Episode 2: Using Salesforce to Tackle Patient Billing Struggles
PatientFocus CEO David Frederiksen offers an inside look at some of the biggest problems in healthcare today and what his company is doing to solve them.
Long before patient-centered healthcare became an industry buzzword, David Frederiksen realized the billing process needed to change.
A true healthcare visionary, Frederiksen realized that shifting trends and changes to the reimbursement process would create new problems, and thus require new technology to solve them. Instead of sitting back and waiting for a solution, he took the initiative to develop a software that could tackle those issues head on. In this episode of How I Transformed This, Virsys12 founder and CEO Tammy Hawes and her co-host Clark Buckner sat down with Frederiksen to talk about how Salesforce made it possible for him to build software that would meet his client’s needs and help fulfill PatientFocus’ mission.
Struggles with Patient Billing
Frederiksen started PatientFocus to help bridge the gap between patients and healthcare providers by facilitating patient communications, payment management and patient financing options.
To help understand the “bizarre” economics of healthcare, Frederiksen thinks it’s most important to “follow the money.”
Most of the time, healthcare policy is created based on the interests of whoever has the most political capital, and this often means patients get the short end of the stick.
Though there are many different pain points in healthcare, Frederiksen’s work focuses on one specific and complex issue: Patient billing.
“Everything that is required to bill insurance is a very technical process, it’s a tedious process, and most billing offices have gotten relatively good at it,” Frederiksen said. “But the processes, the systems and the workflows necessary to bill insurance have absolutely nothing to do with helping patients to understand and pay their bills.”
Early on, Frederiksen realized that the problems with patient billing also create an extra headache for healthcare providers, which often lack the processes and manpower to adequately handle billing.
Putting the Patient First
In order to fix the billing process, PatientFocus had to develop a system unlike any that had been used before, Frederiksen shared.
“When it comes to the billing process, the patient has always come dead last,” he said. “And so patient billing requires a whole different set of systems and skill sets and people in order to do it right.”
The PatientFocus solution starts with taking on the work of billing so healthcare providers don’t have to worry about it, and it simplifies the process by “putting the patient at the center and working around their needs and their budget and their timeframes,” Frederiksen said.
PatientFocus’ mission of putting the patient first in every interaction doesn’t just help patients, it benefits providers, too. The company’s clients see an average patient revenue increase of 51 percent, and patient claims are almost completely eliminated because PatientFocus is working directly with the patients to make payment easier.
Building with Salesforce
Because PatientFocus takes such an innovative approach to billing, the company had to build a new system from scratch. After struggling to make a custom software work for them, PatientFocus decided to switch over to Salesforce.
“We needed a platform that could scale with us, and one that didn’t require heavy amounts of maintenance,” Frederiksen said.
Using custom software felt like working with playdough, Frederiksen admitted. It looks great at first, but it requires a ton of maintenance and can’t be reconfigured once it’s been built.
Using Salesforce, however, was like building with Legos. It’s easy to take things apart, add on new features and develop a much more predictable and understandable system. That system, when paired with a strong workforce, is what has made PatientFocus so successful, Frederiksen said.
“Systems aren’t going to solve all the problems, you have to have people. We have really great people that are empowered by the tools Salesforce has enabled us to create and put forth.”
With Salesforce, PatientFocus have developed an approach that uses technology to make life easier for its clients. And in Frederiksen’s mind, that’s not just a good business solution, it’s the future of healthcare.
“Patients are going to have to pay for more and more out of their pocket. That’s just a fact that’s not going away,” he said. “Those hospitals, those providers, those physicians who work with companies to help answer patients’ questions and help them understand and pay their bills are the ones who are going to be successful.”
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