By Bill Smither, manager, CSG Forte Payment Systems.
Annual healthcare spending in the U.S. tops $4 trillion, an unfathomable amount of money, and 25% of that is strictly administrative expenses. Patients and healthcare organizations alike are hard-pressed to keep track of every dollar in the midst of everything else the healthcare industry entails.
Between different forms of insurance, public and private regulations that can vary from state to state, and providers not all being at the same institution, things sometimes simply get lost. Additionally, like any other industry, the more money that’s spent, the more potential there is for pain points during the payment and billing process.
Often in healthcare, providers and patients alike have little to no control over the charges racking up, leading to outstanding balances and more potential for fraud and sketchy credit services.
In the healthcare space, it’s important to remember that when you’re engaging with a customer, you’re likely interacting with someone at a pivotal and vulnerable moment in their lives. Healthcare organizations don’t call the people making payments “customers,” they call them “patients,” and because of the multitude of situations patients find themselves in, the way they engage with payments is also varied.
One person may be a lifelong patient of the same primary care physician, but have only one brief, harried interaction with an urgent care doctor. They may see a specialist once only to be referred to a different specialist that they end up seeing for several years. In all situations, some sort of payment interaction will be required, and they all look a little different.