As a result of increasing patient responsibility, rising healthcare security threats and the growing dependence on digital technology, providers now face more challenges than ever before when it comes to their patient payments process. University of Chicago Medical Center is an academic medical center in Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago using Epic software. The center needed to collect more because of increasing patient responsibility, but lack of integration and limited online payment capabilities made this process difficult. Additionally, University of Chicago Medical Center had uncertainty regarding payment security and support for EMV transactions in their point of sale environments, a disconnected online payment experience for patients and lack of integration creating manual work for staff.
Online Patient Payment Limitations
Due to increasing HDHPs and patient payment responsibility, University of Chicago Medical Center now needs to collect more payments from patients and guarantors than ever before. To combat this growing trend, University of Chicago Medical Center decided to work with an outside payment vendor to enable patients and guarantors to pay their responsibility online. However, the vendor they were using was not able to integrate with the medical center’s Epic software, in turn creating a complicated and cumbersome experience for patients that lacked features such as a digital wallet and payment plan functionality. With limited online payment capabilities that were also confusing, patients were less inclined to pay via this channel leading to low online patient payment volume.
This experience is not unique to University of Chicago Medical Center; as providers now rely on patients for a larger portion of their revenue it comes as no surprise that the burden of collecting from patients has become a growing concern. Consumers overwhelmingly prefer online payment channels, making it essential for every provider to offer a variety of payment options that reach patients where they already are – online.
Inefficient and Manual Processes for Staff
Along with creating a complicated payment process that had limited capabilities, the outside vendor’s inability to integrate with University of Chicago Medical Center’s Epic software also increased operational inefficiencies throughout their entire payment process. Without a single source for all payments, steps like posting, refunds and reporting were difficult and time-consuming for staff. This made copays especially hard to collect, as many that could have been collected upfront were uncollected.
All of the manual processes that staff was taking could have been eliminated with an integrated payment experience. When providers work with payment vendors that do not have integration capabilities, they are adding unnecessary complexity to their payment process and are making it more difficult to collect from patients.
Security Risks and Limitations of a Multi-Vendor Solution
University of Chicago Medical Center was using one vendor to enable online payments and another to serve as a payment gateway. This resulted in multiple hand-offs in the payments process which created uncertainty around ownership of funding and reconciliation as well as increased PCI compliance efforts. Providers often find themselves working with multiple outside vendors for different aspects of the payment process, but this is not the best solution. Information that is communicated between disparate systems only increases security and compliance risks to an organization. University of Chicago Medical Center also wanted to accept EMV transactions but was unable to do so with any vendor that had not completed the costly and time-consuming EMV certification process with the processors, card brands and devices they work with. This hindered University of Chicago Medical Center from collecting EMV transactions in their front and back office.
University of Chicago Medical Center needed to find a solution that would deliver a seamless payment experience for patients and staff alike and would work cohesively with their Epic software. They partnered with InstaMed to streamline their payment process and integrate payment functionality into their existing Epic software. Read the full case study to see the success University of Chicago Medical Center experienced with InstaMed.