By Bird Blitch, CEO
2013 – what a year. It produced a lot of changes, and then some challenges, and even some unique opportunities in healthcare, especially around our area of specialization, patient payments. As we are spending time with our loved ones and reflecting on the year, I want to take a moment to share with you a few of this year’s triumphs at Patientco before looking ahead to 2014.
Major political changes to the healthcare system were the top story of 2013. The Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) finally went into full effect, and it widely impacted providers, vendors, and employers alike. But most importantly, the ACA impacted patients. We saw an increase of insured patients as well as an increase in high deductible health plans, both of which will increase the amount of patient payments providers must process. On the Medicare side, CMS implemented cuts to provider reimbursement, saddling seniors using Medicare with even more financial responsibility. All in all, it’s a big problem, er, challenge, for patients as they owe more, a year later, for the same exact healthcare services. This creates misunderstanding around an already confusing process, and makes processing patient payments in a consumer-centric way an even harder goal.
Providers are recognizing the challenge as well. A recent study revealed that 88% of CFOs (and 63% of CIOs) agree that, to meet this dynamic in the marketplace, their current revenue cycle management system needs to be upgraded or replaced. The consensus is clear that healthcare providers must engage their patients in simpler, user-friendly ways to capture the increased revenue that will originate with patient payments. And it’s a top priority now. Doing nothing and hoping things will get better is like trying to score a touchdown while sitting on the bench.
This leads me back to a very important point. We originally created Patientco because we believe there is a better way to process more payments for providers…by building a more satisfying payment process for the patient. If we can help the patient understand more, the payment is just a natural part of the rest of the process. And we are succeeding here: our providers/customers report that using cloud-based technology tools lead to higher web adoption rates, decreased calls to the billing office, and increased payments. Our new roster of hospitals, practices, and HMEs indicates that the industry is recognizing the value of treating the patient as a consumer and engaging them as such.
But our growth was not just limited to new provider clients. In 2013, we also doubled our operations team and added new software developers to bolster our ability to serve our clients better. As a team we worked harder, grew closer, and we are excited to announce a move to a larger office in January to accommodate our growth. Working at Patientco is both challenging and fun, and this is important. Because we want this unique brand of customer service to be felt by every single one of our customers and that level of service originates in our company culture. Every single team member is proud of the positive impact we make on our provider clients and their patients.
And people notice. We were especially flattered to receive the Fierce Innovation Awards, Healthcare Edition prize for Best Revenue Cycle Product in a competition that was judged by some of the top CIOs in healthcare. The judges validated our unique approach to changing patient behavior to influence payment results. It’s the science behind the technology that makes doing what we do so fun and innovative.
We were also awarded Healthcare IT Startup of the Year by the Metro Atlanta Chamber, which speaks to our success not just in the patient payments space, but also relative to other companies in the City known as the “Nation’s Healthcare IT Capital.”
I am thrilled with our progress in 2013 and the positive impact we are making in every single aspect of healthcare as it relates to patient payments. Our mission is “Easing healthcare’s transition towards increased financial responsibility through exceptional service and proven consumer-centric technology.” Times are challenging but this mission is something we can all agree on and it’s also something we can all contribute towards.
Stay tuned for another blog, which is an inside look at the future of Patientco in 2014 and beyond, but for now, please have a relaxing and enjoyable holiday.