Talking to patients
- On 05/05/2016
Communicating change to patients, particularly when it involves changes to your billing structure, is essential. Patients are much more willing to tolerate change when they perceive an increase in quality of care, and understand the motivation behind changes in price.
Many patients have become aware through media that the Medicare freeze is threatening the sustainability of general practice. Putting signs and posters up in your practice that explain the impact of the freeze is another way to educate patients about this issue.
If you are planning on changing your fee structure, it is a good idea to inform patients at least a month before you implement the change. This gives patients time to consider how the changes will impact them, as well as contact your practice with questions and concerns.
On the phone
Letting patients know about changes to your fee structure is important when they are booking appointments. An automated message alerting patients to that you are no longer a bulk billing practice prior to their call being connected to the front desk receptionist is a good way to ensure consistency in your messaging.
Your staff members will play a key role in communicating the changes to patients. Ensuring that staff are well-versed in the new billing structure and understand why the practice is evolving is absolutely necessary. Some practices give staff members a script to help them communicate with patients when they enquire about changes. Having information the patient can take away which further explains changes to billing structure is also a good idea.