Protect digitized health and financial data
After nearly two years of COVID-19 and an unprecedented digital shift in consumer behavior, the changes and integrations between healthcare and financial systems have never been greater.
While the free flow of data between healthcare providers, hospitals, insurers and consumers has had significant positive impacts on the industry, it has also come with a new set of challenges in terms of security of medical records and payment information.
“The need to protect data, whether financial or clinical, has certainly never been greater,” Shannon Burke, senior vice president and general manager, Health Systems at Synchrony, told PYMNTS. Burke also noted the changes COVID-19 has had in how patients want – and need – to receive care at a time when they can’t always be there in person to get it.
As a result of changing patient and consumer expectations, whether pre-care, point-of-care or post-care, Burke said the increasingly digital, frictionless and integrated patient journey has evolved. .
“It’s not something you can separate from the medical journey,” Burke said. “As we look at the whole journey, we’ve woven so much financial and medical stuff, but a truly negative payment experience can absolutely eclipse any positive clinical outcome for a patient. “
This means that everyone involved needs to be really aware of how they are delivering this experience to patients.
Hackers are watching
Burke pointed to a recent federal HIPAA report that showed, for the 12 months that ended July 2021, 706 reported health data breaches involving 500 or more records – and the health data of more than 44 million people was exposed or compromised.
“What this tells us is that there are a lot of bad actors out there, and you kind of have to speculate as to why they’re looking for medical information,” she said, adding that the bad guys actors and hackers are clearly not interested in the drugs she is taking. takes or the time that she sprained her ankle.
“They attack health data because it [gives them access to personal and] financial information, ”Burke continued, noting how, from a security perspective, the systems have become intertwined.
His prediction, for this year and next, is that the world will continue to see a demand for truly frictionless integrated and transparent health and financial solutions, as well as continued investment in technology.
“I would be remiss if I did not say that billing transparency will continue to push health systems to provide [better] transparency of costs and costs associated with what the patient will bear as their share, ”she said.
As much as she thinks the health systems as a whole have “done a remarkable job,” she says there is always room for improvement.
“I think we, as financial partners and financing solutions, are going to have to work with [healthcare providers] fit in so that it’s just a harmonious part of both the patient experience and the healthcare system’s experience of care, ”said Burke.