The American healthcare system is evolving. Patients are increasingly receiving service from a number of small, standalone facilities such as urgent care clinics, diagnostic centers, dialysis clinics, and ambulatory surgical centers. To effectively serve their patients, this rapidly growing segment of the healthcare sector needs to evolve as well, particularly in the ways they deal with cash as part of their day-to-day operations. By using smart safes, these vital healthcare facilities can reduce concerns about cash losses and theft so they can concentrate on what’s truly important – caring for their patients.
Demand for Urgent Care Clinics is Growing Rapidly
According to Laurel Stoimenoff, CEO of the Urgent Care Association, the number of clinics in the U.S. grew from 6,946 in 2015 to 8,285 as of June 2018. Urgent care clinics handle about 89 million patient visits each year – almost 30% of all primary care visits in the country. Patients appreciate the increased convenience, faster service, and lower costs offered by these smaller facilities. A recent study of the costs of care in freestanding emergency departments, hospital emergency departments, and urgent care centers found the average price-per-visit for Texas-based urgent care clinics was just $168 in 2015, compared to $2,259 for hospital-based emergency department visits and $2,199 for freestanding emergency care clinics.
Many Patients Prefer to Pay for Their Healthcare with Cash
Despite the growth of credit cards and other electronic payment methods, a significant segment of the U.S. population still prefers to pay for goods and services in cash. Many patients are finding that they can even receive substantial discounts when they pay for their medical care in cash. The Wall Street Journal, for example, recently shared the story of a patient who received an X-ray for $70 by paying cash upfront instead of the $600 it would cost her by submitting a claim using her high-deductible insurance policy. This cash option may increasingly appeal to patients as many are enrolled in high deductible insurance plans where they pay for more of their medical services out of pocket. This trend benefits urgent care centers, as well. If a patient is willing to pay at the point of service, the urgent care center receives the funds immediately instead of waiting 30 to 60 days for a claim to be processed with an insurance company.
Smart Safes Eliminate the Need for Clinics to Manually Handle Cash
The main priority of front office personnel, healthcare professionals, and administrative staff should be patient care, not dealing with how to handle payments, particularly those that are facilitated with cash. Without a proven solution, daily cash volumes at healthcare clinics can lead to challenges that can be difficult to overcome. Smart safes can help relieve the burden of manually managing cash, allowing these facilities to reallocate staff to more important tasks rather than spending hours counting and reconciling cash payments, and chasing down missing funds. In addition, smart safes give clinics access to a rich suite of real-time data to effectively run a business at scale. With this burden removed, healthcare staffs place themselves in a better position to serve their clients.
Tidel is addressing the cash management needs of the ever-changing healthcare landscape. Our systems have been deployed in several healthcare organizations who have realized the dramatic efficiencies and accountability that a proven cash management system provides. Tidel solutions help secure and automate a cash business, alleviate worry, and allow providers to focus on patient care. To find out more, visit www.tidel.com/markets/healthcare.