Hospital boosts patient payments via online portal

Boca Raton Regional Medical Center has significantly boosted collections from its patients by placing a payment portal on the hospital's website.

The 400-bed facility in Southeast Florida added the payment portal to its website in the spring of 2011 with the intent of increasing cash flow and reducing its accounts receivable days, Veronica Small, Boca Raton's patient finance services director, said at the Healthcare Finance Management Association's annual national institute in Las Vegas on Monday.

Although web-based portals for paying bills have proven immensely popular for consumers, healthcare has been slow to adapt such methods. Less than 10 percent of patient payments were made online in 2010, reported American Medical News. However, some software companies are moving toward that arena, even offering smartphone apps to process patient payments, according to Tech Crunch.

Boca Raton had performed a little more than 77,000 patient payment transactions between April 2010 and March 2011, the one-year period just prior to installing the payment portal. After its installation in April 2011, transactions increased more than 10 percent, to 84,463 during the following one-year period. Overall collections increased from $13.8 million to $14.7 million. Accounts receivable over 180 days--considered the writeoff point by the hospital--dropped more than 6 percent.

Small said the move to a web portal, which was provided by Atlanta-based RelayHealth, also decreased the manual processes involved with processing payments. It allowed for the reduction of about a dozen positions, she noted.

To learn more:
-here's the American Medical News article
- rad the Tech Crunch article

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