Last editedJul 20233 min read
Private healthcare practices need healthcare payment solutions that are both efficient and convenient. They also need to be highly secure. Implementing suitable healthcare payment process solutions makes for a better experience for both patients and staff. It can therefore help to ensure the success of the practice. Here are some key points you should consider.
Establishing clear payment policies
Implementing (new) healthcare payment solutions is a good opportunity to review your existing payment policies. Make sure that they clearly set out what is required from patients. In particular, make sure that you clearly set out payment method(s), billing cycles and any late payment penalties.
Ensure that your payment terms are enforced in your contracts and that you have compelling proof that patients have read, understood and agreed to these. For example, have your patients sign an agreement confirming their informed acceptance of them.
Implementing convenient healthcare payment solutions
Firstly, private healthcare practices will need to decide what payment methods they want to accept. While there are numerous options, two stand out. These are payment cards (debit and credit cards) and bank debits. All customers at private healthcare practices are practically guaranteed to have at least one of these.
If practices want to offer more options then they could add mobile payments and digital wallets (e-wallets). Mobile payments can usually be accepted with regular payment card infrastructure. Digital wallets are usually designed to be very simple to use.
With that said, the more payment methods you support, the more challenging you might find it to integrate your healthcare payment solutions with your other systems, e.g. your practice management systems. It’s advisable to assess this carefully before committing.
A note on international payments
Both payment cards and bank debits can be used to charge customers who are not based in the UK. Standard card readers can read cards from around the world.
The availability of international bank debits will depend on your provider. With GoCardless, you can charge customers from the EU, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as several other countries.
Streamlining the billing process
Using digital payment methods enables businesses to streamline their billing processes. Private healthcare practices will get the best results if they combine these with electronic health record (EHR) systems. This can enable businesses to implement frictionless payments.
For example, treatment records can be used to generate invoices automatically. These can then be charged automatically on their due date. Alternatively, they can be easily split into instalments to make the cost easier to manage.
Where possible, bills should be itemised and charges explained. Ideally, the explanation should be on the invoice itself. If that’s not practical, there should be a simple way for the patient to get the information. This could be a direct link and/or a QR code.
Training staff for effective payment collection
Before you go fully live with your new healthcare payment processing solution, make sure your staff members are totally comfortable with it. In addition to running live training, give them resources they can check any time they need a refresher. Depending on your work processes, these could be short videos or documents or both.
Try to think of the questions staff and patients might have and collate them as FAQs. Give your team an obvious channel for any questions they can’t answer themselves.
Enhancing communication with patients
With both payments and healthcare, it’s better to over communicate than under communicate. This is particularly true with payments that relate to healthcare. Using the right healthcare payment solutions can make this much easier and hence much less time-consuming.
In fact, some healthcare payment processing solutions can take care of some key aspects of communication for you automatically. For example, GoCardless automatically notifies customers any time an action is taken on their account.
You can expand on this by providing additional information. This could be via your website or by direct communication. Often, the most effective approach is a combination of both.
Typically, you would use your website for information relevant to all patients (or at least categories of them). You would use email to point people to the website and/or deliver personalised information.
Using payment information as business intelligence
Your healthcare payment solutions can provide valuable data that you can use to improve your private healthcare practice. Look for solutions that allow you to analyse it and/or export it to be analysed with other data.
We can help
GoCardless is a global payments solution (with award-winning customer support) that helps you automate payment collection. It cuts down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with and helps improve your bottom line. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.