Patient Care and Financing: Tips for Finding Systems That Achieve the Best Service and Outcomes for Your Patients
Patient care includes the service clients receive from the people and companies associated with you.
Hearing care professionals and their staff members have a special relationship with patients. We help them improve social interaction with friends and loved ones, giving them an opportunity to enjoy life more fully. Because our patients are important to us, we want to make sure that the experiences they have related to our practice are good ones. How patients are treated—and the level of support they receive from the third-party patient financing company we use—can positively or negatively impact how patients view your practice.
Here are five important questions to ask when evaluating the “level of care” your patients receive from a third-party financing company, such as CareCredit:
1. Will they make it easy to introduce to patients?
One of the best ways your patient financing company can help you manage patient expectations about special financing options in your practice is to provide written patient materials, such as a welcome guide or brochure. The guide should give an overview of the payment option and detail how it works in addition to addressing the most frequently asked questions. It also should help educate patients about their new account and provide information such as when they will receive their credit card, their first billing, and how best to manage the account.
Some third-party financing companies have promotional offers as well as welcome guides like these, and patient brochures, posters, and desk signage that can be used to introduce financing in your practice. Always be sure to have a member of your team review the materials with your patients so that they know what to expect from the payment option and where to go if they require additional information.
2. Will They Follow Up With My Patients?
Patients who decide to consider special financing to pay for recommended care may have questions or require additional information about their options after they leave your practice. That’s why it’s important to look for a company that proactively reaches out to patients immediately after they have chosen to use the payment option. Following up in a timely manner (1 to 2 days after the patient has signed up to use the program) gives your third-party patient financing provider an opportunity to make sure that patients understand what cardholders need to do to ensure the account is paid off on time and, if the patient’s purchase is eligible for a special financing option, to answer any questions. When patients are informed and fully understand their obligations, it eliminates confusion and increases patient satisfaction with your practice.
3. Where Can Patients Get Answers?
When patients have a question or problem with their account, they need to get answers in a timely manner. Ideally, patients should be able to speak with live customer service representatives from the third-party financing company whenever they need to, and that customer service representative should be focused solely on healthcare financing. Many companies may not have live customer service representatives working during off-peak hours. During these times, patients should still be able to easily access the account information they need online, including account balances and payment due dates.
4. Is It Easy For Patients To Manage Their Account?
When it’s time for patients to make monthly payments on their account, the process should be simple; cardholders should be able to pay their bill using the method that’s most convenient for them: online, by mail, or by phone. In addition, the ideal third-party financing company should provide online account management so patients can get up-to-date information about their account, sign up to receive paperless statements, or even change their payment due date.
5. Are There Additional Practice Management Resources for Your Practice?
Providing patients with an experience you can be proud of—that’s the main factor you should look for from the patient financing company you select. But some companies include added benefits that can help you enhance the patient experience in-practice and build patient loyalty. For example, CareCredit provides its CCPro enrolled providers with business resources such as free educational CDs, a free Patient Referral Program, Practice Performance Review, and other tools and resources to help practices grow. CareCredit also reminds and helps educate patients about the many ways they can use their account—including returning to your practice when they need additional care.
Finding a patient financing company that honors the special relationship you have with patients isn’t difficult. By asking the right questions and doing a little research, you can find a company that provides your patients with the same level of care that you do. Finding the right company for you and your patients can help you fit more patients with recommended hearing aids, increase patient satisfaction, and foster greater loyalty.
Contributor: Nikolas Becker is the senior financial controller at Livingston Audiology & Hearing Aid Center in Lubbock, Texas. He wrote and submitted this article in cooperation with CareCredit, Costa Mesa, Calif, with additional edits from The Hearing Review