Change Healthcare has partnered with Microsoft and Adobe to build a platform that walks patients through the process of getting care and ties their interactions into providers’ revenue cycle management tools.
The new platform, the Connected Consumer Health suite, is delivered as a SaaS tool. The suite offers tools that help patients make healthcare choices across their care process.
One tool allows consumers to access provider pricing and reviews, schedule appointments and pre-pay for the services they’ve selected.
Another feature of the service is its virtual front desk app, which allows patients to move through a touchless check-in experience. The app supports queue management, online check-in and forms, along with communicating when patients should enter the facility.
The platform also offers a care cost app designed to help practices increase pre-service collections from consumers who are paying cash for services or have a high-deductible health plan. The app reaches out to patients via text or email to address follow-up visits and unpaid bills. It also broadcasts a prefilled shopping cart allowing patients to book and pay for services including MRIs and mammograms.
Another option the platform provides is the digital patient experience manager app, which is designed to optimize the digital interactions between patients and caregivers. It coordinates appointments and fosters the kind of patient engagement which helps keep the patients moving through the care process.
Meanwhile, on the back end, the digital patient experience platform provides access to revenue cycle management options, data integration and healthcare workflow support. It also offers cloud security, as well as the ability to customize platform configurations to protect individual health data.
This product sounds interesting, but before I get excited about the platform, I have to say that it seems to be tackling problems that are already handled by other tools or usually don’t engage patients.
Let’s recap what the platform actually does for consumers.
For one thing, it helps patients compare provider prices, schedule appointments and pre-pay what they will owe for services.
Consumers may be interested in the appointment scheduling function, but it seems unlikely that they’ll be that interested in checking out provider prices or pre-paying their bills, as historically, very few patients seem inclined to do so. Meanwhile, bear in mind that most patients can set appointments by accessing the provider’s portal, so it’s not clear what advantage the platform offers here.
OK, what about making it simpler for patients to check-in for visits? This seems like a useful option, as patients might enjoy being able to check in for visits and perhaps fill out forms electronically, However, I doubt the system will do much to get patients to pay for their care upfront. The truth is that doing this is more to the benefit of the provider than the consumer.
My preliminary take on this technology, or at least the options it’s touting at present, is that its functions are surprisingly unimaginative. I realize that when all of these tools are pulled together in a single package that streamlines patients’ experiences, it may be more than the sum of its parts, but I’m skeptical that it will offer a great deal of value otherwise.