January 11, 2024

Is AI the Answer to Healthcare Billing Problems? 

Cedar president Seth Cohen believes that recent technological advances may help ease tensions around healthcare billing concerns. Earlier in 2023, the healthcare financial engagement platform teamed up with Google Cloud’s AI solutions to better assist patients to pay for healthcare costs.  

In its research, Cedar determined that surprise bills are harmful to consumers’ wallets and can have disturbing health impacts. Not only can unforeseen fees throw a wrench in healing, but they’ll likely go unpaid.  

Key findings include: 

  • Just under 20% of patients have unpaid bills due to unaffordability 
  • Nearly one-quarter (23%) of patients cannot pay unexpected medical bills over $250 
  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) of patients don’t pay healthcare bills due to lack of funds rather than lack of desire 

It’s important to note that healthcare expenses are typically not a part of individual and family budgets. In other words, all healthcare bills should be considered unexpected to patients, meaning it’s likely that the surprise will leave a substantial dent in their pocketbook or be impossible to cover altogether.  

However, Cohen sees AI as a solution to surprise bills, offering heightened transparency, understanding of costs, and ease in reconciliation. Cohen believes call centers may benefit most from AI due to the overwhelming number of repetitive questions from consumers. He stated: The moment a patient has to call a call center, that patient is already unhappy.” 

According to the 2023 Patient Payment Technology Report, nearly 80% of patients say they pay close attention to the billing process when selecting providers, citing it as “somewhat or very important.” Additionally, having a negative financial experience can lead to bad reviews by more than half of consumers.  

AI is also likely to be effective in assisting healthcare organizations to alleviate data security and patient privacy concerns. These are vital considerations when implementing any type of AI-powered billing system, with 72% of patients trusting medical payment data to be handled appropriately by healthcare providers and partnering tech firms, per the report. 

Fortunately, AI has been fine-tuned over the years, offering advanced algorithms to identify security breaches, vulnerabilities, and anomalies, protecting against threats before they become a serious problem.  

Oxford has the knowledge and expertise to help healthcare organizations strike a balance between efficiency and the preservation of patient privacy, so you can move into the future of healthcare billing with peace of mind, maintaining consumer trust and upholding the confidentiality of patient information.   

“Health systems are considering how AI can be applied to solve problems and challenges. Starting with improving billing processes will increase efficiencies while improving patient experience by default,” stated Vanessa Whitehead, Vice President of Healthcare Technology at Oxford Global Resources. “The more control patients feel over interactions with their providers, the more engaged and satisfied they will be, improving their overall health.” 

The AI solutions cooked up by Cedar and Google Cloud are projected to make their debut in early 2024.  

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