Providers are embracing digital payments amid billing woes
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A new BillingTree survey reveals that healthcare providers and collections firms are investingin new digital payment solutions in order to combat challenges with billing that are dragging on revenue: 55% of respondents plan to add web payments within the next year, and 27% plan to add text payments over the same period.
The survey indicates that healthcare - an industry that hasn't kept pace with the payment advances benefiting retail and banking - may finally be playing some much-needed catch-up.
Healthcare's antiquated billing process negatively impacts provider revenue on two fronts:
- Administrative tasks hike up the cost of billing patients. Tasks like coverage verification, sending and receiving bills, and obtaining prior authorization are costing healthcare providers $9.5 billion annually - which could be saved through automating claims processing.
- And a lack of billing options at the point of care could undermine patient loyalty.More than half (57%) of adults in the US say they've received a surprise medical bill, and 82% say hospitals are "very" or "somewhat" responsible for their surprise bills, according to new research from NORC at the University of Chicago. This may have negative downstream effects on providers' patient volume, as a patient may not revisit a hospital they feel has billed them unjustly.
Adopting new digital payment tools could help providers maximize revenue and boost patient satisfaction. Integrating online portals with automated claims processing and SMS billing reminders could alleviate some of the admin costs associated with patient billing.
Further, allowing patients to prepay online or use digital wallets at the point of care could offer a more consumer-friendly billing process and reduce surprise medical bills. And patients are open to these solutions: 61% of consumers reported having interest in using mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, to make a healthcare payment, according to an InstaMed study.
Inefficiencies in the billing process create a massive market opportunity for new and existing healthcare payments players. In an earnings call earlier this year, officials from leading electronic health record (EHR) system vendor Cerner highlighted revenue cycle management as a good growth opportunity, for example, according to Healthcare Dive.
And payment processing company Square is expanding its partnerships with healthcare providers and considering building out support for more complex healthcare payment systems that could integrate with EHRs. Both developments point to EHRs playing a central role in the evolving $3.3 trillion healthcare spending market.
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