22 Aug 3 Ways to Ensure Payment Security
According to many surveys, 75% of Internet users in America pay bills online. However, the healthcare industry has been slow to offer these services to patients. In a recent Intuit Health study involving 1,000 U.S. adults found that more than half would switch physicians if they had the opportunity to pay bills online. However, 50% of those surveyed said they still paid medical bills using paper checks. In 2010, only 9% of patient payments were made online, according to the healthcare billing and payment network InstaMed.
Physician practices do not need to spend a lot of money in order to offer patients the option of paying bills online. One method of online payment is an integrated system that offers patients a billing and service summary. This system is best for doctors who wish to achieve certain goals, and who have a system in place. Many practices implement a combination of these solutions.
Use Money Transfer Services for Online Payments
If your medical practice needs to accept payments electronically, the easiest solution is to make an account with a third-party debit/credit card account service, such as PayPal. These services are used to channel consumer’s money from their account to the practice account, which allows the vendor to implement security measures. The financial data is stored and secure with these systems. Most third-party merchant account services can accept direct transfer from a checking account, as well as cards.
Many third-party merchant account services charge a small set-up fee, which is usually less than $100. The accounts are set up all online, and the cost of operating this is a percentage of the payment or a per-transaction fee. Practices that do not have a website can offer this kind of service by putting a notice on paper bills that alert patients of where to submit payments.
For physician practices with an online presence, the website should be upgraded occasionally. Many third-party electronic commerce software vendors can integrate with the website to process debit/credit card payments. Choosing software depends on which additional tools you wish to integrate into the website. Some software companies offer tools to build the entire website using an e-commerce component, which has search engine optimization tools. Other programs offer tools needed to build payment processing services on the physician practice’s existing site.
The cost of payment processing software varies, with some costing only $30 and others costing $200. Some e-commerce software programs are free if you pay a monthly usage fee, a percentage, a per-transaction fee, or a combination of these. When a third-party is involved with payment processing, the transactions should be done using a secure SSL Internet connection.
Select an Integrated Billing System
Many billing systems can be successfully integrated into patient portals, and they can connect with electronic health record systems. These types of systems give patients a more complete look at medical billing statements, so patients can understand their bills. Integrated billing systems mesh with the practice management system or other software. The payment systems have existing technology that offers patients more information regarding their bills and accounts, as well as providing the practice with better recordkeeping.
Once an integrated billing system is up and running, the physician can add a line to the bill telling where to go online to make the payment. Another method used by this type of billing system is called a quick response (QR) code, which is on a paper bill. This code can be scanned with a smartphone, so the user goes right to the website to submit payment.