To the editor:
I read with great interest Brian Albright's article (http://www.healthcare-informatics.com/price_of_success) in the Fall Healthcare Revenue & Cost Management supplement. Mr. Albright makes some great points about price transparency using practical examples from providers.
One particular quoted source asserts that some of the challenges hospitals face should be attributed to themselves, because they aren't organized enough to accurately estimate prices prior to treatment.
While that in many cases may be true, I think it is important to note that technology is a fundamental ingredient of any hospital's approach to providing patient payment estimates. Technology can provide the cohesiveness and organization that may be lacking and inhibiting growth in front end collections, among other areas. Tools are available in today's market that link CDMs, managed care contracts and patient benefits to derive a reliable patient estimate. Geisinger's MyVisit program is a great example of a provider appropriately using technology to overcome impediments, tap information and answer the pricing demand for its patients.
The fact is, as Mr. Albright so aptly stated, given the current and forecasted trends of increasing patient financial responsibility, every hospital aiming to keep its doors open should be able to provide up front price estimates. Technology is a good place to start for those who are falling behind.
Vice President, Product Management - Financial Products
Passport Health Communications, Inc.