Vincent Martino, Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder of VisitPay, talks about the impact of the TransUnion Healthcare partnership on the patient financial experience.
What do you consider the most significant gaps patients still face in the healthcare financial experience?
Vincent Martino: The three biggest gaps I see are transparency, choice and control. Very frequently, patients aren’t advised what their costs will be in advance, so there’s a lack of price transparency up front. They also don’t have an easy way to understand their bills, often receiving many different statements that are difficult to consolidate or cross-reference. Most providers don’t give patients much choice in how, when and how much to pay, causing them to feel like they don’t have much control over the billing process. All this contributes to a lack of foundational trust in the health system financial experience.
TransUnion and VisitPay are striving to create better transparency up front and help patients understand information throughout the entire experience from pre-service through post-billing. Together, we’re providing a truly connected experience that supplies patients with an accurate estimate up front. Then, based on personal needs and preferences, patients can make payments against the estimate or set up payment arrangements. And post-adjudication, we’ll make any adjustments needed to those payment arrangements automatically, in a way that lifts patient satisfaction and requires zero intervention from provider staff.
Another factor related to control is providing the option of a great mobile experience. Today, about 40–50% of VisitPay payments come from mobile devices. The solution we launch with TransUnion will provide an experience offering all features via mobile in a very intuitive and easy-to-use format, inclusive of text notifications and payments.
How does a lack of or poor estimates impact the patient financial experience and revenue cycle?
Martino: A poor estimate can negatively impact the patient experience by generating mistrust between provider and patient. Inaccurate estimates can create additional and unnecessary paperwork and outbound calls for revenue cycle teams who then must contact patients to rework payment arrangements. This drives down consumer loyalty. Unlike almost any other major industry, there’s a lack of upfront price information between patient and provider, and there shouldn’t be. Imagine buying a plane ticket without knowing how much it costs. We think providing accurate estimates up front and making payment arrangements prior to service is an extremely important part of the financial experience going forward.
Empowering patient access teams with the tools to provide reliable estimates is crucial to improving billing and collections efforts and increasing revenue cycle performance. In our post-billing solution today, depending on the geographic market, 40–70% of patients self-service their bills, greatly reducing inbound call center volume, improving patient satisfaction and lifting payment rates. For revenue cycle teams, the combined VisitPay-TransUnion solution will enable an additional tranche of patient self-servicing. So, we expect to continue driving down both inbound and outbound calls while improving patient satisfaction and payment rates.
Why is TransUnion the right partner for VisitPay and what are the benefits for health systems?
Martino: We believe TransUnion provides the most reliable estimate solutions in the marketplace. What excites me most about the VisitPay-TransUnion partnership is we’re going to bring to market the first truly end-to-end billing experience for patients. Combining the ability to provide a good estimate (which is what TransUnion does) with the ability to pay on an estimate (which is what VisitPay does) creates a closed-loop experience for the patient. For the health system, it provides the ability to generate payments as early as possible in the billing cycle — from the point when the estimate is first delivered.
A major benefit I see for health systems in working with TransUnion and VisitPay goes back to patient trust. Getting a reliable estimate is an incredibly important demonstration of transparency for patients as they establish trust at the beginning of the patient financial journey. Patients will be empowered with better information regarding their healthcare costs throughout the experience and able to select a personalized payment option that best meets their unique needs.
To learn more about the TransUnion Healthcare and VisitPay partnership, click here.