Trends in healthcare payments



Steven Snowden, Channel Sales Manager - Healthcare

Today’s healthcare billers are under pressure to increase healthcare payment choice for patients, as digitalization and new technologies continue to impact consumer behaviors.

For traditional providers, however, the impetus to grow patient revenue has to be balanced against the importance of focusing on the overall lifetime value associated with patients.

According to one recent estimate, this lifetime value can equate to $1.4 million per patient, and delivering an elevated payment experience will prove pivotal for building the lasting patient loyalty that generates sustained financial performance for the long-term.

Indeed, findings from a 2023 research report by Salucro reveals that patients are increasingly benchmarking their healthcare financial experience against standards set by other industries.

But that’s not the only reason for rethinking healthcare payments approaches.

Following the post-pandemic shift to remote working and the ongoing global financial downturn, many employers are rethinking the employee benefits schemes they provide. While some are reducing the level of healthcare cover they are prepared to subsidize under corporate healthcare plans, others are encouraging their workforce to take up self-funded healthcare plan options.

As a result, more and more employees are becoming responsible for paying a greater proportion of their healthcare costs. All of which is creating a new payment dynamic for healthcare providers.

Let’s take a look at the top trends shaping healthcare payments today.

Trend 1 - The consumerization of healthcare

Digital technologies are having a big impact on how healthcare is delivered. Services such as virtual care and the direct delivery of prescription medication are making services easier to access than traditional hospital care. As a result, today’s consumers can select from a much wider choice of physical and virtual services to get the care they need, when they need it, and have certainty about exactly how much it will cost them.

Meanwhile, big name retail companies like Walmart and Walgreens are launching their own medical centers and virtual healthcare services. But that’s just the start. Online retail giants like Amazon, as well as tech firms like Google and Apple, are also targeting lucrative direct-to-consumer healthcare opportunities.

With patients paying more out of their pocket for their own care, delivering services that feature a streamlined and convenient healthcare payment experience is becoming mission critical for staying relevant and competitive in what is becoming an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Trend 2 - The rising importance of patient engagement

Healthcare organizations are increasingly recognizing that patients are no longer passive recipients of care and that effectively engaging patients in their care will result in improved outcomes and greater satisfaction with the care experience.

Indeed, research shows that engaged patients are more likely to make healthy lifestyle choices and adhere to treatment plans. Which is why patient engagement is increasingly being viewed as central to the delivery of value-based care.

Consequently, healthcare providers are pushing ahead with the launch of patient portals that support fast and frictionless communications with clinicians and appointment bookings while making it easier for people to personalize their healthcare provision. For example, offering patients access to an extended choice of health and wellbeing services – including preventative care – that they can book and pre-pay for.

As virtual and self-service options continue to gain traction, robust payment processing systems that make life easy and convenient for consumers to take control of their health are becoming an operational must have.

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Trend 3 - A growing preference for digital payment and communication options

Retaining patients and attracting new ones increasingly depends on offering the same digital healthcare payment options today’s consumers expect to encounter.

According to Salcro’s 2023 Patient Payment research report, people have become accustomed to the immediacy of digital banking and online retail. So much so that today’s patients now expect to encounter seamless, secure, and immediate payment options for settling their medical bills. Furthermore, over a third said that limited self-service payment capabilities would keep them from returning to their provider.

As virtual care expands, healthcare consumers will increasingly expect the same checkout experience they encounter in online retail and other industries. Similarly, with demand for recurring healthcare payment and subscription-based payment plans rising, patients will require regular e-reminders whenever payments are due.

According to a recent survey by the US Bank, 44% of US healthcare consumers pay their medical bills faster when they receive digital or phone notifications and 49% would pay by text if this facility was available. Similarly, utilizing options like live chat to resolve billing queries and make an immediate payment is also high on the agenda of today’s healthcare consumers.

Meanwhile, millennials want a healthcare payment experience that fits how they pay other bills and are willing to switch providers for the experience they want.

Trend 4 - Making payments safer

Against a backdrop of high-profile hacking, data breach and cyber security incidents, healthcare consumers are understandably becoming increasingly concerned about the security and privacy of their personal payment data. Whether that’s making payment over the phone or via an online portal or other digital channel.

With 59% of US healthcare consumers stating security and data privacy as a top concern, they are particularly worried about social security numbers and credit or debit card information being stolen.

Building patient trust with compliant and secure healthcare payment solutions

Protecting patient payment data without compromising on care is now a top priority for hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and other healthcare organizations. The good news is that Sycurio provides a range of voice, chat, and multi-channel digital solutions – including secure payment links that address the payment preferences of today’s healthcare consumers while reducing the risk of data breach.

Our PCI DSS compliant solutions can be easily integrated into existing legacy and omnichannel systems to make healthcare payments secure, simple, and fast for patients, while ensuring that their sensitive payment data is kept out of your network.

Supporting a range of payment options including prepay, copay and saving payment cards via tokenization, Sycurio’s solutions significantly reduce your organization’s PCI DSS compliance and management costs. Plus, they can be integrated with many of today’s cloud-based contact center, electronic healthcare record systems and patient management platforms.

Making it easy for healthcare organizations to deliver a standout healthcare payment experience, including offering convenient self-service digital payment options, Sycurio ensure you can entirely remove customer service agents, networks, telephony, and your infrastructure from the scope of PCI DSS. Instantly securing healthcare payments, saving time, money and effort, while delivering a better patient experience.