Make Patients Want to Pay

Want your patients to pay when they visit and be happy about it? Use the following strategies to help them understand what to pay, to be willing to pay, and to walk out of the practice feeling their payment was equal to services received.


  • Acknowledge patients are customers – From the moment money changes hands, patients see themselves as customers. Provide value for their visit and make their experience satisfying—which means thinking about their whole visit, including paying.
  • Spread the word – Post professional, easy-to-understand messages about co-pays and other costs throughout the waiting room on the walls, as tents on tables, and in communications to your patients. Remember to make messages simple, but explanatory and positive.
  • Be flexible – Accept credit and debit cards. Take checks. Offer flexible payment plans for patients short on cash. Have enough cash on hand to change a $50 or $100 bill for those long on cash. Short of accepting a chicken, let your patients know you will gladly accept their reimbursement.
  • Be polite – Make sure the staff at the desk smile, and say “please” and “thank you.” Train them how to handle difficult conversations with patients. Hire personalities who will make patients’ visits as pleasant as possible. Take cues from companies known for their customer service.
  • ALWAYS be pleasant – There are a lot of ways you communicate with patients besides in-person: on the phone, via email, through mail, and via invoices. Always be pleasant and polite, and take the time in communications to acknowledge the patient’s choice to visit your practice.
  • Embrace technology – Consider online billing and electronic transfers. If your practice is large enough, install payment kiosk systems. Make paying painless.

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7 Responses to “Make Patients Want to Pay”

  1. T. Beyer says:

    And I would like to add:
    … be equal, fair and consitstant – to and with EVERY patient!
    Don’t pick and choose between patients you favor and those you have a dislike for!
    Word goes around!
    And DON’T make it (or take it) personal ( in a positive or a negative way!)

  2. Leslie Tibbetts says:

    These are ALL VERY CUSTOMER ORIENTED suggestions that should be followed at all times. After all if they weren’t your patients or clients, YOU wouldn’t be working!! I learned extremely high work ethic when I got my latest education. In the past, my actions were “questionable” so I’m so grateful for going back to school to get National Certification in Medical Insurance Billing & Coding. It’s just a shame that in Wichita, there are not enough positions to keep us all working in the medical field.

  3. Lora says:

    It is also very important to ask, “how much can you pay on your balance today” and NOT, would you like to pay on your account.

  4. Kristy says:

    I work in an ambulatory surgery center and we have initiated pre-registration with benefits available 3-5 days prior to their procedure. This has helped tremendously with our collections along with patient satisfaction. When patients are educated about their expenses prior to their procedure then they aren’t surprised on the day of with a huge deductible or a large bill a few weeks later. Awareness makes a difference.

  5. Karen Patton says:

    We have found that if we only renew prescriptions for one month and then the patient calls back they are willing to make a payment on their account. However, if we renew rx for 6 months then we don’t get a payment. Also, education goes a long way in helping recover money. This is the time of year when deductibles start over so we educate our patients on their insurance.

  6. Fred says:

    As a new biller these are some very helpful hints and I think you for the knowledge keep them coming I one who love to hear from someone goes through question I have some days thanks again fred from up-state New York

  7. Mary Hopped says:

    Thank you for considering the patient. Many do not understand, especially the elderly, billing issues. Being gracious and patient with a listening ear benefits all involved. And it’s just plain nice.

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