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Improving Healthcare Billing & Collections: The Many Uses of Texting




With patients shouldering more of the financial responsibility for their care, providers must ensure they have highly efficient and effective revenue cycle management (RCM) processes in place. Efficiency reduces the cost associated with patient billing, collections, and staff workload while effectiveness helps ensure an organization collects what patients owe for their care. One solution that delivers on both these needs and is helping organizations strengthen their RCM is text messaging. 


Two-way texting is a proven mechanism for engaging patients across their entire journey, from co-pay to balance due, and then motivating and helping them to complete their financial responsibilities, all without requiring substantial time or organization investment and while providing patients with a better payment experience. 


Optimizing the Revenue Cycle with Text Messaging 


Consider these applications for text messaging that will help improve your billing and collections efforts. 


Verification of coverage and benefits

 

Send texts to patients letting them know you need to verify their insurance and benefits and then ask patients to call you. If you include a phone number in the text message, recipients will be able to easily click on it to initiate the call. 

The use of texting here streamlines the verification process and will greatly reduce staff time spent on outbound phone calls, most of which likely go unanswered, with no guarantee that any voicemail left will be listened to in a timely manner or at all. Almost every inbound call to an organization during hours of operation will be answered by a staff member.  

A conversational, two-way text message can ask patients if they would like to receive a call from your organization to discuss their coverage.  


Pre-treatment payments 


Text messaging is a highly effective way to initiate the pre-treatment collection process. Send texts to inform your patients of their estimated payment and then direct them on ways they can pay. If you have a patient portal that includes payment functionality, the text message can provide a hyperlink to the system. The message should include the phone number that will connect them to a collections specialist who can capture payment information or discuss payment options, including any payment plans you offer.  


The use of two-way texting can help here as well. Ask patients if they would like to receive a call from your organization to discuss payment. Such technology can engage patients in discussions about their financial responsibility and demonstrate your willingness to help patients better understand their out-of-pocket expenses. 


texting with patient about payment options

Reminders about balance and payment options 


When pre-treatment collections are not an option or if patients indicate they can or will only pay in person, send a text message to patients in advance of the day of treatment to share their balance and identify the methods of payment your organization accepts on-site. This can better help ensure your patients arrive knowing what they owe and are prepared to pay using an approved payment method. 


Appointment confirmation and compliance 


If patients fail to show up for their appointment, arrive too late for the appointment to proceed, or show up but fail to follow pre-appointment requirements, you will lose out on the treatment opportunity and ability to bill for it (or bill in full). Text messaging is a proven way to reduce cancellations, no-shows, and no-gos. For example, a physician group used texting with Dialog Health to reduce its collective no-show rate by about 34% over a seven-month period, yielding a projected $100,000 in additional revenue.  

Prior to an appointment, send a text message reminding patients about their scheduled treatment and include key details such as facility address, time of appointment, and any reminders about compliance requirements, like fasting and modification to medication regimens.  

Two-way texting further helps with keeping appointments on track, enabling patients to confirm their appointment and their compliance (or understanding of compliance requirements). Patients may also feel more comfortable canceling an appointment via text, especially if prompted by a message asking patients to confirm their appointment or asking if a patient has concerns. Advance notice of cancellation may enable you to fill the open appointment. A follow-up text can be valuable with rescheduling a canceled appointment. 


Outstanding accounts receivable (A/R) 


Texting can also help you capture any money owed to your organization after it provides treatment and services. Text messaging has been proven to reduce A/R and get organizations paid faster.  

text to patient about payment outstanding balance

One ambulatory surgery center (ASC) operator used texting with Dialog Health to decrease its outstanding A/R by more than 20% and increase usage of online payment portals. The operator's ASCs sent texts to patients that included a link to the payment portal and a phone number patients could call if they wanted to pay over the phone or had questions. 


The Substantial Revenue Cycle Management Benefits of Text Messaging 

Texting can not only improve your organization's financial performance, but it can also deliver many other significant revenue cycle management benefits. These include the following:  

  • Introduce automation into patient collections, helping reduce workloads for business office staff members.  

  • Greatly decrease time spent on the phone with patients, freeing up staff to complete other RCM tasks or enabling an organization to reduce its staffing needs.  

  • Drive increased usage of payment portals, which further reduces phone calls, data entry work, and the depositing of mailed checks (which can be lost).  

  • Provide patients with a more streamlined payment experience.  

  • Achieve more effective communication between patients and the revenue cycle, with two-way texting further strengthening engagement.  

  • Deliver a better overall better financial experience that may be reflected in satisfaction surveys and online reviews.    


Finally, text messaging is an effective way to encourage patients to schedule the services they need. Increased patient volume translates to increased billing and collections opportunities. 

The Dialog Health Revenue Cycle Management Solution is improving revenue cycle management for healthcare organizations nationwide. Dialog Health has developed its two-way texting solution to be highly secure, reliable, and HIPAA-compliant, checking these and other essential requirements for providers. The Revenue Cycle Management Solution also works with existing systems, helping ensure seamless data flow. Reach out to learn more about how conversational texting with Dialog Health can help improve the health of your bottom line 



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