InstaMed Blog
Noah Dermer
Chief Security Officer
I joined the Security and Compliance team at InstaMed in 2015. Previously, I was the Chief Security Officer at Epic Systems, where one of my responsibilities was building security into Epic’s enterprise applications. As Security Officer at InstaMed, my goal is to support our security and compliance mission as well as inform and educate the industry and our users about compliance and security in healthcare payments.
Learn more about Noah

When new technologies and methodologies enter the healthcare payments industry, they can create quite the buzz. Two that I’ve been hearing a lot about recently are credit checks in healthcare and contactless payments. But some of what I’ve been hearing hasn’t been accurate. I decided to take a look at the facts and debunk two myths circulating in the industry.

Myth: Credit Checks Determine a Patient’s Likelihood to Pay

Due to the rise in patient responsibility, healthcare organizations are trying to find better ways to collect patient payments. To do this, some organizations have turned to propensity to pay models or credit checks to determine a patient’s likelihood to pay.

Facts: Credit scores are used to determine financial performances with lenders. For example, if you pay your credit card bill on time every month, you are rewarded with a higher credit score. While it may seem straightforward, there are many factors that FICO uses to calculate credit scores. For some people, low credit scores are a result of unfortunate circumstantial influences such as job loss. Even if a credit score is low due to past events, it does not necessarily translate to how a patient will pay medical bills.

There are other, better alternatives than checking credit scores to ensure patients pay their balances. With personalized payment communications, healthcare organizations can cater messaging to individual patients to increase their likelihood to pay. For example, a middle-aged person living in a suburban town with a large family who has frequent doctor appointments probably won’t want to pay the same way as a single person in a major city who only goes to annual check-ups.

By investing in understanding a patient’s financial preferences, healthcare organizations can deliver payment options that are most likely to appeal to the patient. Add in payment automation and you can increase payments from patients without ever looking into their credit history.

Myth: Contactless Payments Can Be Electronically Pickpocketed

Contactless payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay are growing in popularity, but with payment information being transmitted wirelessly some people have been questioning whether this payment method is truly safe.

Facts: A common misconception is that hackers can use long-range radio frequency identification (RFID) readers to extract data from contactless cards. This is not possible. The maximum range a contactless card communicates at is four centimeters. The near field communication (NFC) technology in contactless cards uses a 13.56Mhz radio frequency technology that only transmits digital data within a very short range. No communication can be performed beyond that short range.

Also, contactless payments require different information than those made over the phone or online. The cardholder’s name, three-digit security code on the back of the card, and billing information like zip code are never transmitted. Instead, along with the account information, a one-time-only code is sent from the card or device to the reader to identify that transaction.

Contactless payments use EMV technology which has proven to protect against card-present fraud. A mandate went into effect in April 2019, stating that all merchants that accept contactless payments must support EMV contactless chip functionality. By 2020, Mastercard and Visa will require that all U.S. merchants can accept contactless payments. Are you and your hospital or health system ready for that deadline? 

If you are attending Epic’s UGM, stop by booth #322 to meet the InstaMed team. We can talk more about personalized payment communications and contactless payments.  

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