Do you operate your practice on a subscription model? Well, you should seriously consider doing so if you have a niche service line that requires regular follow up like testosterone replacement therapy or weight loss. Patients in general feel like they get more value out of your services and products if they pay a monthly subscription fee.
Do you have an automatic payment plan setup with your subscription payment model? You seriously should, and here is why:
You nor your patient needs to think about the payment!
I have recently moved to an automatic payment plan for my men’s health practice and it was one of the best decisions we made in terms of improving our overall time management and performance.
Our old model was having patients who wanted to pay monthly come in for their weekly testosterone injection and pay at the beginning of every month in person. As we have grown, this has really become “busy work” for my medical assistants and has slowed down other more important processes, like calling back potential patients, reviewing labs, ordering supplies, etc… It started to get to the point where phone calls were being missed, appointments were not being scheduled, and a variety of other issues that were affecting my bottom line. Once your bottom line begins to become affected, it is time to make some changes, and that is what we did.
We began putting all patients on an automatic bill pay and started to dispense the patients 6-12 week supplies of testosterone that they could inject at home vs. coming in for weekly injections. Essentially, once a month the patient would be billed the monthly subscription fee of $129 (plus HCG, peptides, or whatever else they are on) and in exchange they would receive a home supply of medication vs. coming into the clinic for injections. I would estimate 80% of our patients decided to get on this program. What has this done for our practice? It has freed up A LOT of time, and I mean, A LOT of time. Hell, my medical assistants now twiddle their thumbs throughout the day! This is good as we grow; I need them to be available to schedule new patients and keep our current ones as happy as possible! We have seen an INCREASE in revenue since implementing this.
The patients also love it. We have had comment after comment from patients that they love injecting at home and not having to think about the monthly payment. It has really made treatment more convenient for the patient. Remember, convenience = happy patients.
Now, some of you might be worried that patients will stiff you. Can this happen? Yes. Will this happen? VERY RARELY. If you have a strict no tolerance policy in place, then very few patients will pull a fast one on you. If they do, immediately remove them from your practice and refuse treatment until they pay. It is as simple as that. We have been doing this around 4-5 months now and we have not had a single person not pay. I talked to a mentor of mine who has been doing this for years, and he said in 5 years he has had 2 patients he can think of that totally stiffed them out of the monthly charge. In general, it is very safe.
There are few (if any) cons associated with going to an automatic payment plan. It is mostly just pros:
1) It frees up time in your practice because you are not having to see the patients in person frequently.
2) It allows for a steady and predictable flow of income into your practice.
3) It is automated, which frees up even more time.
4) It is convenient for the patient.
5) Patients derive value out of it.
Which program or service should you use to set up the automatic payment plan? First off, check with your EMR, merchant service provider, or payment processor. Many of these applications have this function, but you would be surprised how many do not. I use a service called Loyalzoo that I can automatically integrate into my Clover payment processor. It is very simple and is completely automated. I have also heard good things about Square, Paypal and Stripe for recurring payments. You will need to do some shopping around, but first check with the payment processor you use now!
Regardless of what processor you use, just make sure it is automated. Too many payment processors just send the patient a “reminder” to pay every month. You don’t want that; you want this to automatically happen with a card that is on file for the patient.
So, if you do not have a subscription model in place, then seriously consider it. Once you have that model in place, then ensure you have an automatic payment plan set up. Trust me, you will thank me later.