Newly emerging payment collection methods in the healthcare industry offer efficient ways to cut costs and improve the overall patient experience. A successful health payment system is a key asset to healthcare organizations’ financial well-being. Health systems and organizations should center their health payment system around people—patients, guarantors, and staff—along with innovative processes and technology.
Some healthcare organizations are satisfied with their existing health payment systems, but many still face various payment processing challenges. Healthcare provider organizations face many hurdles in terms of payment processing challenges—including insurance cooperability, patient engagement, cost transparency, and credit card compatibility.
Understanding the challenges of health payment systems is a great first step for resolving payment-related issues and improving the patient experience. The two most common challenges are reconciliation and integration with back-end systems and the overhaul of adopting new technology.
Challenge #1: Reconciliation and Integration with Back-End Systems
Back-end management and interoperability are non-negotiable for healthcare systems and organizations. Revenue cycle leaders should be able to engage in claims management, medical billing, and patient collections without issue. The right health payment system will be able to communicate efficiently with all back-end systems.
Unfortunately, seamless and efficient integration between health payment systems and back-end processes is not always the case.
A study by RAND Health found that “The rapid uptake and upgrading of EHRs as a consequence of meaningful-use regulations was repeatedly described as the single greatest change in most practices, with both positive and negative spillover effects on nearly all practice efforts to respond to alternative payment models.”
Health payment systems that can’t integrate with existing EMR are problematic. Why?
When systems can’t cooperate, there are inevitably more manual processes as opposed to automated, streamlined systems—leading to a greater likelihood of human error. According to Healthcare Innovation, “Providers can reduce errors by implementing software to automate their billing processes. This can substantially improve accuracy and cut down on the time and administrative costs associated with processing everything manually. Many providers are also opting to abandon paper billing and go electronic, linking their billing systems with electronic health records to reduce errors that occur when administrators misread handwritten notes.”
Mitigating human error and patient frustration begins with embracing innovation. Automated health payment systems can satisfy patients’ desire to pay their bills efficiently and without hassle. Health payment systems that can offer patients contactless payment methods, automate reconciliation to accounts receivable, and integrate with preexisting back-end technology will improve patient engagement—and the bottom line.
Once hospitals make the switch to a payment solution that can reconcile and integrate with back-end systems, they may still face the issues that come with implementing new technology.
Challenge #2: The Overhaul of Adopting New Technology
Purchasing—and successfully implementing—new payment technology within an entire healthcare organization is no easy feat. Healthcare organizations rely on payment technology to meet their patient financial goals, but the technology can strain resources—potentially resulting in dissatisfied patients and decreased revenue—if it does not perform as expected.
Cost, the learning curve, and compliance are all hurdles leaders must overcome when introducing a new payment technology to their healthcare organizations.
Many economists agree that the healthcare sector will continue to struggle financially because of technology-related costs. Healthcare organizations are facing the new challenge of correctly budgeting for increasing technology needs and growth:
- 40% of healthcare providers report growing IT and technology budgets.
- Healthcare providers spend an annual average of $40 million on IT programs.
- In 2015, Clinical healthcare IT spending alone was $18.9 billion.
- Healthcare big data was projected to grow by 42% in 2019.
- Technology costs at physician-owned multi-specialty practices have increased by more than 40% since 2009.
Keeping healthcare staff educated on new technology is vital for the organization’s success as a whole. However, healthcare professionals have busy schedules and may not have the time to learn the ins and outs of newly implemented technology. Staff failing to understand new IT equipment or software can lead to errors, which is why training is such an important, but resource-draining, part of introducing new technology to your healthcare organization.
Lastly, the time and resources needed to implement a new technology can sometimes be a barrier to adoption on its own. When choosing a new payment technology, healthcare provider organizations should consider whether the vendor has an implementation team dedicated to the installation of a new technology. Additionally, what resources and how much time will the implementation require from your IT team? Many healthcare organizations don’t realize the strain an intensive implementation can be on a small team with little bandwidth.
These challenges show that keeping up with technological advances is difficult. One Forbes contributor offers advice to hospitals on how to stay in line with technology: Be proactive, anticipate needs ahead of time, and prioritize patient care. Technology is tied to healthcare, but it can also present new challenges. Administrators and leaders in the industry must proactively work to face these challenges so patients can fully benefit from innovation.
If your healthcare organization isn’t interested in the cost and other challenges that come with implementing new payment technology, including devices, be sure your health payment system can interoperate with your current and future workflow needs.
HealthPay24’s Payment Processing Solutions
HealthPay24 has over 20 years of healthcare payment experience. Although technology has changed drastically over the past two decades, HealthPay24 remains dedicated to finding solutions for financial engagement challenges. You can bypass the challenges discussed above by choosing HealthPay24’s patient payment platform.
Implementation. The cost, time, and effort it takes to implement new technology is daunting, and can often deter leaders from switching to a patient payment platform despite the benefits. HealthPay24 has a dedicated implementation team that boasts a 100% on-time implementation rate. The team is dedicated to making your switch to a new patient payment technology as stress free as possible. HealthPay24’s patient payment platform has the ability to successfully integrate large, complex providers with multiple EMRs..
Seamless Integration. HealthPay24 integrates with all your existing EMR, billing, PM, and estimation systems to reduce system complexity and automate back-end workflows and processes. Reduce the burden on administrative staff and opt for system simplicity. HealthPay24 enables organizations to automate payment posting, reconciliation, and reporting so you can make the most of your staff’s time—all while offering 99.99% system availability, including planned and unplanned downtime. HealthPay24 is also processor and device-agnostic, giving organizations the option to work with any processor.
Optimize the patient engagement framework and enhance patient financial engagement with HealthPay24’s streamlined, intuitive technology. Visit Healthpay24.com to learn more, or request a demo to join the growing number of providers using the HealthPay24 patient payment platform.