It’s no secret that today’s patients are no longer accepting the billing status quo.
If you sent your patient a paper bill now, it might go straight into the stack. And a phone call would probably go straight to voicemail. However, the medical industry—medical billing practices in particular—has fallen behind, and payment collection methods remain as clunky as ever. Meanwhile, other industries report vast revenue gains by communicating with customers using text messages—98% of which are read within two minutes.
As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, providers need to adopt modern payment methods such as Podium Payments to keep up with the payment experience patients expect. Because it’s not just about productivity and profit—it’s about securing your future and providing your patients with the care they need.
Recent Payment Trends Point to Text
While trends have been pointing to convenient, digital payment methods for a while now, the pandemic has exacerbated this movement. To stay relevant, healthcare providers need to offer the payment experience their patients have been asking for.
- 3 out of 4 consumers say changes to their preferred payment methods due to COVID-19 are likely to stay.
- If your practice only offers credit card, check, and cash payments, you’re missing 31% of US consumers’ top choices.
- Two-thirds of high-income consumers who have tried text payments either liked or strongly liked it.
How Does Podium Payments Benefit Your Healthcare Business?
- Get paid in minutes, not months
- Get paid regularly
- Increase security
- Decrease cost to collect payments
- Improve reporting
1. Get paid in minutes, not months.
The benefits of text messaging overshadow even the most diligent phone call follow-up system. That’s because reports show 82% of people don’t listen to a voicemail left by an unknown number. And the average medical bill takes 60-120 days to get paid. That’s over two months. Why does it take so long? Probably because many people set paper bills aside for a day designated for annoying tasks like opening mail, licking stamps, writing checks, and posting letters. Then there’s the time it takes for both the postal service and the bank to deliver the letter and process the payment.
Text messaging, however, allows people to respond to bill queries immediately. The convenience of texting is powerful. In fact, text-based billing yields a 300% increase in successful payments over traditional collection methods.
2. Get paid regularly.
An overwhelming 90% of customers say they’re willing to receive texts from businesses and brands. Unlike emails and letters, text messages don’t go unread. Targeting customers in a convenient medium that they already use means they can pay medical bills faster and without hassle.
That’s why implementing a text-based payment system cuts the standard 60 to 120-day payment period down significantly. And increasing the predictability of your cash flow can free up the financial resources needed to keep your business running smoothly.
3. Increase security.
There are patients who view paper billing as safe because of the possibility of digital identity fraud. But in reality, online and mobile transactions are just as safe, if not safer, than traditional paper billing. And paper billing comes with inherent security risks.
Nowadays, many consumers actually feel uncomfortable paying over the phone or dropping a check in the mail. In fact, only 3 in 10 US consumers feel comfortable paying by reading their credit card numbers over the phone.
Using the well-known and trusted secure payment technology of Stripe, text-based payment platforms such as Podium Payments allow medical providers to process payments with confidence. The fully PCI-compliant platform protects consumer information. It also helps safeguard your business against fraud and expensive chargebacks.
4. Decrease cost to collect payments.
Envelopes, stamps, and the personnel required to fold and pack a letter make paper billing a time-consuming, costly process. A digital bill-pay and collection system eliminates those steps, saving your bottom line while decreasing payment processing time.
“We figured, on average, we were spending $5 to send a statement,” reported Valley Immediate Care CEO, Brent Krell. Once his company started using Podium Payments, initially just for past due notices, they saw immediate results. “We were sending 600 to 700 statements per month. Just the savings in that alone pretty much pays for our Podium bill.”
5. Improve reporting.
Traditional paper-and-pencil and desktop reporting methods result in a disconnected customer record. To cobble together a report measuring response times and the rate of success of your billing department requires a significant administrative investment.
With a platform like Podium Payments, requests and payment status can flow into one, streamlined customer communications platform where nothing goes unrecorded. You can securely track all of your transactions digitally and understand your customers’ habits and buying cycles.
What Does Text-Based Billing Do For Your Patients?
While text-based billing offers you and your staff major benefits, you’re not the only ones who profit. The most important aspect of text-based billing is how it benefits your patients, drastically improving their experience with you. Here are five benefits to your patients for using text-based billing:
- Improve patient experience.
- Increase convenience.
- Improve sense of security.
- Increase loyalty.
- Improve confidence.
1. Improve patient experience.
The phone app—the one used to make actual phone calls—is the least popular communication feature on smartphones. In one study, less than half of respondents said they had used their phone to make a call over the previous seven days. On the flip-side, over the last decade, there’s been a 7,700% monthly increase in text messages sent via smartphone. The results are in: customers prefer text messages and have come to rely on this mode of communication for business and pleasure.
Using text messaging may also help medical companies reduce what customers perceive as “surprise” bills. In 2018, 93% of patients said a medical bill took them by surprise. Text-based billing helps mitigate the element of surprise. And, by making the payment record easily accessible from the same messaging platform, it can help build a stronger, more transparent relationship between the customer and company.
2. Increase convenience.
Checks used to be the standard for bill payments, but 58% of Millennials simply don’t use them. Now, seeing someone fish out a checkbook at the grocery or post office is rare. Even the concept of a checkbook is fading to obscurity. With the prevalence of online bill payments, few bills exist that require a paper check. Online payment options are even available for rent, mortgage, or HOA.
According to a recent report, consumers increasingly prefer digital payments options — including website payments, mobile wallets, direct pay platforms, and text links. Nearly 1 in 4 consumers abandon transactions entirely when their preferred methods of payment aren’t available.
3. Improve sense of security.
A common concern for those still using checks to pay bills is that their payment will get lost in the mail or intercepted by an identity thief. Online payments are not only faster but provide more security safeguards. Today, 75% of customers say they prefer electronic payment. By using the reliable security of payment processing platforms such as Stripe, medical providers can start serving the majority of their customers the way they prefer to be served.
Secure text link payments particularly appeal to your younger patients. According to a recent report, gen x, millennial, and gen z consumers are more likely or somewhat likely to try paying via a secure text link at a 38% higher frequency than consumers age 55 and above. Your younger patients are asking for text and they’re ready to make the jump.
4. Increase loyalty.
Customer convenience is an incredibly strong driver of overall brand loyalty. Leveraging text-based communication delivers a powerful message: medical providers understand customer needs and work to address them.
With the level of competition many medical providers now face, consumers forced to put up with outdated and frustrating payment processes will opt for another provider, no matter how long they’ve been a loyal patient. Medical providers need to adapt to the market by making payments simple and easy.
5. Improve confidence.
Stripe has grown into a well-known e-commerce powerhouse. Customers trust it by name. A business can leverage that trust by using a platform like Podium Payments. Combined with Podium’s feedback platform, users can offer their customers fast, reliable communication that delivers an unparalleled experience.
The medical industry is clamoring for solutions to outdated payment options that add up to unhappy clients, high overhead, and an unpredictable flow of income. Podium Payments is that solution. A modern text-based billing system that helps shorten revenue cycles and revive efficiency, it delivers a level of service that customers expect when they visit—pleasant, professional, and easy.
Free Tools To Get Started
Your patients deserve the convenience and ease that text-based billing provides. And your staff deserve to have the load of phone tag and paper billing taken off their shoulders. With text-based billing, you significantly benefit your patients and your practice, optimizing your processes and raising your bottom line.
Podium empowers 90,000+ local businesses of all sizes to get their money faster by allowing them to
- Send and collect bills instantly
- Process payments securely
- Provide a modern patient journey
All through the power of text. See how Podium can help your practice lower accounts receivable by watching this demo.