“It’s as simple as using Amazon.com.”
Would you believe that can be said about buying healthcare? But that’s precisely the purchasing experience MDsave offers both consumers and hospitals, according to Daniel Schmidt, VP of Product for MDsave. Forget copays and bills that show up a month after your visit. Buying a procedure through MDsave is as simple as adding items to the shopping cart, paying one upfront price that includes related fees normally billed separately (e.g., lab fees, facility fees, physician fees), then receiving a voucher number for the entire episode of care.
Now, the company is introducing MDsave Direct, a streamlined transactional platform that enables hospitals to create bundled episodes of care at the point of sale.
“It’s similar to Square for Healthcare,” Schmidt explains, comparing MDsave Direct to the popular mobile payment and point-of-sale provider. Staff can see all of the procedures offered at that location and quickly create a custom shopping cart from either a search bar or a menu, building a customized bundle that the patient can pay on the spot and eliminating the need for billing and the risk of bad debt.
Emergency room staff will find a uniquely tailored experience on the MDsave Direct platform. A separate ER Procedures portal customizes the workflow specifically for ER services available at each individual facility for a more efficient checkout process.
MDsave Direct has increased point-of-sale collections by 43% in beta testing across the country.
The key concept, according to Schmidt, is that MDsave Direct can build both “prospective and retrospective bundles.” A prospective bundle is built before the patient ever comes to the hospital – for example, a patient purchases an MRI, prepays one bundled price, receives a voucher, and then schedules the appointment. Of course, we all know that not all medical procedures are planned ahead of time. Retroactive bundling is being used in emergency rooms across the nation as part of beta testing MDsave Direct. In a retrospective bundle, the services are added to the shopping cart and payment collected after the procedure is completed, and payment is disbursed through MDsave Direct within 48 hours.
Simplifying Payments for Providers and Patients
Unlike the consumer-facing marketplace found at MDsave.com, MDsave Direct omits consumer-focused functions like location search and catalog browsing. Instead, MDsave Direct parses out orders and CPT codes from a patient’s electronic medical record and builds a custom shopping cart from that information. Or, in building a retrospective bundle, the staff can build a bundle from an easy-to-navigate portal sorting procedures by specialty, CPT code, or provider.
The MDsave Direct platform catalogs patient vouchers, so a patient’s payment information and outstanding vouchers are always easy to find. MDsave Direct also gives both staff and patients check-out options: if a patient can’t afford a procedure, the staff has the option to build that patient a bundle using MDsave’s pre-negotiated rates to save the patient money. Or, MDsave Direct can be used as a point-of-sale for all self-pay transactions in the hospital.
Simplified Unbundling and Fast Provider Payment – Even to Multiple Providers
The proprietary software that powers the MDsave Direct platform not only makes the bundles for each episode of care, it also unbundles and distributes the payments to all participating providers within seven days.
This capability to quickly unbundle and distribute payment to multiple providers is what sets MDsave apart in the digital health space. “What makes MDsave unique is that we’re the only company who pays out horizontal bundles,” Schmidt explains. “A vertical bundle is when all of the care is provided by a single provider, so everything is done by one economic entity. What’s unique about what we do is that we span multiple providers.”
Care coordination is the future of healthcare, and that means more providers being involved in each patient’s episode of care. That, Schmidt says, “is something that nobody else can make transactable right now.”
WHY HOSPITALS ARE LOVING MDsave DIRECT
- Fast Payment
- Bundled Payments
- Bad Debt Reduction
- Patient Satisfaction
- Patient Retention
- Doctor Referrals
Don’t Worry, Providers: It’s Not Just One More Tool
Providers who are already struggling to balance patient care with a tremendous amount of data management are well within their rights to ask if this is just one more tool to add to the to-do list. It’s a consideration Schmidt and his team are well aware of, and they’ve designed the platform to allay those fears: “To replace the status quo of how something works, you can’t just be a little bit better, you need to be ten times better. What we’re trying to do is be so much better, so much simpler at collecting payments that it doesn’t make sense not to use us.”
To that end, Schmidt and his team have created a software to automate self-pay processes that often do not have an existing parallel system in hospitals. The MDsave Direct platform underwent extensive usability testing to ensure it was as user-friendly as possible, and made the transition from the electronic medical record to the billing process as simple as copy and paste.
Another common provider fear Schmidt is happy to put to rest is that MDsave is primarily a discount platform. “Providers may think of MDsave as a way of offering discounted prices, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s one thing you can do, but it’s just a better way to collect payments. You offer the price that’s right for you and your business.”
How it Helps Patients: the Heart of the Matter
More Americans than ever are paying out-of-pocket for healthcare. 24% of employees have a high-deductible health plan. About 1 in 4 Americans with a high-deductible plan skip needed care because of the cost.
MDsave and MDsave Direct provide options for uninsured or high-deductible patients to access care that they otherwise might have to skip. This platform provides savings, certainty in what you pay, no surprise bills, and a simple one-time payment. “MDsave actually makes price comparison and price shopping more feasible,” Schmidt says. “Our system is more affordable and simpler for the patient, which makes them more likely to continue seeking the care they need.”