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Billing and payment tech becoming more responsive, survey finds

Sixty-three percent of providers already accept web portal payments and over a quarter now offer text-based payment options.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

While the most common payment methods accepted in the healthcare industry continue to be on-site, mail and live phone agents, online payments are now not far behind, according to BillingTree's third annual Healthcare Operations and Technology Survey, which is designed to identify payment challenges and technology adoption in the industry.

The findings indicate 63 percent of providers already accept web portal payments and over a quarter now offer text-based payment options -- a significant increase from previous years.

IMPACT

The survey found the biggest payment pain-points facing healthcare providers for two consecutive years have been a patient's inability to pay, collecting once the patient has left the facility, a lack of payment channels, compliance and issues related to insurance billing.

The report shows that payment options are evolving to meet these pain-points, and patient preference for 24/7 customer service options.

Web-based payment portals are still the most commonly identified technology providers plan to adopt within the next 12 months, but 27.3 percent indicated plans to implement text notifications for bill payment -- reflecting growing interest in mobile channels. This outpaces the addition of payment acceptance via interactive voice response at 18.2 percent.

For the third straight year, the top factor impacting a healthcare provider's choice of payment provider was HIPAA compliance, followed by the price of payment processing, which passed reporting to become the second most important consideration.

THE TREND

New care delivery models aren't just offering convenient options for consumers. They're also extending that convenience to their billing and payment processes, and finding success. The models, which include offerings such as telehealth, also offer potential lessons for traditional providers -- hospitals, health systems, physician practices and the like -- who often struggle with inefficient and ineffective revenue cycles.

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com

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