Tools for managing the self-pay patient

At this year's show, expect to see a lot of vendors pitching technologies and services designed to help you manage collections for the self-pay patient. It's telling, for example, that Forthright Solutions, a vendor of transaction processing and claims administration services in the dispute resolution market, is pitching a "self-pay recovery system" to HFMA attendees. Another vendor targeting the self-pay sector aggressively is Connance, whose technology mixes the experience of health systems with credit scoring firm Fair Isaac's predictive analytics capability to, among other things, sort out which patients are likely to pay.

Seeing vendors like this make a lot of noise is hardly surprising, given that the self-pay patient is top-of-mind for most providers these days--and that most aren't sure they're ready to deal with patient debt efficiently. That being said, tightening up collections management isn't the only way to get things done. I'm eager to see what vendors are offering by way of web-based payment solutions--an option Tenet recently rolled out for all of its hospitals using NCR Corp.'s Online Bill Pay. This solution--and related ones like bill-payment kiosks--could improve collections substantially just by making it convenient to pay promptly.