Independent practices can now boost their cashflow and offer patients a better experience of private healthcare by using an online patient e-billing and payment service developed by Healthcode and Patient Zone.
Thanks to Healthcode’s expertise in online solutions for independent practitioners and a secure payment portal from Patient Zone, the service gives practices a more efficient way to charge self-funded patients and recharge PMI shortfalls. In a two-week pilot of ePractice users, which has just finished, 29% of the 291 patient invoices issued were settled the same day, 43% had been paid within three days and 47% within one week. Before the pilot, practices reported that the settlement time for patient invoices was typically two weeks.
Glasgow-based consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr A.J. Brooksbank, was one of those taking part in the pilot. His PA, Jennifer Moore commented: “It was taking me a lot of time to bill self-pay patients manually, so being able to send bills electronically using ePractice and Patient Zone is much more efficient. It has also massively improved our practice cash flow - I even had one patient who paid me just 45 minutes after I sent them the bill! Previously we didn’t accept credit/debit cards, so I feel that we are also helping our patients by offering them a better way to pay.”
Available to all ePractice users, after registration with Patient Zone the new service enables practices to create ebills in their ePractice account and send them to patients securely via Patient Zone. Patients are notified by email or text that they have received a bill which they can then access and pay on the Patient Zone online portal. As well as being more efficient and secure than relying on the post, practitioners have the reassurance of an email confirmation as soon as a bill has been settled.
The Patient Zone service is a more cost-effective way for practices to implement online patient billing and payment. There is no need to arrange merchant accounts or pay credit card processing fees. Instead, practices only pay a fee to Patient Zone of 2.5% per bill + VAT to use the service.
Healthcode’s Head of Business Development (ePractice), Kingsley Hollis said: “Online ebilling for PMIs has already been widely adopted by independent practices because they have seen the benefits in terms of efficiency and security. In fact, a record 3.4 million ebills were submitted by non-hospital providers last year through our online clearing service and practitioners asked us to extend this capability to patients. I’m confident that Healthcode users will profit from this addition to our services and that it won’t be long before online billing becomes universal in the private healthcare sector.”
Richard Shawyer, Managing Director of Patient Zone added: “This successful pilot shows there is a real appetite among independent practitioners and patients for a straightforward billing and payment process. With 29% of ebills being settled the same day, practices saw a significant boost to their cash flow. Meanwhile, patients had the reassurance of payment confirmation and the reassurance that their financial details were secure. I’m delighted that the benefits of Patient Zone are now going to be available to all Healthcode practices and their patients.”