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Providers Using More Innovative Healthcare Payment Technology

Healthcare providers are using more innovative payment technology to settle patient bills, according to a survey by BillingTree.

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Source: Thinkstock

By Fred Donovan

- Healthcare providers are using more innovative payment technology to settle patient bills, according to a survey by BillingTree.

In fact, 64 percent of healthcare providers now accept web portal payments and 27 percent accept text-based payments, which equals the use of interactive voice response (IVR) systems for payments.

“This is the first year that text-related payments ranked so prominently, reflecting the overall trend in mobile payment adoption by consumers within the healthcare sector,” BillingTree observed in its report summarizing the survey results.

Respondents included single and multi-location providers and healthcare collection agencies.

A full 73 percent of respondents use point of service and mail for payments, that same percentage use phone via live agent, and 27 percent use IVR systems.

More than half of respondents said they plan to add web portal payments in the next 12 months, while 27 percent play to add text payments, 18 percent plan to add IVR system payments, 9 percent plan to add more staff for onsite payments, and 9 percent plan to add payment plans.

“When it came to technology adoption and the range of automated payment options for their clients, this year’s responses produced mixed results. While traditional payment methods like point-of-service, mail and live phone agents were most common, website payment offerings were not far behind,” the report noted.

“When asked about future plans to adopt new payment technology, this year’s respondents suggested that adoption of web-based patient payment portals would continue, with text-based payments surprisingly outpacing IVR systems for the first year ever,” the report added.

Respondents said that the most important factor in determining payment processing services was HIPAA compliance, followed by price of payment process, integration within patient management system, customer support, and compliance challenges.

Survey respondents said they accepted a variety of payment options: 91 percent accept heath savings accounts/flexible savings accounts, 82 percent accept paper check/money order, 73 percent accept credit or debit cards, the same percent accept electronic check, and 36 percent provide patient financing.

“In 2019, we look forward to seeing a growth trend towards technology solutions as an alternative to traditional staffing, including growing adoption of Web and Mobile as primary payment and communication channels with consumers. For those healthcare organizations that seek to manage compliance, control costs and optimize collections and cash flow, automated and mobile self-service payment solutions continue to present an opportunity for profitability and accelerated growth without sacrificing service levels,” the report concluded.

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