It wasn’t so long ago I went on record as saying sending a self funding patient an invoice by email was a waste of time.
I still stand by that.
Empirical evidence from January 2015 to April 2015 confirmed it was much better to send a paper invoice to a self-funding patient. Invoices sent to a self funder by email (a form of EDI) are not as good as a paper invoice.
Not as good? In simple English – they do not get paid!
Earlier this week I received an email informing me many of the medical practice accounting packages out there contain an option to produce an EDI invoice for self funding patients.
If this is so why did I insist emailing (a version of EDI after all ) wasn’t the thing to do? I must therefore be mistaken otherwise why do the companies who write the software for a private medical practice bother with EDI invoicing?
For the record, I agree the vast majority of EDI software packages do indeed have the option to produce paper invoices. They need to. But if you think about it, the software holds all the data relating to an invoice electronically. It either sends that data in its electronic form or it sends it to your printer which transcribes the data into text.
The software package can do it either way.
I’ve said it repeatedly. It is much, much better to send invoices electronically. It’s easier, more accurate and quicker. Only if they are being sent to insurance companies and the like though. Most insurance companies demand you invoice electronically already. It is only a matter of time before they all INSIST you send all invoices to them electronically.
Yet I remain firmly of the opinion, in the case of self funding patients you need to send a paper invoice.
Take the situation when I logged on to my email this morning.
Overnight, as happens most mornings, I’d received hundreds of emails offering everything from a genuine luxury watch at up to 90% off to a gentleman in Russia who emailed me confirming he was ready to pay me back the $1,000 loan I made to him if I sent him my bank account details. All these type of emails had been diverted to my junk mail folder.
My situation is not unlike the vast majority of people out there who have an email account. That’s why we have junk filters on our email systems.
And that is the problem when you email an invoice to a self-funding patient.
I tried many times between January 2015 and April 2015 to send an email invoice to patients. On the majority of occasions I’ve had to call the patient anyway regarding the unpaid invoice only to be told the emailed original had never arrived. Most likely this was due to their own junk mail checkers doing their job and deciding my email was junk. Therefore I had to post a copy of the invoice anyway.
The self funding EDI invoice had not been paid.
In the case of self-funding patients do not try to send an electronic invoice to them. Send them a paper invoice.
EDI invoicing is totally the way forward. Absolutely every single MHM client is invoiced electronically IF the invoice is destined for an insurance company.
If the invoice is for a self funding patient, in respect of a shortfall or is for an excess absolutely every single one of them is in paper form.
In other words, even when the medical practice accounting package can send EDI invoices you should make sure it can produce paper invoices as well. You WILL need them for self-funding patients.
I still say I’m right