Contactless payments are revolutionizing the health sector
With the increasing ownership of mobile devices, the health sector has also started searching for ways to effectively maximize the technology in offering the best medical services to the public. In a survey featured by Mobile Health News, 69 percent of medical providers leverage mobile devices to view patient information, while 36 percent use mobile technologies to collect health data at their bedside.
However, it’s the medical billing and payments that are poised to explode this year for three reasons:
1. Multiple and efficient payment options.
2. Healthcare bills are made simpler.
3. Providers and patients are aligned and more connected.
Today’s payment options
In information shared by Worldpay, they state there are 4 popular card terminals leveraged by businesses and government agencies today: countertop, portable, mobile, and contactless.
However, the contactless card machines are considered the most effective method to speed up queues and reduce transaction times, as payers only need to tap or hover their card or applicable mobile devices to make/receive the payment. Mobile payment solutions are gaining traction, as patients seek more accessible billing and payment options.
“Patients are beginning to expect the same level of convenience in paying their medical bills as they do for most of their other bills,” said Laurie Hurwitz, executive director of Gundersen Health System in a post by Healthcare Finance.
Hurwitz added, “Mobile payments allow patients to self manage their balances either by paying in full or setting up and managing payment plans. That also pays off for health systems, by enabling a facility to cut the number of revenue cycle staff necessary to answer calls and shift those staff up in the cycle to offer things like more financial counselling, clearance and estimates.”
Data privacy a concern
Security remains one of the top concerns of health institutions and departments worldwide before completely embracing the technology. Digital crime is still ongoing worldwide, where hackers are able to have access mobile data and cloud data services. France-based data protection authority Commission Nationale de l’information et des Liberties (CNIL) has been investigating the data privacy in contactless payments and digital health.
“In the UK, the information commissioner has said that companies that breach industry standards on payment card data security (PCI DSS) can be said to be in breach of UK data protection laws. An outcome of the CNIL review into contactless payments might be some equally clear warnings for the retail sector in France,” said Annabelle Richard of Pinsent Masons in the post by the Out-Law.com.
Contactless payment providers should always monitor and track their devices in terms of data security. Apart from the payment information gathered from the user, mobile apps and other online services are gathering data from them. It’s best that mobile manufacturers and contactless payment providers find a way to inform people regarding the use of their private data before any transactions to avoid further problems in the future.
Apple Pay will be the mainstream
Amongst the many contactless payment solutions, Apple Pay will be a highly utilized payment process, especially since the platform has shown great adoption in prime markets. Apple is now seeking worldwide acceptance through growth in Asia and Europe after its steady cautious rise to approval in the US, as reported by Bloomberg Business News. Apple is said to be looking at established services at banks, and targeting specific new markets in 2016 – China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Spain.
“There’s a lot of opportunity for Apple because their brand has a significant cache,” said Thad Peterson, a senior analyst at a research and advisory firm. Apple’s challenge will be “to see if there’s going to be an adoption curve significant enough to justify the investment.”
Many patients are suffering with unpaid medical bills (20 percent), which are largely due to the confusion brought about by the payment process. As more consumers enroll in high deductible health insurance policies, this problem will continue to grow in the coming years. Mobile contactless payment will be able to offer a more simple and efficient way in paying medical bills, which will alleviate the problem to some extent.
By 2019, the mobile payment industry is expected to grow up to as much as $142 billion, as the health care industry becomes more mobile-friendly by embracing additional tech and mobile solutions. The industry will benefit from the advent of mobile technologies, as it allows them to provide consumers more efficient and effective services, accommodate more patients simultaneously, and give them access to a growing mobile consumer base.
Strong adoption of mobile technologies proves to enhance two important areas in the medical sector – customer service and revenue cycle. Mobile payments are now becoming a common technology in other industries too, and its effect is expected to expand into the health care industry immediately.