No one will deny the historical importance of flip phones. They created a communication revolution by giving the public something once expensive and specialized - a mobile phone with 24/7 access as long as it had service. Flip phones fueled a progression for many people to move from landlines to mobile as their primary means of communication, subsequently leading to the boom in texting.
However, flip phones weren't the be all, end all of technological progression. Smartphones have taken over. According to the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of adults owned one as of early 2017, while just 18 percent still use flip phones. Additionally, as eMarketer pointed out, a growing number of U.S. residents exclusively use a smartphone for all of their needs related to internet use. That number is projected to reach 41.1 million in 2020.
A Credit Card Terminal vs. a Complete Payments Platform
"What do cell phones have to do with patient payments?"
The most direct comparison to make between older, more limited payment processing tools and a holistic solution for managing patient payments is the amount of functionality each provide.
A credit card terminal has one function: accepting credit and debit card payments. To deal with the numerous other aspects of effectively managing patient payments - accepting checks, refunding, reporting, reconciling and more - you need other tools. This is very similar to how flip phones are great tools for making phone calls and, to a slightly lesser extent, sending text messages.
However, many other functions people now take for granted through their smartphones, like email, browsing the internet, playing games and the abundance of social media, are severely limited on flip phones. In order to access all of those different things, you'd need a Palm Pilot, BlackBerry, and computer in addition to your phone. Just like outdated payment tools, you may need multiple software and hardware tools for the capabilities that are all now housed in one comprehensive solution.
This is the next piece between payment systems and mobile phones, as the similarity of smartphones to advanced payment solutions is clear. A smartphone does far more than a flip phone. In many respects, it comes close to replacing a desktop or laptop computer while providing better functionality for calling and texting than flip phones. The same can be said about comprehensive payment solutions.
Not only does a modern solution provide the ability to process credit and debit card and check transactions in person and online, it serves as a central management platform for the entire patient payment ecosystem. It accepts and tracks all payments while providing the tools needed to execute pre-scheduled patient payment plans and accept self-service online payments.
They also improved every aspect of the patient payments process. With a single, consolidated solution, healthcare providers can address needs in the areas of end-of-day, refunding, reconciling, receipts, posting, reporting and more. There's no need to switch between devices or computer programs when an advanced payment solution is in place.
Just as smartphones have become the new standard for the mobile phone market by revolutionizing technology, modern payment solutions have demonstrated their superiority over more limited tools and methods used to manage patient payments. The comparison is simple, true and enduring, and it leads to this powerful point: To give your facility the best tools possible to capture, manage and post patient payments, you need the most comprehensive platform possible.