The HIMSS Revenue Cycle Improvement Task Force (RCITF) is an initiative that brings together a group payer, provider, and vendor executives to brainstorm and lay a framework for a modernized healthcare revenue cycle. The roadmap and solutions are designed to be vendor agnostic and focus primarily on the patient financial experience.
“This year, the Task Force is focusing on finding solutions that keep the patient’s perspective top of mind while redefining where revenue cycle management should be in the future in order to support this,” said Bird Blitch, CEO of Patientco and chairman of RCITF. “At the end of the day, every individual is a consumer of healthcare, so we start and finish with that viewpoint in mind.”(more…)
Many healthcare providers are still using outdated or inefficient systems to process patient payments. Until recently, smaller practices typically only handled small copayments and rarely, if ever, needed to manage large transactions as insurance was their primary revenue source.. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. The Affordable Care Act minted millions of newly-insured patients, most of which have high-deductible plans, increasing patient volume and patient A/R at many practices.
With increased copays and higher deductibles than ever, patients are more conscious about their medical expenses. Prior to meeting a deductible, a routine physician visit may cost hundreds of dollars, money the patient may not immediately have on hand at the time of the visit. While the proliferation of financing options and payment plans is a positive development for patients, it can create additional work for the business office staff if not implemented with ease and efficiency in mind, particularly at scale.
Hardware, Software, and Flat-rate Processing on a Single Healthcare-Specific Technology Platform
By bundling all of their patient payment functions onto a single technology platform, providers can eliminate the need to consolidate payments from multiple sources. With every payment in one place, reconciling payments happens automatically because each payment is already tagged with the relevant transaction data. When providers use healthcare-specific payment platforms like Patientco, they can auto-post these tagged payments back into their EHR/PM system and save hours of manual reconciliation per day as an added bonus.
Improved Security: No Weak Links
One of the most important challenges in healthcare today is protecting the healthcare and financial data of patients. Breaches occur on a weekly basis, with smaller practices being targeted for their lack of enterprise-caliber IT security. These security risks are increased as many providers have yet to transition to EMV-compliant credit card terminals and a few still even keep patient credit card information printed on file in binders believe it or not! This is a major security risk. An integrated platform from a single vendor guarantees end-to-end encryption to support your HIPAA and PCI compliance efforts.
Conclusion: Bundle for Convenience, Security
Patients and providers both want a convenient payment experience, especially at the point of service, where making the payment is part of the customer experience and will impact patient satisfaction before and after the clinical part of an episode of care. Plug in a platform that allows you to deliver a positive payment experience in the most efficient way possible.
The Kaiser Family Foundation released the results of their 18th annual employer health benefits survey and the average deductible (for single workers) has increased to $1,478, compared to $735 in 2008. On the bright side, the survey showed just under ten percent of Americans were not covered by health insurance and average premiums only increased by 3%.
What does another year of increases in out-of-pocket costs mean for healthcare providers and their patients? It means both parties will have more ‘skin in the game’, leaving a larger segment of the healthcare revenue cycle to be settled between the provider and the patient.
According to the survey, 40% of patients insured by their employer are covered under a high deductible health plan, with or without an HSA (healthcare savings account). These patients will be more likely to seek out payment plans or financing for any episode of care that approaches exceeds their deductible.
Providers are already taking steps to address the shift to consumerism in healthcare. In Patientco’s State of the Industry Survey report, 86% of providers rated patient satisfaction as a top concern regarding financial experience. Providers are also transitioning to EMV-compliant credit card processing if they have not already, due to the passed deadline to make the transition.
If these trends continue as expected, providers will need to prepare their business office staff to manage increased volume of patient payment transactions, and the respective task of reconciling and posting these payments.
This week, Patientco released the results of a survey we issued to healthcare providers last month. The questions focused on payment methods offered to patients by providers as well as areas of focus regarding payments for the coming year. You can view the full survey report here.
Here are 3 interesting findings from the report:
Patient satisfaction is a top concern for 86% of healthcare providers.
Along with collecting payments upfront (84%), patient satisfaction was the top concern for healthcare providers regarding patient financial experience. As technology tools and social media increase transparency and consumerism, providers are taking steps to improve the non-clinical aspects of patient experience. (more…)
Healthcare changes directions constantly in the United States; this year alone, we’ve seen high numbers of mergers and acquisitions on the payer and provider sides alike. On the technology side, vendors and their clients are evolving to meet patient expectations while defending against more sophisticated cyberattacks.
Looking to the future, our upcoming presidential and congressional elections will dramatically impact healthcare policy regardless of who is elected. Payers, providers, and vendors must anticipate and accommodate policy changes all while maintaining compliant businesses and delivering superior customer service. Not an easy task!
Patients must review and choose a new coverage plan every year. Once selected, the patient must find providers who are in-network and shop for effective care that won’t break the bank. Also not an easy task!
The US healthcare system can be challenging to navigate as a patient and, as a patient payment technology vendor, Patientco is partly responsible for helping patients navigate a small part of this journey.
Every year, the Patientco team goes white water rafting. Each team member goes down the same stretch of river in groups of 5 or 6 and a river guide, no matter his or her skill level. Even first-timers are subjected to class IV rapids.
Before a whitewater rafting group leaves the shore, the river guide walks through a series of commands designed to keep the group in sync on the river. Understanding and responding to these commands can be a matter of life and death—a flipped raft or a hard fall can have serious consequences.
When the current unexpectedly shifts, the leader may call out “forward 3!” [paddle 3 strokes forward]. There is no time for deliberation, only execution. The team members need to execute the motion immediately, in sync.
In healthcare, policy changes may be less sudden than an oncoming current, but hospitals and vendors are much larger rafts. Major strategy changes can take years to implement with little room for error. People’s health and well-being are at stake—a matter of life and death in some circumstances. Payers, providers, and technology vendors are all stakeholders in the final outcome becauseat the end of the day, we are all patients.
In the lobby of Patientco’s headquarters is a large wooden oar hanging over a glass plaque with our mission inscribed at the bottom: Easing healthcare’s transition towards increased patient financial responsibility through exceptional service and proven consumer-centric technology.
Patientco’s annual whitewater rafting trip is more than a team-building exercise. Careening down rapids as a group is a metaphor for navigating the complicated and ever-changing world of patient payment technology, so our providers and their patients don’t have to.
Point-of-sale systems are responsible for 48% of assets compromised in healthcare data breaches. -2012 Verizon Study
The above study was quoted by Modern Healthcare regarding the latest large-scale healthcare cyberattack. Last week, Banner Health disclosed a breach that may have affected up to 3.7 million patients, the 8th largest data compromise for a healthcare provider to date (payer Anthem’s 2015 breach affected 78 million). Interestingly, the initial cyberattack was not targeted at the EHR system or key employees. Instead, the hackers targeted the systems that processed credit card payments for food and beverage purchases at Banner facilities. They then leveraged that data to gain access to patients’ medical records and other information.
However, that was not the only payments security breach last week. Security researchers suggested that an exploit in Oracle MICROS cash registers may have exposed tens of millions of consumers’ personal data. While not a healthcare-specific attack, it goes to show that it only takes one vulnerability to expose sensitive customer data. In this case, 330,000 cash registers in 180 countries may have been compromised. (more…)
The recent flurry of acquisitions of physicians by hospitals and health systems is a sign that doctors are beginning to rely on the scalable technological infrastructure of these larger organizations. One piece of this infrastructure is patient billing, with acquired practices often taking on the same billing system as their parent system. Practices that choose to stand alone, however,must meet the challenging task of finding cost-effective ways to address their billing technology needs.
While processing patient payments is a challenge facing all healthcare providers, small practices may have it the hardest. A recent MGMA survey of practices says that 25% of a patient’s final bill consists of out-of-pocket costs, only a fraction of which are ultimately collected before practices send the accounts to collections or write off as bad debt. Small practices often lack the financial or human resources to follow up with patients to try and collect forgotten copays or out-of-pocket patient A/R. They often lack the sophisticated technology that hospitals and IDNs use to prioritize accounts and maximize their efforts. (more…)
Patientco, in partnership with Watsi, funded treatment for 6 patients following a successful promotion at HFMA’s 2016 ANI conference. The promotion, which included donating every time an attendee visited Patientco’s exhibit booth, continues a Patientco tradition of funding life-saving treatment for patients in need.
“We are thrilled to work with the Watsi team on this initiative to help use our time at HFMA ANI to give back,” said Josh Byrd, Director of Marketing at Patientco, “we look forward to seeing how these patients’ lives are changed through the treatment they receive. Watsi is fantastic organization and we look forward to finding new and creative ways to work with them in the future.”
Watsi is one of the fastest-growing non-profit organizations in the country, with one hundred percent of donations going directly to patient treatment costs. To learn more about the patients we funded, click on their pictures below. Thank you for your support!
HFMA’s 2016 ANI conference wrapped up last week in Las Vegas. The Patientco team, along with several of our partners and clients, attended the event.
The annual go-to gathering for healthcare finance professionals put an increased focus on patient payments for the second consecutive year. In addition to holding several sessions dedicated to addressing increased patient financial responsibility, a larger proportion of the exhibit hall was dedicated to billing-related vendors and services. (more…)