After nearly two years of COVID-19 and an unprecedented digital shift in consumer behaviors, the changes and integrations between healthcare and financial systems have never been greater.
While the free flow of data between healthcare providers, hospitals, insurers and consumers has had tremendous positive effects on the industry, it has also come with a new set of challenges in terms of security of medical records and payment information.
“The need to protect data, whether financial or clinical, has certainly never been greater,” Shannon BurkeSenior Vice President and General Manager, Health Systems at Synchrony, said PYMNTS. Burke also noted the changes COVID-19 has had on how patients want — and need — to receive care at a time when they can’t always be there in person to get it.
Due to changing patient and consumer expectations, whether pre-care, point-of-care or post-care, Burke said the increasingly digitized patient journey, without friction and integrated evolved.
“It’s not something you can separate from the medical journey,” Burke said. “As we look at the whole journey, we’ve woven so many financial and medical things together, but a truly negative payment experience can absolutely overshadow any positive clinical outcome for a patient.”
This means that all players need to be really aware of how they are delivering this experience to patients.
Hackers are watching
Burke pointed to a recent federal HIPAA report that showed that for the 12 months ending July 2021, 706 health data breaches were reported involving 500 or more records — and the health data of more than 44 million people. people were exposed or compromised.
“What that tells us is that there are a lot of bad actors out there, and you kind of have to speculate on why they’re looking for medical information,” she said, adding that bad actors actors and hackers are clearly not interested in the drugs she takes. takes or the time she sprained her ankle.
“They are attacking health data because it [gives them access to personal and] financial information,” Burke continued, noting how from a security perspective the systems have become intertwined.
His prediction, for this year and next, is that the world will continue to see a trend towards truly integrated and seamless healthcare and financial solutions, along with continued investment in technology.
“I would be remiss if I did not say that billing transparency will continue to incentivize health systems to provide [better] transparency of costs and costs associated with what the patient is going to bear as their share,” she said.
While she thinks health systems as a whole have “done a remarkable job,” she says there’s always room for improvement.
“I think that we, as financial partners and financing solutions, are going to have to work with [healthcare providers] to be integrated so that it’s just a seamless part of the patient experience and the healthcare system care experience,” Burke said.