The self-pay population is rising for most healthcare organizations. This is due to the growing uninsured and underinsured populations as well as high deductible and co-insurance plans that shift more costs to the patient.

Healthcare organizations don’t have to simply accept rising bad debt. You can take steps to mitigate your risk and losses as well actually increase your cash collections. Many best practices standard in retail collections or banking have yet to become widespread in healthcare.

Automating to Increase Productivity

Installing an automated dialer can increase your organization’s contacts significantly. At the Health Alliance, the connection rate increased by 400 percent after installing an automated dialer. Instead of wasting time talking to answering machines or listening to busy signals and disconnects, account representatives talk to live voices. The more people with whom your representatives speak, the more opportunities they have to collect a patient balance.

An out-bound interactive voice response system can place pre-recorded calls on low-balance accounts. This allows your organization to diligently follow up all accounts while having staff members focused on accounts with the greatest financial impact. An in-bound telephony-based payments system can accept payments 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At University of North Carolina Health Care System, the telephony-based payment system collects nearly $1.2 million a year in credit card payments and $500,000 in payment arrangements—all without any human intervention.

Using an automated dialer and interactive system, your organization can provide better coverage on every account to ensure patients understand their financial obligations.

Segmenting accounts to apply different business strategies through automated workflow applies your expertise to every account. Instead of allowing account representatives to select accounts they want to work, the system delivers accounts in the order you determine through business rules. Using an automated system also ensures accurate account status, eliminating the need for paper reports that quickly become outdated.

Next Article: Incentivizing Effective Collections