If I told you just how much neat technology is coming down the pipe now, which is revolutionary compared with what you’ve had to put up with in the past, and which will almost certainly make your life more pleasant in one way or another, you’d almost certainly smile to yourself – if you believed my spiel.
One which is marching towards you with a high degree of certainty, and is only slowed by the pace at which your practice management system can upgrade, and certain government payments providers get their act together, is the idea that you will be able to throw away your merchant terminal and still pay and claim for everything you do for your patient. That’s whether it be MBS, NDIS, health insurance, third-party compensatory or other payer-based systems, right on the spot.
That is going to make your patient much happier, and likely, your accountant in terms of cashflow and effort that they once had to go to in order to keep track of a spaghetti-like milieu of after-the-fact, merchant terminal-based, email, faxed and even paper cheque payment methods. You almost certainly are wasting a lot of money in this old payments world.
This is the vision of one of the new breed of healthcare payment start-ups called Medipass.
Medipass is backed by banking giant NAB, the folks that bring you that familiar HICAPS terminal, and who have a lot of willpower and money to make this technology happen. And if you’ve noticed any of your friends just waving their mobiles at the coffee shop proprietor, instead of pulling out their wallet and credit card, you are witness to the basis of this digital payments technology.
Medipass focusses on using modern technologies to streamline and digitise the various manual processes, including validation of invoices before they are sent to insurers, instant approvals and next-day settlements to your bank account.
For patient payments they use the patient’s mobile phone, avoiding the need for a bank terminal. Previously, much of these were harder issues to solve, particularly around security. But mobile phones have a lot of the functionality inbuilt because you have to be secured and identified now for so many mobile and app-based services, not the least of which is your direct banking.
Healthcare is more complex than buying a coffee. But all the principles the banks and mobile entrepeneurs have now sorted out for the simpler mobile transactions are now applicable to almost all the bodies that pay for healthcare.
Medicare, private health insurers, doctors putting gap fees on, allied health carers, the NDIS, and all manner of organisations are mobilising digitally.
Medipass is a complicated business, but with a simple vision. The company facilitates claims and payments with the myriad of insurers, to get you paid as quickly as possible, with a minimum of fuss. And that goes for both you and your patients.
Such a seamless system will also tack neatly onto new healthcare services that are emerging, such as telehealth and homecare services.
I could go on a lot more about it, but does anyone really want the gory detail? It’s highly technical!
Medipass currently offers the ability for a patient to pay directly and immediately, plus straight through claiming for private health insurance extras, overseas health insurance, online ecommerce payments for contact lenses (with Specsavers) and Medicare – all without a terminal.
Claiming for icare NSW and NDIS is coming soon, with many more insurers to be added from there.
As the group is backed by NAB, it has history and pedigree. But the size of the medical payments prize is big and the group is soon to be joined in the race by the Commonwealth Bank and a new competing system from Whitecoat called Albert.
And both Westpac and ANZ have projects under way to expand their footprints in this sector.