Evolution of Digital Health and Wellness: Adopting a seamless digital payment journey – Part2.

The future of digital health payments

Constraints amidst the pandemic crisis brought unprecedented opportunities for both payment and platform providers, with the following three trends slowly shaping the digital health payments ecosystem:

  • Telehealth and teleconsultations are not just a pandemic fad

The upsurge of teleconsultations in both 2020 and 2021 is an after effect of the pandemic as patients sought out alternatives whilst social distancing.  In France 73% of the population in 2020 favored teleconsultations. This behavior is mirrored in Italy, Spain and UK where the e-consultation platform Top doctors saw demand multiply by 30. As demand proliferates, telehealth platforms continue to seek opportunities to improve their service offering with ambitions to provide frictionless payment processing and a convenient digital experience.  Banking institution, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa group in France, positioned itself in telemedicine, integrating teleconsultation in the assistance package attached to its premium bank cards.

  • Further consumerization of healthcare payments

The rising number of healthcare platforms provides patients with alternatives, notably meeting their demand for payment transparency.  In the U.S., a recent survey found that 50% of consumers would leave their current doctor to find a better digital experience for patients.   Nearly 80% of consumers place a high importance to their payment channel of their medical payment experience.  The convenience that apps offer is driving e-health providers to become more innovative. Digital health resembles models of other industries that have been disrupted in the digital transformation:

  • Bank aggregation models have transposed into health apps, such as MySofie (France), which aggregates private and public health insurance accounts.
  • SaaS models are being transposed as HaaS (healthcare as a service) with various subscription models such as Thrivia’s (U.K.) flat rate models or Humanoo’s (Germany) tiered pricing.
  • The influence of online marketplaces has extended to the health and wellness sector, substantially improving accessibility in pharmacies, medical appointments and wellness practitioners.

  • Moving toward seamless payments and collections for Practitioners

Along with patients, physicians play a key role in healthcare digital transformation. Their acceptance of telemedicine and willingness to use digital health platforms are essential to progress. Payout collection and its frequency are medical practitioners’ concerns on utilizing digital platforms. E-health platform providers can address their trepidation through innovative payment solutions, helping improve and accelerate collections. In France, the payment card is the most popular payment method within healthcare apps, which are often also connected to the public and private healthcare system.   Healthcare providers, however, should not neglect growing digital payment trends. 

A 2021 Healthcare Payments Insights report conducted by US Bank showed that 31% of healthcare consumers want their medical provider to support Zelle, Venmo, Paypal or digital wallets.   Beyond perception, a recent study showed that 32% of people will pay their medical bills within 5 minutes of getting a text about it.    In France, Lydia has developed an offer, LydiaPro allowing medical professionals to easily be paid remotely with an automated text message sent to the patient allowing him/her to pay via a secured payment link.

Digital payments are just one component.  Consumers and Medical Professionals alike crave a seamless integrated experience on one platform. In line with this trend, digital payments company, Square has created an App Marketplace that caters to tele-health, allowing practitioners to have an end-to-end solution from admin tasks, scheduling and booking, and billing and collection.   

Payments’ powerful role in the digital transformation in Health and Wellness

Health platform innovators predicament mounts as patients become more decerning “shoppers” and physicians seek to streamline billing and collections.  Users’ basic apps expectations include convenience, transparency and a seamless experience.  To address these needs, innovators collaborate and partner with different industry providers.  Amongst them, payment actors delineate a powerful role in the Health and Wellness digital transformation.  Payment’s influence was evident with the surges in teleconsultation as the telemedicine ecosystem gained footing.  For example, Stripe, the PSP provider of Doctolib, serviced over one million video consultations in March 2020 alone (versus 150K in all in 2019).    Besides the necessity driven by the pandemic, the acceleration of payment collection has made physicians more accepting of the additional costs of using digital platforms.  As payment proves its influence in digital transformation, digital payment solution will continue to develop and innovate. Other industries that are ripe for digital transformation could learn with e-health success through payment integration within their service.

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