People want convenience when it comes to options for paying their bills. Various studies have shown that anywhere from 30-40% of patients pay their bill outside of normal business hours when that option is available.

Separate studies have also shown that implementing an automated Pay By Phone system can significantly increase staff productivity, by freeing up resources that are spent processing payments over the phone as well as conducting follow-up calls to patients who attempted to call during peak times and after hours. When there is an after-hours pay by phone option available, research has shown that roughly 1/3 of payments will occur during those times. You don’t need to deploy extra staff to handle this as it is all done automatically, so you free up staff time that is now being spent processing payment calls to either put to use elsewhere, or you may find that you simply need fewer staff and/or number of work shifts.

IVR Payments by phone cost a fraction of what processing payments over the phone by live agents does and can operate 24/7/365 without needing breaks, lunch, vacations or benefits. It provides your patients with the peace of mind of knowing that their credit card and other information is being protected and that they have a simple and convenient way to pay their bills, which will go a long way towards retaining their loyalty as well as helping them pay more promptly.

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Kim Pace, Director Patient Accounts and Revenue, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance