Accelerating Collections in the Healthcare Industry

By | September 11, 2014

Providers are now faced with collecting more from patients but many still rely on systems and procedures designed for an old paradigm.  There is a better way. 

The cost of collections is a problem in many industries and, while relatively new to this segment, it is particularly acute in healthcare.  In the past, providers received nearly the entire payment for patient care from a third party payer – an insurance company.

While the Affordable Care Act has added millions to the insurance rolls, factors like rising healthcare costs, a reduction in employer-provided insurance plans, more patients choosing high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), and an increase in plans charging coinsurance for office visits has meant an increase in the patient-owed portion of the medical bill.  Providers are now faced with collecting more from patients but still rely on systems and procedures designed for the old paradigm.

Why collections are inherently slower in healthcare

There are several factors unique to healthcare billing that make it unlike other industries and more complicated for patients.  First, healthcare bills tend to be sporadic rather than recurring so patients are less likely to have medical expenses included in their monthly budget like they would for their utility bills.  A lack of transparency in the cost of care or knowing how much will be reimbursed prior to treatment leaves patients in the dark as to how much they’ll owe.  Finally, the fact that patients receive documents and bills from multiple parties (e.g. an EOB from the insurance company and a bill from the provider for the patient-owed portion of expenses) causes many patients to delay payment until they receive and review all documents and bills for their episode of care.

Additionally, many provider organizations suffer from systems that require extensive manual input or that perpetuate redundancy and inefficiency.  For example, it is standard practice in most offices to wait weeks to mail a patient bill and then send multiple paper bills and requests for payment before receiving payment from the patient.

Consumer research done by consultants McKinsey & Company found that patients aren’t necessarily unable or unwilling to pay their medical bills, but that lack of financing options, inefficiencies in billing practices, and consumer confusion are all major drivers in payment behavior.

Accelerating collections by reducing the complexity of patient billing and providing more payment options

A general strategy for the healthcare industry should be to focus on efficiency and practices that reduce manual processes while giving patients more options to pay their bills, including electronically.  According to the U.S. Healthcare Efficiency Index (revised May 2014), over 40 percent of claim payments continue to be made by paper checks.

Reducing an over-dependency on paper communication and billing, and mitigating the inherent lag time in collections caused by patients delaying payment until they review all mailed documents, are two areas that can easily be addressed.  Offering patients a way to pay online or from their mobile device accelerates payments.  Sharing a HIPPA-compliant digital file cabinet speeds delivery and gives patients an uncomplicated, automatic way to receive and archive documents in one place.

The time is now

McKinsey & Company called for a “greater ‘electronification’ of healthcare transactions” back in 2007.  In a 2010 report the firm lamented that the “overhaul” was still not widely achieved but they continued to, “…believe that major change in the payments landscape is inevitable because of fundamental industry dynamics, such as the proliferation and increasing complexity of health care transactions, the increasingly prominent role of the consumer in payments, and the rising importance of medical and financial risk management for providers.”

With inherent complexities in the healthcare billing ecosystem and initiatives like EHR adoption and ICD-10 compliance competing for resources within the practice, providers are hamstrung if collection cycles are unnecessarily slowed.  Deploying a solution to help patients untangle the complexity of their bills and make payments faster will have immediate and lasting impact on cash flow and the ability to grow and innovate the provider’s practice.

The collections problem is real for healthcare providers but electronic billing and payments along with secure document sharing and storage offer a huge opportunity to speed collections.  The solution exists today and it can be deployed quickly and affordably with minimal IT resources.  Want to see if doxo can help your organization get paid faster?  Get in touch at

No Comments

Older Posts

iOS Users Can Set Up doxo Email Import From Mobile App

By | August 26, 2014

Sign up for Email Import from the doxo Mobile app for iPhone to automatically fetch, organize, and archive important emails…

Why Mobile is Mandatory But Mobile App Development is Not

By | August 19, 2014

Customers reward companies who offer a mobile-optimized experience.  doxo can help your business go mobile quickly and cost-effectively.  Consumer surveys…

Not Your Mother’s Account Directory

By | August 6, 2014

You use personal directories like Facebook for Friends and LinkedIN for Colleagues.  See how doxo is the directory for all…

Takes More Than “Please” to Get Customers to Do What You Want

By | July 31, 2014

To get customers to pay recurring bill via ACH rather than Rewards card, customers must get benefits too. In my…

6 Questions to Ask Before Offering Paperless Billing

By | July 22, 2014

Conventional wisdom is that paperless adoption reduces the costs of printing, postage, and payment compared to paper bills by approximately…

Leverage the Network-Effect of doxo to Boost Customer Engagement

By | July 18, 2014

If you’re a child of the 70’s and 80’s like me, you probably remember the Fabergé shampoo ad.  Heather Locklear’s…

5 Reasons Why You Need More Than Just a Bill Manager App.

By | June 13, 2014

Most users discover doxo when they are invited to Connect with their service provider to receive and pay their bills…

Account Organizer Challenge: Can you find your key account information in less than a minute?

By | June 6, 2014

Do this quick experiment with me.  Glance at the clock and note the time.  Now see how long it takes…

doxo Engineer Helps Girls Find Their Inner Rock Star!

By | April 25, 2014

She’s made a career out of pointing out mistakes, but in her free time, Julie Bartlett, doxo senior test engineer,…

doxo 2013 Year in Review

By | January 16, 2014

doxo had another awesome year, hitting key metrics across the board. We really hit our stride in 2013 thanks to…

Your Phonebook and File Cabinet Right in Your Pocket

By | January 9, 2014

Has something like this ever happened to you? You notice your Wells Fargo statement shows a debit on your account…

Once upon a time – a doxo fairytale

By | December 24, 2013

This is the story of how a company called doxo began with one simple idea and grew to become a…

Manage your digital life with doxo cloud backup

By | December 19, 2013

Hundreds of millions of us are using a personal cloud storage account to store and share documents, music, photos, etc.,…

Link multiple email accounts to automatically import your provider emails in doxo

By | December 5, 2013

More than 65% of people have 4+ email accounts, according to a recent PollCreate survey. This means we get tons…