Change Healthcare rolls out software to let patients book healthcare like shopping for a hotel room

Change Healthcare has rolled out new software that makes booking and paying for healthcare services seem more like shopping online.

The Nashville-based health technology company collaborated with Microsoft and Adobe to launch the consumer health platform this week. It's a consumer and financial engagement service for healthcare providers to offer patients a more streamlined, transparent experience to shop, book, and pay for medical services, the company said.

The technology is the result of a partnership the three companies announced in 2018 with the aim of making healthcare more consumer-friendly. The companies focused on building solutions to collect health information from multiple electronic sources, such as clinical, financial and administrative data.

The rise of consumerism in healthcare has patients seeking to evaluate their healthcare choices as they would any other product or service––by conducting online research, reading reviews, comparing prices, and engaging those who best fit their needs and budgets.

Bolting transactional features onto portals can't provide the frictionless, end-to-end experience consumers want," said Neil de Crescenzo, president and CEO of Change Healthcare, said in a statement.

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Change Healthcare developed the new system using Microsoft Azure and Adobe’s customer experience management suite.

The software was designed to give patients the same experience booking healthcare procedures as shopping for a hotel room or rental car, according to a Change Healthcare video.

Consumers can search for a procedure, view pricing, book an appointment, and pay for care all in one place. Patients can search their area for a procedure, such as an MRI, get comparative pricing information across multiple facilities, ratings and reviews, and appointment availability.

Patients also can pay upfront for their appointment, which enables healthcare providers to be paid much faster rather than waiting for statements to be processed and sent to patients.

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The application will display pricing that includes all fees, with payment distribution handled automatically so patients only get one bill.

The administrative side of healthcare––for example, activities related to access, appointment setting, and payments––are traditionally the most frustrating healthcare activities for patients.

Change Healthcare said it designed the system to shift administrative tasks to more of the retail-style experience consumers have come to expect in other industries such as banking, travel and entertainment.

The system helps to modernize the way providers interact with consumers exploring their healthcare options, said Bill Krause, vice president and general manager, Connected Consumer Health suite, Change Healthcare, in a statement.

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A virtual front desk application also offers patients and office staff a touchless check-in experience. Given the ongoing need for social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, that tool enables the use of personal devices for queue management, online check-in and forms, and communicating when patients should enter the facility.

Change Healthcare also built a price transparency and service bundling solution designed to help providers increase pre-service collections from cash and high-deductible health plan consumers. That application streamlines what has traditionally been a time-consuming process by automatically reaching out to patients via text or email based on time or clinical follow-up triggers, with a prefilled shopping cart to book and pay for services––be it a referral for an MRI, mammogram reminder, follow-up visit or other services.

Another application manages the digital patient experience by coordinating appointments and maintaining patient engagement and includes primary caregivers, referring physicians, specialists and labs, according to the company.