The digital revolution and eCommerce are fueling rising consumer demands in the dental industry. Patients increasingly expect “anytime, anywhere” convenience from their healthcare providers—especially when it comes to billing. According to McKinsey, nearly 90% of all U.S. consumers use at least one form of digital payment, and the number of those using two or more rose by a staggering 11% in a single year in 2022.
Today, the patient experience has expanded beyond the practice environment with demands for flexibility and an emphasis on digitization. To keep up with this shift in behavior, dental practices must be able—and willing—to adapt to technology.
What Are Digital Payments?
Digital payment solutions are software designed to make transactions as simple and seamless as possible. In the context of a dental practice, a patient can receive a bill through email or text and use a mobile app to make a payment. Not only does this improve their experience, but it also reduces the workload of traditional paper-based payments for office staff.
Before we dive into how these digital solutions help dentists meet rising demands, it’s crucial to understand the exact expectations the industry is up against.
Patient Payment Expectations
Nobody wants to be stuck on a long phone call about complicated billing or insurance processes—much less have to deal with stacks of paperwork. Yet before the pandemic, around 88% of healthcare providers still relied on these paper-based transactions, according to InstaMed. When it comes to the payment portion of the patient experience, simplicity and efficiency are two top priorities.
As digital payment options became omnipresent during the early months of the pandemic, people quickly grew accustomed to the convenience. This has resulted in increasingly tech-savvy patients who feel dissatisfied with complicated payment methods; this is especially true among younger generations. 35% of Millennials and Gen Zers are willing to switch healthcare providers if one has better digital tools, according to a study from Rectangle Health.
To simplify the experience for patients, dental practices are moving toward digital solutions that emulate the ease of paying for subscription services or online shopping carts like Amazon.
Beyond the convenience of electronic contactless payment, patients also expect a streamlined billing process. When office staff have to create and sort through physical files, not only does it take valuable time, forcing the patient to wait, but it also leaves room for human error. Digital payment solutions eliminate these inefficient manual processes, reducing patient wait times and freeing up staff for face-to-face engagement.
In addition to billing, digital payment solutions can also help dental practices automate insurance processing workflows. Without the need for manual data entry, digital insurance tools can reduce potential errors and allow for faster turnaround times. Practices benefit from improved cash flow while patients no longer have to deal with headaches trying to resolve insurance issues.
How Digital Payments Help Meet Patient and Practice Demands
As more dental patients and practitioners grow up as digital natives, dental offices will inevitably undergo a technological transformation to keep up with the times. In terms of payment options, employing digital solutions can help dental offices stay ahead of the curve while aligning with patient demands.
Here are five ways electronic billing can boost your business and improve the patient experience:
1. Versatile and Flexible Payments
In the era of mobile payment services like Apple Pay® and Venmo, patients want more options to pay than cash, check or card. According to McKinsey, 30% of people use three or more digital wallets, highlighting the need for practices to accept alternative payment methods.
On the other hand, many patients want to pay with their card, but find the current process to be unintuitive. Digital solutions can not only expand a practice’s payment options, but they can also automate billing through text messages or emails with a simple link.
2. Unified Billing Information
For dental practitioners, a digital payment platform offers a unified view and easy access to patient financial records. This saves time for administrative staff and eliminates issues related to disparate, fragmented data sources. In addition, many platforms provide a centralized database that shows real-time updates on individual patients throughout the payment process.
3. Easy Insurance Verification
With electronic claims and insurance verification integrations, digital payment solutions can enable accelerated insurance workflows. The automated system can check for eligibility, benefits and claim status and alert staff of potential errors before they hit submit. These digital insurance solutions can also provide patients with critical information to help them make informed decisions about their care.
4. Streamlined Patient Check Out
Checking out patients after an appointment is often a slow and inefficient process that creates long wait lines during peak hours. With electronic payment software, you can automatically add them to the checkout queue in real-time. This added efficiency minimizes frustration for both staff and patients. In addition, some solutions offer automated statements, enabling practices to securely send out printed bills directly through the mail.
5. Revenue Cycle Management
Traditional dental billing management can be a complicated task, but it’s essential to ensure the financial health of any practice. Going beyond handling transactions, digital payment solutions can also help dentists improve revenue cycle management. By tracking patient payments from their first examination to the final balance, practices can keep a close eye on their earnings, critical KPIs and the latest billing codes. That way, they can expedite cash flow and insurance reimbursements for their services.
Meet Your Patient Demands with Sensei Cloud Payment Solutions
Dental payments shouldn’t have to be a hassle for your patients or your team. With Sensei Cloud and Payment Solutions, your practice receives a fully integrated digital payment and practice management platform to maximize revenue and patient satisfaction. Expand your payment options and streamline the entire process with an intuitive software solution.
Want to learn how you can exceed your patients’ expectations? Request a demo today.