Integration is one of those words that you’ve probably heard a lot, but you’re not completely sure what it means. You might know that it has to do with combining different systems so that they function effectively together, but you might not understand why that is important. When it comes to healthcare payments, integration between your payment solution and your practice management system can have multiple, impactful benefits.
Last month, the InstaMed blog explained the various financial and operational benefits of an integrated payment solution. However, integration presents significant security benefits as well. Naturally, I want to take this opportunity to educate you about these benefits.
There are three main security areas that benefit from integration.
Billing System and Patient Portals
One of the greatest security threats to your billing process is the potential for human error. If your organization uses multiple systems for billing and practice management, the manual steps required to communicate billing and payment information between these two systems presents considerable security and compliance risks. Often times in this situation, billing staff must export payment information and manually post it into their practice management system, which creates plenty of opportunities for payment information to post incorrectly or get lost or stolen.
When payment is integrated directly with your practice management system, payment information automatically populates in your practice management system without the need for any human interaction, eliminating the risk of human error.
For your patient portal, an integrated payment solution offers a greater level of security for online payment transactions. Many integration options support an embedded payment screen within your patient portal which reduces the exposure of sensitive payment information.
Gateway and Merchant Processor
A comprehensive, integrated payment solution should deliver integrated gateway and merchant services. This delivers an enhanced level of security for a few reasons. First, a combined gateway and merchant services provider greatly reduces the amount of data transmissions that occur. Second, this consolidation makes it easier to roll out new technologies like point-to-point encryption, EMV and NFC in a secure way. Finally, you only need to contact one vendor for customer support, upgrading your software and getting new equipment. Plus, you only need to understand one security and compliance program as opposed to multiple.
When healthcare organizations accept and process patient payments, they essentially become merchants and are required to adhere to compliance regulations. However, many healthcare organizations struggle to scale compliance programs in addition to the business of healthcare. An integrated payment solution should maintain the highest levels of security and compliance for both the healthcare and payment industries. By selecting a payment vendor with these credentials, healthcare organizations relieve themselves of the burdens of keeping up with so many regulations, because the payment vendor is already ensuring that all payment and data is processed and stored securely and compliantly. That being said, you should always ask to see documentation of a vendor’s certifications as it relates to their security and compliance programs.
Healthcare is complex enough without adding additional complexity. Look for a payment vendor who integrates, allows you to consolidate, and delivers a comprehensive security program.