If you’re running a dental practice, one thing’s for sure: you are BUSY. In addition to treating the steady stream of patients coming through the door, you’ve got your whole back-office operation to manage. Managing historical patient data. Setting appointments. Reminding patients about their appointments. Processing insurance claims. Collecting payments. All these tasks take a lot of time.
By now, you’ve probably automated things to some extent. Patients may be able to opt-in for text and email appointment reminders, or set their appointments online to begin with. Historical patient data is probably stored in a dental practice management platform. And insurance claims, though not fully automated, are likely submitted through an online portal.
One of the most important ways to keep your business running smoothly is to collect payments. Without them, you can’t pay yourself and your staff or keep costly equipment up-to-date. However, collections management often gets deprioritized in the hustle of the workday. Maybe you’re still taking payments only in the office, with limited payment options. Or your back-office staff spends tons of time chasing down late payers when they could be dealing with more complex issues.
If this sounds a lot like your dental practice, consider evaluating an online invoicing platform. Like your practice management platform and appointment setting software, online invoicing can automate a lot of the manual work your staff is doing to collect payments. And it opens up a whole host of payment options, which can bring in patients who previously couldn’t afford dental services. Here are just a few of the ways online invoicing can support your dental practice:
Online invoicing takes those manual tasks your back-office staff does and automates them. Are you constantly on the phone, calling customers about late payments? Implement automated invoice chasing instead. The invoicing platform will send out a series of automated reminders to delinquent payers. What about payment plans - is your staff manually managing each client and their payment due dates? Configure payment plans in the invoicing platform, and let the system do the work for you. Taking these manual tasks off your plate will allow practice managers and accounting staff to focus on true exceptions.
Get paid faster.
Here’s a typical scenario: a patient comes in for some dental work. Based on insurance verification, you collect what appears to be the amount due from the patient. Then the insurance comes back, and the patient owes more than what was estimated. You send a bill in the mail and spend time following up on the phone when the payment doesn’t come in. What if you could send an electronic invoice once with the new amount, with a wide variety of payment options? That way the patient can pay directly from the invoice. That’s the type of speed an invoicing platform can provide - you get paid in a matter of days, not weeks, without the lengthy follow-up.
Many of us don’t go to the dentist - not because we dread it (although some of us do), but because we can’t afford it. Online invoicing software offers flexible payment options that can help bring in patients with lower incomes. Not only can you offer automated payment plans with a variety of payment methods, but you can also set up these payment plans with a variety of incentives that could reduce the cost and incent patients to pay on time. Discounts for early or on-time payments and coupons for special services are just a couple of options. These tactics can be really powerful - make sure you are telling prospective patients about them in marketing materials, initial consultations, and at checkout.
The reporting functions in online invoicing platforms can give you a broader picture of the financial status of your dental practice. How much are you bringing in each month? How long is it taking to collect payments? Which strategies are bringing in payments faster, and which ones are slower and could use a boost? These are all questions you can answer with invoicing reports. Reporting gives your staff the tools it needs to be proactive about billing strategies. Focus their efforts on optimizing accounts receivable - you’ll see a big difference at collections at the end of each month.
When payments are processed manually, there’s a constant fear in the back of your head. Did you forget something? Are you missing out on 5 or 10% of receivables this past month? It’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. The automation of online invoicing software gives your dental practice peace of mind. There’s no need to worry about missed payments, as they’re all logged and managed in the system. A quick check on reports will let you know which ones are lagging behind, so you can focus your efforts there.
Dental practices can benefit greatly from implementing online invoicing, and we’ve just scratched the surface. Want to learn how online invoicing fits into your dental practice strategy? Contact us today to schedule a demo.