By Bird Blitch, Patientco CEO
As 2014 comes to a close, it’s always important to look back to the beginning of the year and appreciate how much we’ve grown. I’m not just talking about revenue growth or number of satisfied Patientco users. Instead, I prefer to see those metrics as an inevitable byproduct of our personal growth- inside our company, and more specifically in our relationships with our providers.
As a team, we put in plenty of extra effort moving into a new office in Atlanta early this year. In addition to growing into a larger space, we sponsored a hackathon at Georgia Tech, took a whitewater rafting trip, and attended a few sporting events, but there’s no question that our team worked to deliver exceptional service to healthcare providers and their patients. Like Providers, we worked on holidays, weekends, and sometimes late into the night because our industry never sleeps. But that’s because we care deeply about our mission. This is our culture.
Healthcare in 2014
Healthcare continued to undergo major changes in 2014 and as the Affordable Care Act created 7 million new patients, we saw an increase in the number of high deductible health plans- and we expect that number to increase in 2015. We saw many Providers struggle with declining Medicare reimbursements and the expansion of Medicaid (or lack thereof). More insured patients with high deductibles, plus lower reimbursements, are a recipe for a shift in the payer mix towards the patient.
This all means that patient payments will reach record levels of importance in the coming year. Providers will be swamped with extra work consolidating their payment channels until they move to a single payment platform. Payment intelligence will be correspondingly critical. Knowing when, why, and how patients pay will be the key to optimizing this revenue stream.
Payments in 2014
Speaking of payments, the Payments Industry had quite a rollercoaster year. On one hand, we can all agree that cyber attacks on banks dominated the industry news cycle and 2015 will see nearly every CIO racing to beef up their security. However, I also think new innovations like tokenization and EMV will ensure that payment channels will become more secure than ever before. Online channels are now the norm, so failure is not an option.
For all of us, 2014 was the year of the Cloud. From our iPhones to our Fitbits to our bills, Americans are connected even when we are not facing a computer screen. But for those Providers who do face a computer screen (managing revenue cycle functions, for example), the Cloud is about simpler software that makes your life better, not worse. I’m encouraged that this trend will continue to evolve.
A recent Histalk poll of our peers reported that 73% of respondents are (personally) happier than a year ago, and at Patientco we look forward to making an even larger contribution to that happiness in 2015.