5 building blocks for a solid pre-service payments foundation


A consumer-friendly pre-service-payment strategy needs the right tools in place to run smoothly.

Healthcare’s shift to a consumer-friendly experience has meant patients demand more out of their providers. They want more digital tools to get in touch with their provider, make appointments and pay their bills. For healthcare organizations, these demands can lead to lost revenue if they don’t act quickly.

The good news is, by making changes, you can increase your patient satisfaction scores and improve your revenue cycle. A digital doorway strategy, for example, creates multiple points where you can interact with your patients. , a digital doorway strategy increases engagement 20 times through omnichannel communications.

When you use this strategy, you can also implement pre-service and point-of-service payments. By moving beyond collecting after service, you can increase your revenue. A report by Forbes showed providers have a 70% chance of collecting patient payments when done prior to or at the point of service. However, it dips to a 30% chance when collecting after discharge.

Switching to a pre-service payment model means you need the right tools in place. The following are five tools you need to start a pre-service payment strategy using digital doorways.

Providers have a 70% chance of collecting patient payments when done prior to or at the point of service. However, it dips to a 30% chance when collecting after discharge.

  1. A Cost Estimator Tool

    Price transparency regulations went into effect on January 1, 2021. They were designed to help consumers understand the cost of their medical care. These regulations require healthcare organizations to have some way for consumers to get an estimate. An estimator tool, though, does have benefit to a healthcare organization.

    “You could have a much more confident discussion with the patient and try to pre-collect closer to 100% because you are confident in the estimate,” says Howard Bright, VP of Patient Engagement at RevSpring.

  2. A Patient Portal

    A patient portal acts as a one-stop information source for your patients. It lets them have a secure place to request a prescription refill or follow-up appointment quickly. It can also be used for secure communications and a way for patients to see their medical records.

    For healthcare organizations, there may be an improvement to health outcomes and patient satisfaction, according to the National Institutes of Health . The NIH believes patient portals improve patient engagement by giving them access to their medical records and giving them a secure way to communicate with their provider.

    With the right patient portal in place, your organization may be able to keep a payment card on file, making it easier for the patient to pay quickly. Keeping a card on file also opens the door for other payment options, like text-to-pay.

  3. Payment Options and Documentation

    Managing sticker shock should be a high priority for your organization. Estimates can help lessen sticker shock, and offering modern payment options can meet consumers with payment methods they’re comfortable with, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, text-to-pay and more.

    RevSpring suggests offering payment plans to consumers before an appointment to help manage sticker shock. If you can offer the payment plan when you provide an estimate, you can help the patient plan for their medical expenses.

    If you offer payment options, you need good documentation backed by solid data. Include policies and explain the criteria a patient needs to meet to receive a payment plan offer.

  4. Electronic Patient Communications

    Consumers want more straightforward ways to communicate. With mobile devices being in most people’s pockets, communicating is more effortless. Your healthcare organization can use email and SMS messaging when needed. And, you have good reason to:

    • 95 percent of texts are read within three minutes after you send it
    • On average, people respond to texts within 90 seconds

    With any electronic patient communications, you have to get express consent. This should be part of any consents you collect and gives you the permission to contact patients via telephone, email or other electronic means with information you collect at scheduling or registration.

  5. Data

    Finally, your pre-service payment strategy needs reliable data. Your data can help build personas and identify payment behaviors. Using this information, you can identify which consumer is more likely to need a payment plan.

    You can use your data to build documentation for payment plans, as mentioned earlier. It can also help you develop income-appropriate workflows for collecting payments.

Discover All the Elements of a Successful Pre-service Payment Strategy

Healthcare organizations that use pre-service payment strategies can see better financial performance. Self-service options and pre-service strategies require the right tools and proper implementation. Find out how to use these tools and build a winning strategy in our free, on-demand webinar.


Reimagining the Patient Journey with 5 Pre-service Collection Tools


Learn how your healthcare organization can thrive in a consumer-oriented reality by implementing pre-service and point-of-service collections.

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