Patients to have Web, bedside pay options
Currently, patient access leaders at Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia, SC, are researching various technologies to assist in taking electronic payments.
"As we grow our market, it becomes increasingly difficult to collect payment on the back end of the revenue cycle," says April C. Robinson, MBA, MHA, patient access manager.
Once the insurance is billed and pays, the likelihood of collecting any additional monies decreases significantly, she explains. "As we move into the future of healthcare, however, we are looking at means to make those payments on the front of end of the revenue cycle," Robinson says. "This will increase the chances of collecting."
By having the technology to collect electronically, patients are offered better options and an easier solution, says Robinson. Patient access areas are working hard to expand web payments throughout the facilities, as well as bedside payment options for medications in pharmacy areas.
Some of the obstacles they face are the need to work through multiple computer systems, patients making check payments over the phone, and portable credit card payment devices that are not integrated with registration systems. "Being a large healthcare facility, we are faced with the challenge of having too many computer systems to do one job: register our patients," says Robinson.
This setup poses a challenge for electronic payments, because no one system communicates with another system 100% of the time. "We are often left with using aged devices that prolong our processes," says Robinson. "This takes up our patient’s valuable time."