Remove the Barriers for Patients to Pay Their Bill

In 2000, patient payments accounted for only 5% of total healthcare provider revenue. By 2017, that figure grew to 35% and is expected to continue to increase each year with the further adoption of high-deductible health plans.

Why it matters: Efficiently collecting outstanding patient responsibility is no longer nice to have; it’s a need to have for financial stability and growth. However, almost 90% of healthcare organizations are still relying on mailed paper statements, phone calls, and manual processes as the first line of defense for collecting outstanding patient balances even though that’s not what patients want, according to a 2020 InstaMed report.

The problem: Revenue cycle teams have their work cut out for them in 2021.

  • Patients’ expectations and desire for conveniently making payments has shifted rapidly in the last few years thanks to using Amazon one-touch pay, ApplePay, Shopify, or Venmo.
  • Patients just want to securely pay their medical bills in the easiest manner possible — preferably on a smartphone — and get back to their lives.
  • Paper bills are archaic. Finding a checkbook and a stamp and going to the post office is rarely going to happen.
  • There are plenty of new solutions for “patient financial engagement” but those solutions aren’t really any easier for patients.
  • Digital portals are cumbersome (especially ones relying on codes or ID numbers printed on …. yup, a paper bill), and downloaded apps for the occasional one-time use are annoying.

The Patient-centered Payment Solution: CueSquared’s Direct MobilePay makes patient billing easy for patients and even easier for revenue cycle teams. We’re leveraging text messaging, or SMS technology, to send a payment notification taking patients to a secured one-touch payment screen.

There’s no app to download, no portal to log into, no paper statement to find. All they have to do is make sure their bill is correct and make payment by entering a credit card number. We’re not looking for ongoing ‘engagement’ from patients with MobilePay; we don’t want the patient to have to ‘work’ to make a payment.

Just open the text, tap ‘pay’, and they’re done.

For revenue cycle teams: Our approach automates away most of the work for them. There’s no lengthy implementation. There’s no ongoing maintenance after MobilePay is set up. In fact, there’s really no software to even use. MobilePay just runs in the background, invisibly sending texts to patients, collecting payments, depositing those payments and reconciling accounts on behalf of rev cycle teams.

How many revenue cycle solutions or modern patient payment solutions essentially enable revenue teams to collect outstanding balances while they sleep or drink their morning cup of coffee?

A new patient payment approach: Creating a product we consider “anti-engagement” is risky because the typical software model is customers pay for a product they have to use — whether that product makes their lives better or causes more frustration.

We decided it was better to create a product that drives financial value not mouse clicks.

We’re changing the way patients and customers are being asked (required) to interact with MobilePay, our text-based patient payment solution. And while we are not against patient financial engagement and some of these other industry buzzwords, we just think there’s a simpler and more efficient way to remove the barriers preventing patients and revenue cycle teams to each get what they want.

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This article originally appeared in HBMA RCM Advisor