Collections: Guide patients through process

Q. What changes can I make to improve my collection rate?
Friday, April 25, 2014

A. Now more than ever, patient pay is a critical part of your revenue. Making a few simple process changes will earn you more patient revenue and lead to greater stability for your business. Let’s look at three easy improvements you can make to your patient payment process to improve your collection rate.

Focus on accounts that matter

All patient accounts are not created equal—they vary in size, amount and personality (your patients are, after all, human beings). Organize your patient accounts in a way that allows you to focus and work on Jim who owes $1,000 instead of Mary who only owes $10. The best way to do this is to organize all patient receivables in a single database so you can pull daily or weekly reports to use as a work list. Prioritize your top 10 accounts and work down the list from there.

Guide patients in the payment process

When talking to a patient about making a payment, shift from asking an open-ended question like “How would you like to pay today” to a question with specific options like “Will you be paying with check or credit card, or would you like to set up a payment plan?” Specific options will give patients a clearer path to selecting their preferred payment method.

Similarly, make sure that your online bill pay auto-fills the full amount owed instead of giving a blank for the patient to fill out. This small thing results in higher payment amounts.

Measure your results

Be sure to always measure your results as discussed in last month’s column. As simple as it sounds, do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

Kurt Lovell is COO of Patientco. Reach him at