We’ve all heard of Experian. We know them from our daily lives as a credit reporting agency. But what you might not know is the significant impact Experian has in the healthcare space via their Experian Health division. I recently sat down (virtually of course) with Jason Considine, SVP & General Manager, Patient Access, Collections & Engagement at Experian Health to learn about Experian’s role in healthcare and the really cool things they’re doing to help during this COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
One of the most impressive things Experian has done recently, in response to the pandemic, is around payer alerts. Not surprisingly, payers are pivoting and changing their reimbursement policies/procedures regarding COVID-19 almost daily. When a commercial, Medicare or Medicaid payer make a change, they issue a “payer policy alert”. Staying up to date with these rapidly changing reimbursement, coverage and coding policies is difficult for hospitals that are currently understaffed (and under tremendous strain).
Fortunately, Experian has been aggregating these payer policy changes and made this information available via a portal. Anyone who signs up will receive notifications whenever payers make a change. The best news? Experian has made its COVID-19 payer alerts free to everyone.
Experian has collected more than 1,200 alerts so far, and Considine is delighted with the results: “It’s been online for a short amount of time, and the response has been absolutely fabulous from our customers. From their feedback [we learned] that they had full time employees go out to the various payer website to try and amalgamate this information manually for the management team. By putting all that information in one place, it helps make it easy for them to understand the changes and manage efficiently.”
The company has also launched a solution called Patient Financial Advisor that sends estimated costs of care and allows patients to pay before they see their doctor. “We’re big believers in price transparency,” said Considine. And that makes total sense (excuse the pun). Surprise medical bills was a hot topic before the pandemic hit and it remains a top concern of patients especially now that there is the possibility of being suddenly hospitalized with the coronavirus.
Experian’s role as a credit reporting agency gives them a unique perspective on patients. They literally have records for everyone in the country – current addresses, financial information, past history, etc. This level of insight allows Experian to offer clients powerful tools for Revenue Cycle Management.
“We have so much data that helps our customers navigate the revenue cycle and identity process in healthcare,” said Considine. “Nobody is better than us at making sure that all things around getting the bill paid by patients or by the payers. We have the data that helps our customers make the best revenue cycle decisions.”
With Experian, providers can be proactive in offering payment options that match the patient’s financial situation. This may not sound like much, but imagine for a minute that you are someone working two jobs just to make ends meet and suddenly you have a medical situation that needs to be attended to. You can pay the bill, just not in a single lump sum. Would you feel comfortable asking the hospital or doctor if they offered a payment plan during your visit?
What if instead, at the end of your encounter, your doctor handed you a document that listed various payment options that the hospital offers “just in case” you need it. Included on that document is a payment plan that spreads the cost over several months. No awkward conversations.
Experian can make that a reality.
Let’s face it – the world is not in a great place financially right now, and certainly healthcare is no exception. Consider for a moment all those elective procedures that are currently being postponed due to COVID-19. When the restrictions are lifted and those patients can come back in, they may be in a very different financial situation than they were before – especially when you consider over 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the past 4 weeks.
Providers need to prepare for this 2nd wave of the pandemic – these patients who have had their care postponed. Part of that preparation should include getting ready with financial options to ease patients’ financial burden.
Watch the interview Considine to learn how Experian is:
- Helping people and businesses – not just in healthcare but anywhere – with a jobless risk index and resources to help people understand how credit works and how to manage their financial situation
- Helping to screen patients before they arrive for appointments
- Addressing the challenges hospitals are facing with virtualizing staff so they can effectively work from home – like call center agents
- Building tools that can help authenticate patients and accurately identify patients across multiple EHRs which has all sorts of downstream benefits
- Making it possible for patients to take a selfie and a picture of their driver’s license to reduce paperwork and time spent in waiting rooms
For more information about Experian Health, visit – https://www.experian.com/healthcare/
This article is part of the #HealthIT100in100