Date: 29 June 2021
Author: Devin Partida
Disruption often occurs when people realize current systems no longer suit the needs of a sizable percentage of the population. Health care has made tremendous progress in many areas, but room for improvement exists. Here are five ways the fintech sector could help spark such changes.
Improving Medical Billing Transparency
Many fintech apps give people resources to help them see where their money goes each month and assist with budgeting. Most individuals would undoubtedly appreciate the same specifics regarding the costs of medical treatments, even when insured.
Medxoom is a startup that does something similar. It provides a health marketplace app that shows people the estimated expenses for specific treatments. Additionally, users can see the cost differences of going to a plan-preferred provider versus one that costs more.
Increasing Care Availability
Fintech companies often attract attention by addressing unmet needs. One example is how some startups target the underbanked and unbanked populations. Some businesses in the medical sector take a similar approach by making it easier for people to get health insurance that’s otherwise out of reach for them.
For example, Sidecar Health is a network-free health insurance plan and app that lets people pay cash to cover their portion of care costs. CEO Patrick Quigley said it’s a popular option for the 20 million to 30 million uninsured individuals in the United States. People can also change their coverage at any time.
Achieving Better Data Usage
Fintech companies likely have a lot to teach the medical sector about improved data usage. They aim to break down information silos and often use advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to understand customer needs. The health care field keeps patient medical data in electronic health records (EHRs). However, any financial data related to their care generally gets stored in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool.
Justin DeNegri, who works at ERP company Multiview, sees a future of combining data from those two sources to enhance health care outcomes. He explained, “From the financial perspective, health systems need the ability to drill down to the most granular level of detail to build out the full financial story.”
He continued, “Health systems can no longer afford to only be looking at the claims processed through a patient encounter. They must now see the efficiency of the care team, the equipment used, the areas of waste, discrepancies in contractuals with payors, and the list goes on and on.” The medical sector can follow the lead of the fintech sector in exploring how to reduce data-related challenges and improve results for everyone involved.
Creating User-Centric Experiences
The fintech industry excels at targeting the pain points that cause frustration and dislike for users. For example, one study found that it only took 24 clicks for a person to open a bank account with Revolut. That was five times fewer than the number required by First Direct, a traditional banking institution.
Telemedicine is one major example of how the medical sector has become more user-friendly. It increases access to care and allows physicians to diagnose many conditions while a patient remains in the familiar surroundings of their home. However, more opportunities exist to address other known challenges.
For example, how could a family practice reduce the time a person spends filling out paperwork as a new patient? Are there potential improvements related to how someone gets prescription medicine or requests refills? Minimizing unnecessary steps creates more pleasant outcomes for everyone involved.
Offering More Payment Options
Companies like Afterpay and Klarna quickly became popular because they let people buy things with monthly payments rather than bearing the total cost all at once. That’s a nice convenience when someone decides a luxury handbag or a new TV is a must-have item.
However, the ability to make manageable payments over time could be especially game-changing for medical care. Even having insurance doesn’t always ease the financial strain enough. Figures surpassed $406 billion for out-of-pocket spending in 2019. That’s why some companies now offer buy-now-pay-later options for health care — including elective procedures.
Walnut and PayZen are two examples of companies taking that approach. Such a model could prove crucial when patients feel that a lack of available income is the main thing standing in the way of medical care.
Following Fintech Could Bring Much-Needed Change
In some regards, the medical sector will need to make its own way forward since not everything in fintech mirrors health care. However, these examples show why financial tech products and services could offer plenty of possibilities that apply to medicine with limited tweaking.
Devin Partida is a FinTech writer and blogger, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com.
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