The Role of AI in Enhancing Patient Payment Experience

March 2020 changed the way we see the world. And, more than any other industry, the healthcare industry saw a surge in the number of patients wanting to get medical care. The insufficient number of doctors and support staff, elongated work timings, shortage of supplies, and lack of infrastructure tested the existing healthcare structure and pushed it to undergo a metamorphosis. It was the breaking point.

Healthcare providers and their staff were invariably short-staffed in not only treating covid patients, handling post- pandemic patient behavioral health needs but also in administrative work. The providers were faced with a big challenge of providing timely care to patients, at the same time making sure that patient payments are collected on time so that they can keep the business running also achieve patient satisfaction for their services.

Challenges in Healthcare Payment Processing

The payment process is not just a technically challenging process due to multiple tedious tasks involved while complying with the regulations, but also an emotionally stressful process for both the providers and the patients alike. E.g., Once an insurance claim is filed, the process can take quite some time to receive information on the remaining amount that the patient must pay from his pocket. When there is no streamlined process for maintaining the patient health record which gives a track of patient data in terms of when the patient visited the provider, what services were taken and the charges incurred, it can impact the patient payment experience negatively.

In such cases, for example, patients may forget about the service charges after receiving the treatment or they get discharged from the hospital. And, when the provider finally sends the bill, it can put the patients in an awful state for the bill value, which would not have been prepared for.

patient payment solutions
There is a need for a solution that can adapt to fast-changing business needs, take corrective actions and act accordingly. Healthcare technology has improved in the last 2 years to adapt, keep up pace with the “New Normal” era, and improvise and excel in our life and at work. By implementing advanced technologies, providers can collect and centralize all patient data through a data platform that helps them analyze the patient’s expectations, sentiments, and behavior at large.

Leveraging AI for Enhanced Payment Experience

Today’s Healthcare payment solutions are fast trying to adopt data analytics technologies and different AI-driven automation solutions that can automate the payment process as well as make them transparent to patients.

Powered by data analytics and AI capabilities, current day’s healthcare payment solutions and mobile apps help Healthcare providers to:

  1. Send timely and relevant messages to patients about their payment plan or bills
  2. Call patients and help patients pay via IVR
  3. Provide patients an estimate before providing care
For the healthcare providers an AI-driven payment solution is a great game-changer for the following reasons:
1. Saves millions of dollars spent on payment collection costs by
  • Analyzing several patient data points like medical reports, patient past visits, past payments, physicians attended
  • Helping recommend the right payment plan for the specific patient.
  • Predicting the possibility of payment defaults given the patient’s records and accordingly suggests an alternate payment plan
  • Creating a payment collection strategy for each patient by providing recommendations on when to call and what payment to ask for
  • Integrating the solution with a conversational AI and helping handle large volumes of payment collection requests round the clock
  • 2. Improves patient payment experience by
  • Providing the right financial experience plans for the patient to pay back for the services they were given
  • Improve patient satisfaction in an unobtrusive way
  • 3. Reduces workload on the administrative staff by automating repetitive tedious tasks and by repurposing their focus on core business activities and more quality work. With automated workflows and by predicting work patterns, an AI-powered payment solution can help healthcare providers achieve their business objectives faster and better.

    Key Considerations for Adopting an AI-enabled Payment Solution

    AI can enhance the patient payment experience in various ways, but it does not come without challenges. Here are the 5 key considerations for healthcare providers while adopting AI for payment processing:

    patient payment solutions

    1. Build a robust data platform

    For any AI process to work at its optimal capacity, the data needs to be correct, complete, and consistent. A robust data platform enables AI-driven innovation. Such efficient data platforms can handle more types and structures of data across the enterprise, preventing silos and delivering actionable insights.

    2. Streamline data collection

    AI is powered by data. AI systems can learn and adapt as they compile information from the data and make decisions. Hence, data collection is the first step in any AI strategy. Patient data is federated across provider systems. Hence, collecting patient data needs to be done in a methodical manner.

    3. Take small steps

    AI is not a magic wand! Providers need to take small steps while using AI; start with simpler task automation and slowly build the way up to taking complex decisions. Thinking that AI will solve the problem in one shot and correct all your bad data is not the right approach.

    4. Encourage education and awareness

    The major hurdle for adopting AI is a lack of knowledge and awareness. Healthcare staff needs to be made aware of how AI works and what problems it can solve. They should spend time reviewing AI outputs until the time that it starts delivering better results.

    5. Set up RoI-focused AI

    AI processes should be built with a clear focus on RoI, and not just for peer pressure or social influence. Organizations need to assess the readiness of their assets and capabilities for AI adoption. They need to have a clear vision as to why they want to adopt AI and an understanding of how it could be deployed within the organization.
    Needless to say, in the current new normal era, the need for AI in automation, as well as timely decisions, is going to be unavoidable. Particularly for an industry like healthcare, where volume, velocity, and veracity of services are exponentially increasing, technology platforms need to be beefed up to serve patients better and at the same time have an eye on operational efficiency. AI can become a boon in disguise for healthcare providers if adopted with a long-term strategy in mind.

    Anand Subramaniam

    Anand Subramaniam is the Chief Solutions Officer, leading Data Analytics & AI service line at KANINI. He is passionate about data science and has championed data analytics practice across start-ups to enterprises in various verticals. As a thought leader, start-up mentor, and data architect, Anand brings over two decades of techno-functional leadership in envisaging, planning, and building high-performance, state-of-the-art technology teams.

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