e-bill service taps into self-pay surge

By Olive Carterton

Independent practitioners, hospitals, practices and clinics are being been offered ‘an efficient, secure and convenient’ way to send invoices directly to self-pay patients.

Online technology specialist Healthcode has expanded its customers’ popular online payment service with patientzone to take on board self-pay patient invoices for providers who use third-party software. 

It said this would make it easy for the thousands of providers who use its clearing service to access the patientzone platform so they can send electronic invoices to patients. 

As well as being more time-efficient than printing and posting paper invoices and more secure than sending unencrypted emails, the solution is being promoted as cost-effective when compared with arranging a merchant account or paying with credit card processing fees.

Product marketing manager Desné Marston said it would be more convenient for doctors, their secretaries and patients.

Desné Marston

She told Independent Practitioner Today secretaries would save time sending invoices and chasing payments, taking payments over the phone or having to take cheques to the bank. 

‘This has worked really well for our ePractice customers and we are opening it to all our customers. It is also a great debt collection tool, because once the invoice is sent to patientzone, you can write your own debt collection letters and patientzone will send them out automatically on your behalf at your timing.’

Electronic receipts

Patients settling their invoice online receive an electronic receipt to show their payment has been processed.

Healthcode launched online patient invoicing via patientzone to users of its ePractice software four years ago. In 2021, it began a shortfall collection service for hospitals, which automatically identified shortfalls and it used patientzone to send invoices and collect online payments. 

Civica Medical Billing

Both have proved popular: more than 76,000 electronic patientzone invoices have been processed since launch and volumes have increased year on year.

Providers pay patientzone a fee of 2.5% per paid bill (+ VAT) and a charge of 10p (+VAT) for each reminder letter sent.

Healthcode managing director Peter Connor said: ‘Our clearing service paved the way for the private healthcare sector to adopt electronic billing for insurers and I’m proud to say we’re continuing to break new ground with a service that’s both necessary and timely. 

‘As the self-funded market grows, it’s essential that providers can manage the patient journey as efficiently as possible rather than get bogged down with labour intensive and costly admin.

‘Online invoicing via patientzone is painless and more cost-effective than alternatives, as well as being a secure and convenient option for patients.’