How to Take Payments at Your Healthcare Practice

a dentist processing payments at her healthcare practice

Whether you heal bones or broken hearts, your work is important, and so is getting paid for what you do. That’s why taking payments at your medical practice is a crucial aspect of your business.

As the healthcare and insurance industries evolve, patients are paying more out of pocket. In 2016, patient payments totaled $423.8 billion. By 2019, that number is slated to reach $515 billion.

To ensure easy, safe payments from patients, a solid healthcare payment system is crucial to keep medical practices healthy and revenue flowing. The chances of collecting payment drops by 62 percent once a patient leaves your office. To avoid losing out on copays or other charges, make it easy for patients to pay at the front desk, catch them before they head out, or allow them to prepay before appointments.

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Processing payments at your practice

Giving your patients multiple ways to pay is crucial to ensuring timely payment. According to J.P. Morgan Chase, patients’ desire for omnichannel payment experiences has grown. This means that they are looking for different ways to pay — online, in app, or in the office.

To meet this need, it’s essential to have a versatile healthcare payment system. You may choose to provide an app for intake forms and copay payment use, or bring a mobile credit card reader directly into the exam room for their convenience.

Pro tip: Whatever your payment solution, ensure that the experience is the same however patients may be opting to pay — in person, in app, or from an invoice.

How to take payments with your healthcare payment system

Before the appointment

To improve your customer experience and reduce wait times, encourage patients to fill out forms and pay the copay before coming in the office, using a solution like the Square and IntakeQ integration.

The integration allows you to easily build custom forms and take payments on Square (and IntakeQ is PCI DSS Service Provider Level I compliant and HIPAA compliant). So when the patient arrives, they’ve already completed the necessary forms and paid their copay.

At the front desk

To easily process payments at your front desk before or after an appointment, opt for sleek hardware that complements your office, like Square Terminal, Square Register, or Square Stand with Square Reader for contactless and chip. You can also swipe cards on your office computer using Square Virtual Terminal and Reader for magstripe.

In the exam room

If you want a mobile option to take payments into an exam room or office for privacy or ease (pediatricians, looking at you), you may opt to go for a mobile payment solution. You’ll be able to bring the payments right to a patient by taking payments on Square Terminal or on an iPad or iPhone using Square Reader for magstripe (with Lightning connector) or with a Square Reader for contactless and chip.

Dr. Jonathan Kaplan, owner of Pacific Heights Plastic Surgery in San Francisco, uses Square Terminal to take payments at his practice. “The ability to take a sleek, bulletproof, dependable device into the exam room to charge the patient in private has upped our customer service game,” he says. “Now we can avoid the awkwardness of charging the patient at the front desk with everyone in the waiting room overhearing how much they spent.”

Take payments after the appointment

Your practice may opt to collect patient payments outside of the office. This is doable with an online invoice or through integration with a form-building app like IntakeQ or Dr. Chrono (Dr. Chrono also has the capability of keeping patient cards on file). And if none of these solutions best fit your practice, your developer can build a custom solution with our payment API or payment SDK.

What else should healthcare practices consider?

Healthcare practices and their healthcare payment systems must comply with specific requirements when it comes to managing patient information. Specifically, medical practices in the United States must comply with HIPAA when managing patient information and data.

If you are subject to HIPAA as a Covered Entity or Business Associate and use Square to process payments, you agree to the HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (HIPAA BAA). Under the HIPAA BAA, Square helps facilitate your HIPAA compliance.

As a merchant of record, Square takes data security seriously. When your patient pays, our proprietary tokenization scheme ensures that unencrypted payment data never touches your device or application. Learn more about how Square protects your business and your patients’ payment information.

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