Consumers are driving changes in healthcare, and one area quickly evolving is how patients pay for services. DevPro Journal asked Jeff Spinabella, director of ISV business development for First American Payment Systems to provide insights into trends in healthcare payment as well as opportunities that exist in the healthcare market for ISVs.
Engaging the Patient-Consumer
Spinabella said one of the most significant challenges healthcare providers face is the shift in payment from insurance companies to individuals. “As many have rightly observed, the patient has indeed become the new payer,” Spinabella says. “Providers of all sizes are relying less on insurance company payments and more on patient remittances. As healthcare costs spiral, so too does the financial pressure on providers trying to collect payment for services rendered.”
The Black Book Market Research 2017 Revenue Cycle Management Survey found healthcare consumers now face an average deductible of $1,820 and out-of-pocket expenses of $4,400 annually. The survey also revealed that flexible solutions might influence their inclination to pay. Of the consumers surveyed, 95% said they would pay online if they had the option, and 71% who receive mobile pay and billing alerts are more satisfied with their providers.
These trends in healthcare payment are an opportunity for ISVs to provide a more engaging, “retail-like” healthcare payment experience, as well as platforms that drive patient compliance and faster payments. Spinabella says ISVs also have an opportunity to modernize old-school waiting room clipboards and cashier check out windows” with solutions that merge online check-in and core payment processing with on-the-go, mobile solutions that are secure without being a hassle to access.
ISVs that can deliver will find a sizeable prospective market waiting for the solution. “Small healthcare providers and large systems alike know very well their pain points. They know the stakes are higher, as their outstanding balances reflect it,” Spinabella comments.
He adds that patient engagement solutions for healthcare payment are also receiving attention for the role they play in outcomes: Patients cite payment-related issues as one of the reasons they postpone care.
Providing Access to Information
Spinabella also advises ISVs to consider two other important trends in healthcare payment: consumer cost transparency and telemedicine.
“Consumer cost transparency is a service that providers are clamoring for, and understandably so. Its absence creates a productivity abyss, putting front office staff in the uncomfortable position of dealing with patients who feel at best dissatisfied and, at worst, price gouged,’ Spinabella says. “The takeaway for healthcare ISVs is to include accurate online estimators within their platforms. It becomes a substantial differentiator when integrated into a practice management solution that supports the patient from the first estimate to final payment.”
Telemedicine presents another significant opportunity. According to Spinabella, “ISV solutions that enable the service effectively are an easy sell for office overhead saved, all the better if they drive patient population retention.”
Practical Advice When Designing Solutions that Address Trends in Healthcare Payment
Spinabella offers this advice to ISVs in—or just entering—the healthcare payment market:
- Develop with HIPAA regulations and Meaningful Use compliance in mind. These regulations require payment solutions that are in lockstep with privacy standards and security.
- Let go of generational bias. Don’t dismiss newer payment offerings like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other mobile offerings because your perception is that they only apply to younger patients. All ages of patients, from Gen Z to baby boomers, are already primed for this type of payment experience from the retail world, and these options may help providers collect revenue.
Spinabella also warns ISVs to be prepared to encounter a “push-pull” dynamic among healthcare administrators. For example, the Black Book Survey found 89% of healthcare providers expect payments will migrate to mobile by the end of the year, but only a mere 20% are prepared for it.
Spinabella advises seeking help from your integrated payments processing partner, and points out, “That reluctance also represents opportunity, particularly for the ISVs that can break through a crowded market and persuade flustered financial administrators to change their approach.”