Digital payments are on the rise in healthcare: Key data points + 3 technologies to watch

The accounts payable sector faces a complex and challenging future. One important strategy for coping with the expected disruption is to accelerate the adoption of digital payments. CommerceHealthcare® has compiled a few data points and considerations for further illustration. We also encourage you to read our full eBook Healthcare Finance Trends for 2022.

A variety of digital payment modes are gaining wider B2B and B2C acceptance. Growth is being propelled by convenience, efficiencies, cash management and health safety, and is uniform across a range payment rails, including:

  • Real time payments (RTP). This mode forms a $13.5 billion worldwide market, expanding at an annual clip of 33 percent through 2028.[1] Real-time healthcare bill payments and disbursements are projected to reach over 70 million in 2022.[2]
  • Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT). Healthcare processed 108 million EFTs in the second quarter of 2021, up almost 36 percent from the same 2020 period.[3]
  • Mobile wallets. This facilitator of RTP is likewise surging. New mobile wallet users are projected to come onstream at a rate of 6.5 million per year between 2021 and 2025, with average spending reaching $4,064 annually per user.[4] Wallets are also becoming a force in all e-commerce.

Digital payments should expand in 2022 as part of e-commerce protocols necessary to support telehealth. COVID-19 concerns will provide further stimulus.
Here are three technologies to keep on the planning radar:

  1. Biometric authentication. Security is paramount in electronic payments, and research suggests that consumers prefer voice, fingerprint and other biometrics.
  2. Open banking APIs. These tools allow strong integration between bank and provider systems to provide patients a more seamless payment experience.
  3. The future remains cloudy for this mode, but it is already being used for a number of consumer transactions.

It is important to note that effective payments innovation is about more than just processing digital payments. A "closed loop" system is needed that unites payments and data to permit complete reconciliation and tracking of fund flows.

Additional Data and Takeaways

  • Cost control, convenience and continuing needs to support a remote workforce should drive momentum of digital B2B payment modes in healthcare.
  • Dependencies to consider in promoting these forms of payment: the persistence of legacy systems and minimal system integration, both of which may hamper effective use.
  • Regulatory compliance and security are paramount requirements in the digital realm — a reason banks have become preferred partners.
  • A cross-industry study showed the dynamism of the payment space, with healthy majorities of companies offering more methods, boosted by consumer behavior changes from the pandemic.[5]
  • Use of cryptocurrencies for healthcare B2B payments is still in its infancy, but heightened attention and rapid technological development may hasten adoption by providers, payers and suppliers.

Balancing patient payments priorities will be crucial going forward. For fuller context, we again direct you to our complete eBook Healthcare Finance Trends for 2022.

CommerceHealthcare® solutions are provided by Commerce Bank. CommerceHealthcare® is the specialty healthcare division of Commerce Bank, focusing on revenue cycle and payments automation. Our team helps healthcare providers reduce costs and improve cashflow throughout the revenue cycle. To learn more visit: CommerceHealthcare.com/solutions 

 

[1] Grandview Research, Real-Time Payments Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report, January 2021.

[2] PYMNTS.com, “Deep Dive: Giving Healthcare Payments a Real-Time Upgrade,” blog post, November 20, 2019.

[3] Nacha, 2Q 2021 ACH Network Volume Totals Infographic, 2021.

[4] eMarketer Insider Intelligence, “U.S. Payment Users Will Surpass 100 Million This Year,” blog post, March 30, 2021.

[5] Paysafe Insights, “How COVID-19 has Reshaped the SMB Checkout: Online,” blog post, October 21, 2020.

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