Taking the time to regularly manage your clinic’s ageing debt enhances your long-term financial security and helps to ensure your practice runs smoothly and successfully.

Having a set of fundamental procedures in place assists in ensuring that you have an in-depth knowledge of every financial facet of your clinic – and your practice management software should provide tools to expose and reduce any ageing debt.

💬 Patient Conversations

Any conversation with a patient regarding unpaid invoices needs to be dealt with delicately, but if you have the right approach, you can guide it in a positive direction.

The key is for the team to be empathetic while remaining professional in these conversations. The primary purpose is to listen to your patients and ultimately work out a solution to help ensure that there is a way forward.

It is important to remember that there could be several reasons a client has missed a payment, such as:

  • 🤯 They may have overlooked or forgotten an invoice or email.
  • 😫 They may be experiencing financial difficulties.
  • 🤑 They may have thought a third party was responsible for payment.

By keeping the lines of communication open between your clinic and your patients, the situation can be dealt with promptly, resulting in satisfactory outcomes for everyone involved.

💡 Invoicing Tips

Personalising each invoice using your patient’s profile information while including a clear and concise message may prompt patients to settle their invoices in a more timely fashion.

☝️ 4 Points to Consider

  1. Is it clear if an insurer or a third party is covering any portion of their invoice?
  2. Does the invoice highlight various payment methods you accept?
  3. Have you provided your clinic’s contact details in case your patients have any queries about their invoices?
  4. Have you considered invoicing multiple appointments on a single invoice (for clarity)?

…and a hot tip…

When emailing patients outstanding invoices, try doing so in the morning, as an email received late afternoon has more potential to be overlooked.

Research suggests that people tend to check their emails first thing in the morning rather than at the end of the day.

💸 Payment Options

Leveraging technology by using your clinic management software to assist your clients in making payments could help reduce the level of debt within your clinic.

  • Online payments should be easily accessible to your patients, allowing people to pay at their convenience.
  • Your front desk staff should be able to accept payments by having readily available debit and credit card terminals for patients

💰 Payment Plans

If your clinic offers payment plans, then you must ensure that the official agreements are clear and understood by all parties involved.

  • The terms and conditions surrounding your available payment plans must be thoroughly explained and documented in writing before any acceptance.
  • You need to ensure that your clinic is in a strong enough financial position to allow payment plans, as your clinic’s cash flow will be delayed.
  • Seek professional financial and legal advice on constructing these agreements, ensuring they are binding and cover all contingencies.

…and a bonus fact…

Did you know that most major online payment processors can generate shareable payment links that you can share on your website?

With these payment links, your patients can make payments online, knowing that their transactions are secure and automatic.

Learn more by searching Google for “Shareable Payment Links” for the payment processor of your choice.

🤝 Supporting Staff

Like all important clinical processes, debt management is a team effort, so ensuring your team is adequately supported and trained with clear processes is essential.

Taking the time to educate and support your staff is a worthy investment, as it will help maintain the relationships between your team and your patients.

To ensure that your team is delivering a consistent message to every patient, you could consider providing a pre-approved script.

You can adapt the template below to suit a phone call, a face-to-face conversation or a written message.

Dear Percy,

This is a courtesy letter to let you know that you have overlooked payment for your appointment that you attended at our clinic. Please find the associated invoice attached.

For your convenience, we offer a range of payment options:

  • Call Us or Visit Our Clinic – Talk to one of our friendly staff to organise payment or to arrange a payment plan.
  • Pay via Credit Card – Visit our website (www.example.com) and pay using our secure payment process.
  • Pay via Bank Transfer – Make a direct payment to our bank account (Example Bank Details).

Please remember to use your invoice number and name as a reference when making any payment to us.

If you have any questions regarding this invoice or how to make payment, please do not hesitate to contact us at accounts@example.com or on 01 2345 6789 at any time.

Elizabeth Example
The Allied Health Group

📚 Report Time

Attending to your clinic’s ageing debt can take a significant amount of time; however, using your practice management software to generate financial-based reports can help reduce the time spent on administration.

  • Review your clinic’s list of payers to uncover large unpaid debt. 
  • Generate a daily report to view and reconcile your daily takings.
  • Review any payment processor reports to check for delays or failures.

❓ What To Do If All Else Fails

Occasionally you might have a client who has built up debt with your clinic and who has seemingly vanished into thin air. In this type of situation, you may need to consider writing off that debt.

When you complete this task through your Nookal account you can add an Alert Note to the client‘s profile to act as a reminder for the future and disable their online booking capability:

  • By adding an Alert Note you are ensuring that whoever may deal with that client again in your team will automatically be aware of the unpaid debt.
  • Disabling online booking helps to prevent that client from making an appointment at your clinic – meaning if they wish to return they will have to talk to someone first and pay their unattended debt off before normal service can resume.

🏃 The Rundown

Debt management is vital, and you should ensure that it is dealt with regularly within your clinic to ensure that it remains under control.

Using your practice management software and thinking outside the box can be helpful when dealing with clinical debt.

Being proactive in debt regulation ensures that you can concentrate more on providing the highest quality of care to your patients and improving the financial standing of your clinic.

💬 Join the Discussion

If we've interested, informed or inspired you with this article, we'd love you to share your thoughts and opinions with us in the comments section below.


About the Author


Lizzie is our witty worldwide web wordsmith who writes wise wordage while watching Wilton, her favourite family-friendly four-footed feline feebly fishing for food. She strings superbly sweet sentences, stopping swiftly short of superfluous saccharine speak such as "synergy".

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