Efficient Payment Processes: An Unexpected Game Changer for Dentistry

July 22, 2022

At a glance

  • Embrace tech-forward payments: Many dentists have been slow to adopt updated payments technology in their practices while the rest of the healthcare industry speeds ahead.
  • Impact on your practice: By offering more payment efficiency through the tools and technology patients are already accustomed to using elsewhere, you can provide them with a better experience and save your business more money.
  • Next steps: Aprio Merchant Services will offer a free consultation and analysis to dentists looking to take the leap into electronic payments.

Schedule your consultation with Aprio today

The full story:

The healthcare industry has started to embrace the benefits of tech-forward trends like electronic payments — but dentistry has been slow to jump on the bandwagon. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, electronic claim payments represented almost 75% of all claim payments in medicine in 2020, but only 20% of those occurred in dental offices.[1]

What’s the risk of not implementing electronic payment systems? You may be surprised at what you stand to lose.

Your patients — and practice — hang in the balance

Whether it is using a mobile app to place a takeout order or making a loan payment with the click of a button, your patients want to pay for their healthcare with the same flexibility they enjoy when paying for other necessary expenses. Plus, there is a lot more financial pressure on patients today when it comes to healthcare; providing innovative tools and transparency to ease the burden will put your practice ahead of the competition.

Implementing more efficient electronic payment methods doesn’t only benefit your patients; these tools can also boost your bottom line and create major time savings.

Consider this: how much time does your administrative staff spend every week sending out paper billing statements or refund checks in the mail? How much money do you spend on paper and stamps? How many of your patients forget to open their mail and let payments lapse? What does that aging accounts receivable look like for you?

When you break it down, the time and dollars spent on maintaining manual, paper-based payment processes are more significant than adopting, implementing and training your staff on new (and better) electronic payment tools.

Ridding your business of manual payment methods is also critical when you factor in the labor shortage that many dental practices and owners are grappling with currently. The more tasks you are able to automate and simplify for your front office, the higher your employee attraction and retention rates will be, especially since staff will have the opportunity to spend extra time on more strategic, value-added tasks.

Prioritize key touch points for efficient electronic payments

If you have concerns about the transition to electronic payments, it helps to take a big-picture look at your business. Here are some key considerations and strategies to keep in mind when thinking about making the switch:

  • Focus on convenience and patient care: To help introduce electronic payments while simultaneously creating more financial flexibility for patients, many dentists have started setting up electronic payment plans. These plans allow patients to pay for key services and procedures at a more realistic pace in an automatic, low-fuss manner. Plus, electronic payment plans help make out-of-pocket costs more feasible for patients, allowing them to elect for necessary care they might otherwise not be able to afford and opening the door for dentists to provide more services to those in need.
  • Enable 24/7/365 payments: Accepting payments online either directly through your website or via QR codes are two simple ways to create a convenient, frictionless patient payment experience. More progressive dental practices are turning to text message, which has become patients’ primary mode of communication. By leveraging technology that enables practitioners to customize text messages to patients with hard-coded links that allow them to click and scan their credit cards securely, patients are empowered to pay bills anytime, anywhere. They no longer have to be in the office or track down your front desk over the phone to submit payments.
  • Consider strategies to shorten the cash cycle: Positive cash flow allows you to make new investments like hiring employees, opening a new location, and buying better tech and equipment. In addition, working capital isn’t tied up as long, so your business will benefit from greater liquidity. There is a variety of different ways to shorten the cash cycle and improve cash flow. You can provide a larger menu of online payment options or collect payments before patients’ appointments through text-to-pay or emailed links. You could also collect insurance information from patients through online forms before their appointments so there are no surprises at checkout. As I mentioned earlier, you can also utilize automatic payment plans to create steady, reliable cash flow on a regular basis.

The bottom line

If this is your first entry into the efficient electronic payments world, you may feel daunted and unsure about what tools to implement, which processes to retune and where to start.

Aprio Merchant Services is here to help. We provide a unique, complimentary consultative experience powered through our partner-enabled platforms, which allow us to create a tailored solution that works specifically for you and your dental practice — not just a static tool right out of the box. Through it all, our goal is to help you implement a solution that allows you to save money, create more efficient processes and increase patient retention.

Schedule a complimentary consultation with us today.

Related resources

[1] Mary Beth Versaci, “ADA webinar to discuss using electronic funds transfer for fast insurance claim payments,” American Dental Association, May 25, 2022, https://www.ada.org/publications/ada-news/2022/may/ada-webinar-to-discuss-using-electronic-funds-transfer-for-fast-insurance-claim-payments, accessed June 2022.