The digitization of healthcare — what about the back office?

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The digitization of healthcare — what about the back office?

April 16, 2021
Health IT

Audit pain relief
Audits can be a messy situation for even the best finance teams. Auditors need copies of invoices, checks, reports, and other information, which can be especially cumbersome when they are in paper form. The ability to digitize and centralize that information makes the audit process much simpler and cleaner for all involved. Auditors get easy access to everything they need, and finance teams spend minimal time and effort around the audit.

Goodbye paper checks and fraud exposure

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COVID and remote work requirements exposed the gross inefficiencies of paper checks. The pure logistical challenges of multiple people handling, printing, approving, signing and mailing out paper checks, not to mention the additional costs and lack of control over cash flow, put paper checks and the manual processes that go with them, on their way to extinction.

Even without the pandemic, paper checks are problematic. They are the leading payment method associated with fraud, according to the 2020 AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey. 74% of finance professionals report that their check payments were targets of attempted and/or actual payments fraud. AP automation and electronic payments can minimize the chances of invoice fraud and phishing attacks.

Hello virtual card payments and rebates
With constant cost pressures and thin margins, healthcare providers can’t afford to turn away opportunities to save and make money through early payment discounts and virtual card rebates. Virtual payment cards are unique 16-digit numbers created solely for a single-use transaction. Payments can be made from anywhere and they are highly secure for both payer and payee. Compared to the 74% of finance professionals referenced above that reported check fraud, just 3% reported fraud related to virtual cards.

Aside from the security benefits, virtual cards have also become widely accepted, making them as convenient as any other payment form. And businesses that use the cards can take advantage of valuable rebates to generate extra cash. In the words of one controller, “We’re making these payments anyway, so the fact that virtual cards help us generate a new revenue stream from them is a huge win. It’s been great for the accounting team to show that we’re not just a cost center—now we’re able to contribute to the organization’s finances too.”

Across the healthcare industry, digital has taken on a new sense of urgency to improve and streamline the delivery of patient care. That same thinking needs to be put on back office financial operations as well. Automating foundational processes like accounts payable can deliver dramatic benefits to healthcare providers, especially small and mid-size entities that have limited staff and budgets.

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