Patient retention leads to a more successful healthcare practice. As a practice manager, you may think the main reason a patient stays with a provider is due to their clinical experience, but it’s not that simple. While high-quality care is important, it’s not the whole picture.
Every touchpoint between you and your patient adds to their view of your practice in a positive, negative, or neutral way. But how each patient processes these interactions is unique. Some patients may have one bad experience and decide to go elsewhere. Others may put up with years of frustration before they finally decide to leave.
Either way, healthcare practices need to eliminate friction wherever patients encounter it. We believe technology can help you achieve this goal.
The Role of Technology in Patient Retention
There’s a view that technology removes the human element from healthcare. Of course, nothing replaces a warm smile or caring reassurance, but today’s technology can relay compassion differently.
Technology offers countless opportunities to connect with patients, meet their needs, and show that you care. And when you smooth over friction points, not only will patients be more likely to come back to your practice, but they’ll also tell others about their great experience.
There’s never been a better or more critical time to invest in healthcare technology. This urgency has to do with how patients have changed their expectations of healthcare providers.
Who Is the Patient?
The modern patient has weathered more than two years of a pandemic that has flipped the healthcare model. Patients have become the catalyst driving healthcare innovation.
Consider how people learn, shop, and communicate these days. Whether you’re shopping for groceries, balancing your checkbook, or catching up with friends on social media — it’s largely technology-based. A Pew Research Center survey found that more than 80% of U.S. adults go online at least daily. And nearly 75% have purchased goods online in 2021, according to a report by Statistica.
These experiences in the retail and communication spaces are changing patients’ expectations when receiving healthcare. Patient retention is all about meeting these expectations. The right technology can help with that initiative in several ways.
Digital Payment Solutions Let Patients Pay Using Their Preferred Option
Nearly two-thirds of respondents to a recent survey by CWH Advisors reported they wanted more digital options to pay their healthcare bills. Today’s technology offers a wide range of ways for consumers to pay at the point of care or after, such as:
- Card on File stores patients’ credit card information securely for future payment of co-pays or balances.
- Online payments offer patients an easy way to pay using a secure gateway from their computer or smartphone.
- Mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay®, give patients a contactless option of paying with their credit card directly from their smartphone or even their smartwatch.
- QR codes provide an easy, smartphone-friendly payment method with a quick scan using the phone’s camera.
- Text-to-Pay allows patients to pay directly from their phones with the tap of a button.
Another option that can help improve your patient relationships is patient financing. A survey by PYMNTS and Rectangle Health found over half of patients are “extremely or very” interested in payment plans. For your patients, this flexible approach to paying for care:
- Demonstrates your consideration for your patients’ financial situations
- Eliminates the need for conflict-laden payment conversations
- Gives your patients peace of mind that they can access care when they need to
- Maintains continuity of care by keeping fiscal relations in-house, rather than with a third party
To maximize the benefits of financing for you and your patients, choose a partner that accepts most patients regardless of credit score and relieves you of fiscal responsibility. Rectangle Health’s Care Now, Pay LaterSM concept offers this patient financing solution.
Automation Streamlines Patient Processes
Healthcare technology automates manual tasks that sap valuable time out of each day. Staff can redirect that time and effort saved to providing better care and enhancing the patient experience. Two main touchpoints that technology can streamline in your practice are communications and registration.
Today’s patients prefer texts over phone calls. A survey by Open Market discovered that 75% of millennials view texts as less intrusive and more convenient and would rather be contacted by text for an appointment, delivery, and payment reminders.
Incorporating texting into your practice can help you communicate with patients about appointments, bills, payment options, and practice announcements. But not all text solutions are created equal. Be sure to choose technology that provides:
- Ease of use for your staff
- Seamless interface with your practice management system
- Secure notifications and payment links
Digital Patient Forms
Few things are as frustrating as waiting to see your healthcare provider. Filling out forms in the office only adds time to the process. Healthcare practices cannot eliminate registration forms, but you can let patients complete them digitally and on their own time. This patient-friendly approach not only speeds up registration but also:
- Improves the accuracy of information
- Reduces contact between staff and patients
- Simplifies data entry for staff
Don’t Overlook the Security of Health and Financial Data
A recent survey of U.S. consumers by KPMG found that 86% are increasingly concerned about the privacy of online data. Any healthcare technology that offers digital payment and mobile communication solutions must be compliant and encrypted.
Protections to look for include:
- EMV (Europay, Mastercard®, Visa®)-compliant technology to process payments via credit cards with security-enhanced microchips
- Fraud protection to monitor your healthcare payment system for signs of cybertheft
- HIPAA compliance, to protect your patients’ protected health information — including credit card numbers
- Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, setting standards for the highest level of security for your patients’ financial information
- Point-to-Point encryption from the point-of-sale terminal to the payment processor
Your efforts to provide these protections show your patients you value their health and financial information. The more confident patients are with the safeguards your software solutions provide, the more likely they will adopt the technology and be satisfied with its results.
Technology Helps you Retain Patients
At Rectangle Health, we develop technology that enhances the patient-provider relationship. Our innovative communication and payment solution, Practice Management Bridge®, provides an effortless user experience and allows you to focus on providing elite care.
Payment options such as contactless payments, Text-to-Pay, online payments, and Card on File streamline payment processes for your staff and patients. Our platform also features digital registration forms and custom text messages that simplify and optimize patient communications.
Having served thousands of healthcare providers for almost 30 years, we understand that ease of implementation and security are among your most pressing concerns. That’s why we’ve designed our software to interface seamlessly and securely with any existing practice management system. Our customer success team is accessible to provide the support you need in a timely and efficient manner.
- Tighe D. (2022, May 25). Online shopping behavior in the United States – statistics & facts. Statistica. Retrieved July 24, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/topics/2477/online-shopping-behavior/#dossierKeyfigures.
- PYMNTS, Rectangle Health. (2021, January). The Healthcare Payment Experience Report. PYMNTS, Rectangle Health. Retrieved February 4, 2022, from https://www.pymnts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/PYMNTS-The-Healthcare-Payment-Experience-Report-January-2021.pdf.
- Open Market. Why millennials still love text. Open Market. Retrieved July 24, 2022, from https://www.openmarket.com/resources/millennials-still-love-text/.
- Corporate data responsibility: Bridging the consumer trust gap. KPMG. Retrieved July 24, 2022, from https://advisory.kpmg.us/articles/2021/bridging-the-trust-chasm.html?utm_source=vanity&utm_medium=referral&mid=m-00005652&utm_campaign=c-00107353&cid=c-00107353.