Sean Joyce, CTO , Patientco® “How much will this doctor visit cost?”
While it might seem like a simple question, for many, the answer is rarely straightforward. A maze of complexities comprising heightened deductibles, confusing billing statements, and limited payment options often put consumers in a fix. Patients do not have a clear estimate of what they owe for a particular treatment, and thus, the transaction becomes a guessing game. Part of the reason such challenges arise is from the fact that the U.S. healthcare system is fragmented and fraught with legacy technology. Paper statements, opaque coding, and unforeseen expenses make getting access to medical care a daunting process. The lack of transparency causes concern and confusion among patients about the upfront cost, often leading to either delayed treatment to avoid paying high or significantly late payment for medical bills.
In short, for health systems, managing patient payments is complex. The resources required to bill patients, process payments, and post and reconcile the payments are extensive. In parallel, patients do not have an effective means to know the exact price of care before treatment, and healthcare expenses are unaffordable.
This brings us to the question: what can health systems do differently to ensure a simple and convenient payment process for the patients?
The answer lies in providing compassionate, patient-centered care that involves not only the prevention and treatment of medical conditions but also the elimination of a financial burden. In other words, patients need a better payment experience—one that promotes greater price transparency and enables patients to afford care. This is precisely where Patientco®, a healthcare payment technology company comes in with its cloud-based platform that covers all aspects of digital engagement. From engaging with patients to helping them understand their medical bills and navigating their financial experience, the platform helps along every step of the way. By combining intuitive payment tools and world-class payment infrastructure, backed by data-led design, Patientco creates a superior, compassionate financial experience for patients while delivering meaningful financial results for health systems.
Simply put, the firm is dedicated to helping health systems support their patients’ engagement needs while addressing the underlying cost concerns that patients experience every day. Sean Joyce, CTO, Patientco, says, “Patients and health systems deserve better than the status quo. We are on a mission to change the way consumers pay for healthcare in order to deliver better financial care for patients and drive better financial outcomes for health systems.” Patientco focuses on developing and deploying consumer-friendly, easy-to-use payment technology that ensures health systems maximize patient payments.
Taking the Pain out of Healthcare Payments
Patientco’s scalable, consumer-friendly technology, PatientWallet®, eliminates the complexities of health systems experience by managing every payment stream from every location and supporting enterprise-wide patient payment reporting. PatientWallet was built from the ground up to give patients an easier way to pay their healthcare bills anytime, anywhere, from any device. The digital health wallet automates all payment posting and reconciliation, saving time for revenue cycle management teams. “Our solution is backed by HFMA’s Peer Review process, hence, health systems can be confident that Patientco will make a positive impact for their organization,” adds Joyce.
Patients now, more so than ever, are demanding a better healthcare experience—one that focuses on convenience, personalization, and pricing transparency.
And, they are not afraid to leave their current healthcare provider for a better, more engaging experience. Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, this trend has become even more apparent. To ease patient challenges, Patientco delivers billing communications through patients’ preferred channels, including email, text, or standard mail. “Our patient-friendly terms explain what various charges are for and what the patient’s responsibility is. Patients also have access to modern self-service payment tools to pay-in-full, enroll in a payment plan, or apply for financing products,” mentions Joyce. “We also use the data to personalize billing communication and payment options to ensure each patient has a tailored financial experience.” Patientco’s technology dramatically simplifies the revenue cycle process for health systems, integrating with all major EHR systems to power automation. For patients, the technology delivers a better financial experience by providing more transparency into the upfront costs while making healthcare more affordable. This not only yields more payments for health systems today but also builds patient loyalty for the future.
Offering More Payment Options and Flexible Financing Plans
Furthermore, Patientco’s consolidated billing and healthcare payments solution includes functionality for consumer-friendly digital communications. This includes eBills, SMS, and printed statements. By integrating communication with payment tools, Patientco translates patient engagement to payment dollars. In other words, the platform delivers insights into the communication channel or method that best influences patient payment behavior. Via its analytics platform, Patientco creates new insights to personalize engagement.
Patientco’s digital-first billing facilitates email and text communication with flexible payment options. Patients are engaged through the digital channels they prefer, and they receive eBills six days faster than they would via mail. The result is better patient financial experience and faster payments for health systems. Another notable aspect of the solution is that Patientco integrates with any health information system (HIS), delivering enterprise-wide connectivity and greater visibility of patient payments while automating manual tasks. “Our software integrates with any system to provide up-to-date patient balances from across all health system care settings while user-friendly terminals quickly process secure credit card payments,” informs Joyce. The integration automates posting, reconciliation, and reporting for all payments, regardless of type. In fact, clients that have used the Patientco platform reveal they have experienced a 15-25 percent increase in patient payments.
Compassionate Financial Care
Basking on the value of its offering, Joyce shares the client success story of Piedmont Healthcare, a multispecialty hospital, non-profit health system headquartered in Atlanta. Piedmont had embarked on an initiative to simplify patient financial care and sought to increase patient collections by 10 million dollars in three years. But this meant the client had to address concerns about their confusing billing statements. Besides, the Piedmont team was not satisfied with the legacy payment tools they were utilizing. In addition to improving the patient experience, they needed to address the needs of its staff.
“The client needed a solution that would support both paper and digital financial communications to clearly direct patients to relevant payment options, including affordable, self-service options. They also needed a payments platform with a direct Epic integration. Piedmont found all of that in Patientco,” affirmed Joyce.
Within the first year, Piedmont collected 4.5 million dollars at the point-of-service. Combined with other efforts, the health system was able to generate more than 7 million dollars in payment lift. Patientco played a key role in supporting this with its patient-friendly communication and payment tools, along with its Epic integrations. Additionally, Patientco helped Piedmont increase digital engagement. By leveraging Patientco’s Epic integration, the client was able to reduce the need to manually input credit card and account numbers into multiple systems and increase its point-of-service payments by 30 percent. Patientco’s partnership helped Piedmont ultimately reduce patient call handle times, improving the patient financial experience while boosting staff productivity. .
Paving the way for a Better Patient Journey
Notably, the firm’s dedication to assisting its clients in solving problems stems from its knowledge-sharing attitude and people-centric mentality. “Every single person on the team plays an integral part of what we’re building every day, with over a million patients already depending on us for a positive payment experience,” reveals Joyce. Besides, there are seven core values that Patientco threads into all of its engagements and is instilled in the company’s culture: be driven to win, openly trust one another, embrace responsibility, improve each and every day, focus on compliance, make it memorable, and give back. Patientco fosters a working environment where each individual is encouraged to do well through their peers’ endless support. “Each core value plays a critical part and ties together in the work we do each day by pushing us to be competent and constantly improve,” states Joyce.
At present, Patientco is working on delivering a single consolidated experience for its clients. “Today, there exists a huge gap between the expectations that patients and consumers have in terms of what they can see from an affordability standpoint, and technology lags in bridging that gap. We are working to help them navigate this complex landscape in a fair and reasonable manner,” adds Joyce. Alongside, Patientco is bringing more transparency into what patients can see by connecting the different touchpoints of the patient journey. For example, if an individual has to pay 800 dollars for a treatment, they should know it beforehand. This will help consumers have a sense of how much they owe and are not surprised later. Over the long term, Patientco also hopes to become a central place for any health system to interact with their patients, for everything clinical and non-clinical. “We want to help people make the best care and financial decisions for themselves by offering all the information they need in a single place and with all the options that the health system can present to them,” remarks Joyce.
Patients are responsible for a greater portion of their healthcare expenses today compared to ten years ago, but adapting to the “patient as payer” model doesn’t mean an organization should rely on aggressive financial policies. The key lies in delivering better patient financial care with improved revenue cycle outcomes. With a partner like Patientco, offering compassionate financial care is easier and simpler than one thinks.