Clearer communication through better statement design can improve payment collections from self-pay patients and shorten the revenue cycle for healthcare providers. By structuring your invoice template according to best practices for the healthcare industry, you can help eliminate confusion, which often leads to delayed payment.
Many self-pay patients are routinely confused by their healthcare bills. An Intuit Health study released in 2011 showed that 41 percent of all patients do not have confidence that the billed amount is correct or accurately reflects the current amount due, and 57 percent of all patients have had a bill go to a collection agency. Clearer communication can prevent some of those charges from accumulating as overdue accounts receivable and eventually being forwarded to a collection agency.
Here are three specific steps to promote crystal-clear communication and minimize collection delays.
Be clear and bold. Show your brand clearly. Remember that many patients deal with multiple healthcare providers. Create a visual association to your practice by implementing your logo and other brand elements on your billing statements just the same way you do in your marketing materials and in your office. Ensure the brand is expressed both on the body of the statement and the tear-off stub.
Be concise. Make it clear when insurance payments have been made and what portion of the payment is now due. Billing statements should inform, not overwhelm. Remember that self-pay patients are not experts in coding! It’s important to include all relevant information in formats easy for non-experts to understand. However, leave out information that’s likely relevant for only a small fraction of patients. Those few can call for further details where necessary. By keeping things simple, you will reduce the overall volume of billing-related inbound calls to your administrative staff.
Make it readable. Choose easy-to-read fonts and font sizes. For most information, use Sans Serif fonts. You can use a Serif font in a message area to draw a distinction between the main body of the statement and the message section. However, be sure to avoid using more than two fonts in the entire statement. Keep font sizes consistent within each area and only bold and enlarge those portions that need to be emphasized. Don’t make patients reach for their reading glasses to understand whom to pay, how much to pay, where to send payment, when to pay, and their account details.
In summary, your billing statement should clearly convey both your brand and the patient’s financial responsibility. By being crystal clear, you make the paying process easier for patients and are likely to improve your cash flow.
Click here to request APEX’s free eBook covering best practices in healthcare statement design.