Picture your chiropractic automated payments on auto-drive
Posted on December 2, 2022 by Miles Bodzin, DC
This original article was featured in the November 2022 issue of Chiropractic Economics.
Picture your chiropractic automated payments on auto-drive
You may think your chiropractic automated payments are fully automated, but are they?
In today’s day and age, there’s a lot of technology to help with automation whether it’s your Roomba vacuum, Ring doorbell, smart home appliances, Alexa devices, or for some of us… automated cars!
How about automated systems that you use in your practice? It’s become very popular to have automated text messages that remind patients of their appointments, automated patient education email campaigns, automated messages within your EHR that tell the patient which room to go in when they check in to the office and so much more! You see where I’m going with this, right? These automated systems allow patients to come in and out faster so they can get back to work, home, etc. The benefit to the practice is that you are able to focus more on the patient’s care and their experience when they’re in the office.
Technology and convenience
The technology available today to automate things keeps growing because it frees up our time, gives us the ability to be more efficient, reduces human errors, and can cut costs. So have you ever thought about the impact automated payments have on your patients and your team? I can tell you from experience that when it comes to patients – they love convenience (don’t we all!?). In fact, if you could text some of your patients their adjustment, they’d surely opt in! All joking aside, let’s focus on the convenience patients need in your office when it comes to how they pay.
With money being the number one obstacle that gets in the way of patient retention, the way you are asking your patients to pay could result in patient dropout. When I’m consulting with practices on this very topic I ask a series of five questions that help identify where you could be doing better to create an automated…or frictionless payment experience as I like to call it, your patients are not thinking about the money – they’re thinking about the care. Not only do patients love the convenience of automated payments, but your staff also loves it even more!
Frictionless chiropractic automated payments
Think about it, when payments are frictionless, there are very few awkward financial conversations for your team to have with patients, less chance of patients having a balance due, collections are where they should be and there’s more time to focus on patient care and education. Not only does a frictionless payment system in your practice help with convenience, it ultimately increases patient retention. Why is that you ask? It’s because the frequency of the conscious purchasing decision significantly influences your retention. The more often a patient thinks about money, the less often they will utilize your services.
Using the scale below, I want you to honestly evaluate how automated or frictionless your payment system is. For every statement that you answer “yes” to, give yourself 2 points.
- Patients don’t have to stop and swipe their cards each time they come in.
- Patient signatures are digitally stored on payment authorization forms making collecting one-time payments easy.
- Patients’ billing information is stored securely on file so we’re able to charge them and email a receipt to them easily.
- When collecting payments for a family, we are able to charge one card and easily split payments between family members.
- The majority of our cash collections come from automated, recurring payments.
So, how did you do? If you scored 10 points, give yourself a pat on the back! If you scored less than 10 points, please read on and see how you can improve automation and retention. (And be sure to share this with your team!)
Patients don’t stop and pay each time they come in. – Having your patients stop and pay per visit is one of the biggest things that get in the way of retention. Imagine if you had to stop and pay at the gym every time you planned on going. Would that make you question whether or not to show up?
Do you have staff that are not so good at collecting money? Do patients leave having a balance due? Is there a line of people at the front desk ready to check out and pay?
By having your patients on cards securely on file you’re able to reduce the friction of their payment experience. Patients also love that there are no hidden financial surprises because they have agreed in advance as to what their automated payment will be. Your staff loves the automation as well because it eliminates awkward financial conversations and reduces the friction pay-per-visit transactions cause for the office flow.
Patient signatures are digitally stored on payment authorization forms making collecting payments easy. – Having your patients digitally sign a payment authorization form where they indicate which card you can charge along with a pre-authorzied amount makes getting the patient in and out of the office faster. Not to mention we see an increase in cash collections too as patients are not leaving with a balance due.
Patients’ billing information is stored securely on file so we’re able to charge them and email a receipt to them easily. –The act of physically having the patient open their wallet and physically pay is a constant reminder to the patient of the money they are spending. Not to mention physically collecting money from patients can bog down the front desk staff.
Imagine your CA being able to say “Dave, today’s service is $60, we’ll charge your card on file and your receipt will be emailed to you”. The patient doesn’t wait in line at the front desk to check out, they don’t touch their money while they’re in the office and they don’t need to sign a paper receipt!
When collecting payments for a family, we are able to charge one card and easily split payments between family members. This is amazing. Gone are the days when a family comes in for care and you run mom’s card several times to collect the payment for each member of the family. Or maybe you run one transaction and then manually split it up in the ledgers. Either process is very cumbersome and time-consuming.
The best practice for family payments is to use a payment system that allows you to collect one total amount for the family and split the payment between all of the family members. You have one transaction (which saves on processing fees), and the receipt shows the total along with the split amounts being allocated to each family member’s ledger.
The real power of split payments is for family plans. If you have families that are on recurring monthly payments you can also schedule one monthly payment and split the payment between each family member. When the automated payment runs that month it’s clear what ledgers the money is allocated to. Now that is truly a frictionless payment experience and greatly reduces the possibility of human error.
The majority of our cash collections come from automated, recurring payments. Here is the biggest step in all of this that ties all of the above items together. Having payments that automatically run with digital signatures and billing on file is a game-changer in practice.
Patients no longer think about money every time they walk into your office, they don’t have to even bring their wallets with them, and your front desk can focus on care and building rapport with patients.
The missing piece
When I implemented these automated payment systems into my practice, it truly was the piece I had been missing all along. Not only did it make a huge impact on patient retention, and cash collections, but I also experienced more joy and freedom.
As we all know, retention is key to better clinical outcomes so it’s important to focus on things you can do in practice to help reduce patient dropout and it starts by having your payment system on auto-drive.