The new year brings new challenges and new opportunities for healthcare providers.
Within these organizations, Chief Medical Officers are under increasing pressure to transform their operations to thrive both now and post-pandemic1, with revenue management near the top of the agenda, only behind improving patient health.
The search for innovative solutions is happening at the same time as healthcare providers are increasingly digitalizing to enhance services and focus more on their patients.
These two factors in tandem are combining to present tangible digital transformation opportunities for providers and patients, notably in the form of billing and payments.
Here, we look at three of the areas in which digital solutions can help make a difference.
The ability to access and manage healthcare payments matters greatly to patients. Roughly 63% consider switching healthcare providers if they are not satisfied with the payment methods available to them6.
Providers need to be aware that inconvenience and a lack of transparency and support can severely impact the way they are perceived by patients. And they need to do something about it if they’re to hold onto their patients and gain new ones.
Specifically, they should ensure that they are prepared to embrace the billing and payments aspect of the patient experience and use digital to help make things significantly easier for them.
After all, having the flexibility to manage bills in a way that works for patients will create a better experience and minimize the risk of missed payments. And that, in turn, will also benefit the provider by helping to avoid delayed or missed payments that would otherwise need to be chased up.
Digital transformation is impacting healthcare in ways we’ve never seen before. Providers are increasingly able to focus on patient care and decreasingly distracted by financial and other non-medical tasks. Patients want their healthcare experience to match their needs and that includes ease and convenience. What unites provider and patient is payments. Make them simple, flexible and digital, and you will see benefits all around.”
Payments: the intersection of patients and providers
As a patient, being presented with a greater choice of payment options is something you’d likely appreciate, given that nearly half of respondents to one survey said that healthcare was the most difficult industry to make a payment7.
As a healthcare provider, offering multiple payment channels – especially digital ones similar to those commonly found elsewhere – can not only help increase your cash flow but also bring you closer to customer habits and simply make it easier for the patient to pay.
The desire for flexible, digital ways to pay healthcare bills is growing, driven partly by the need for contact-free transactions during the pandemic and partly by consumer demand for easy and familiar payment methods9. Commonly resolving your healthcare bills in person or by other antiquated, slow methods is likely to wane in coming years.
As with other industries – consumer payment expectations will be diverse, both in channel and payment vehicle. After all, in retail, while credit and debit cards remain popular options for consumers to pay when shopping online, there are many other methods available9.
For example, patients want more digital options to choose from when settling their bills: 37% would like to pay via an online portal, and 32% would like to pay via a mobile app. Nearly half wish their healthcare provider also allowed them to pay via contactless credit or debit card, and a third would like to have the option to pay via payment apps10.
A new entry may be on the horizon to add to the list of healthcare payment options preferred by patients. Buy Now Pay Later, which has revolutionized payments in the retail and luxury spaces in 2021, has the potential to revolutionize patient payments.
With increasing patient expectations and an ever-diversifying payments experience to manage, providers are and should consider actions that will help automate and future-proof their “back of the house” – freeing up time and resources to focus on other core activities.
By 2019, 23% of large healthcare organizations had implemented solutions that increase automation. That figure grew to 34% in 20202 – and with 90% of hospitals now having a digital strategy featuring AI or automation in place3, this pattern of growth is likely to continue.
Part of the appeal of automation is the range of benefits it can bring to improve both providers’ and employee experiences. For example, processes can be streamlined and systems can be optimized; laborious, repetitive paper-based administrative and clinical processes reduced, all while reducing cost pressures.
Such benefits filter into revenue management, too, as a way of freeing up staff time and reducing the human error factor – therefore helping to reduce costs from resolving incorrect medical billing or claim payments.
And most importantly, all of the above benefits mean giving time back to healthcare practitioners so that they can do what they do best – patient care – while spending less time on finance and administration tasks.
Here to help
To embrace transformation in healthcare billing and payments, consider partnering with a global, integrated payment provider like Worldpay.
Our advanced payments technology could help to alleviate issues and improve the payments process in 2022 and beyond. Our advanced payments technology could help to alleviate issues and improve the payments process in 2022 and beyond.
Speak to us today to learn more about our payment solutions for healthcare providers.
1, 3 Health IT Analytics (2021) 90% of Hospitals Have Artificial Intelligence Strategies in Place[Accessed 16/12/21] https://healthitanalytics.com/news/90-of-hospitals-have-artificial-intelligence-strategies-in-place
2 Statista (2021) Awareness and Adoption of AI and Automation in Healthcare Worldwide in 2019 and 2020 https://www.statista.com/statistics/1223613/state-of-healthcare-automation-worldwide/
4 Verified Market Research (2021) Global Robotic Process Automation In Healthcare Market Size by Component, by Operations, by Application, by Geographic Scope and Forecast[Accessed 09/12/21] https://www.verifiedmarketresearch.com/product/robotic-process-automation-in-healthcare-market/
5 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (2021) AComprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) [Accessed 29/11/21] https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Monitoring-Programs/Improper-Payment-Measurement-Programs/CERT
6 PYMNTS.com (2021) 63% of Patients Will Switch Healthcare Providers if Their Payment Experience Doesn’t Cut It [Accessed 29/11/21] https://www.pymnts.com/healthcare/2021/63-pct-patients-will-switch-healthcare-providers-if-payment-experience-doesnt-cut-it/
7, 9 US Bank (2021) U.S. Bank Survey: COVID-19 Accelerated Virtual Care, Healthcare Payments Digitization [Accessed 29/11/21] https://ir.usbank.com/news-releases/news-release-details/us-bank-survey-covid-19-accelerated-virtual-care-healthcare
10 PYMNTS.com (2020) PYMNTS.com Survey of 2,683 Consumers Conducted between Nov. 23-25, 2020 https://www.pymnts.com/news/payments-innovation/2020/time-for-apple-pay-to-let-others-access-iphone-nfc-chip