A recent PYMNTS.COM Deep Dive examines how virtual patient experiences and contactless payments -- boosted by the realities of the pandemic -- are changing the healthcare landscape.
At the same time, security and privacy are still of huge importance to patients:
These trends signify that healthcare providers must prioritize offering digital-first payment methods and telehealth services to meet patients’ new expectations. Successfully operating in a digital-first healthcare space requires putting cutting-edge verification solutions and security measures in place, however. The need for more stringent security methods is intensifying as the healthcare space — especially the virtual healthcare arena — becomes of higher interest to fraudsters, stoking fears of medical identity theft that could also financially impact patients. Fraudsters utilizing stolen credentials could impersonate patients to file false insurance claims, for example, defrauding the patient, the healthcare provider and the insurer all at once. Implementing identity verification solutions that can block such schemes and easily distinguish between legitimate consumers and fraudsters armed with synthetic identities is thus critical.
The challenge, then, is to meet the convenient payment expectations of healthcare consumers while ensuring patient security at all levels.
Digital verification and re-verification solutions must be a component of healthcare providers’ new digital channels and services to ease patients’ concerns, as failing to do so could severely impact consumers’ trust in their providers, yet these solutions must also not add undue friction.
Make no mistake: The average medical consumer will "jump ship" to another healthcare provider if their needs for convenience and security are not met:
Medical entities can also lose patients’ trust if they fail to keep their data safe. Customers’ expectations for online privacy and security are rising alongside their expectations for better access to digital healthcare services. The portion of consumers who would abandon their healthcare providers for new services in the event of a cyberattack swelled 30 percent between 2019 and 2020, for example, and the majority of consumers are reporting concerns about security when they log in and view their PII online with their healthcare providers. Consumers want to be sure that their providers are keeping this login process safe from fraudsters, protecting gateways such as patient portals, for example. Forty-six percent of providers noted that securing such portals can be challenging when patients also expect the login process to be seamless. Figuring out how to balance those two components represents a critical task for providers as the healthcare space further digitizes.
PYMNTS notes that fraudsters are increasingly targeting this space. Services are moving online and consumers’ privacy and security preferences are changing, conditions that are noted and followed closely by fraudsters. Data breaches now cost healthcare providers $7.1 million per incident on average — the highest average cost observed for any industry. That figure -- combined with the fact that consumers will dump their healthcare providers for new services in the event of a cyberattack -- makes it clear that convenience must be girded by exceptional security.
Healthcare providers are in the difficult position of meeting patient expectations while also protecting their patients -- and themselves -- from fraud. This is a complex challenge that most providers are not equipped to handle by themselves. Fortunately, there are tech vendors ready to assist, providing solutions from telehealth to payments. It's crucial for providers to select a vendor with a reputation for innovation and protecting patients' healthcare information (PHI) to ensure that healthcare consumers' expectations are met and their PHI are absolutely secure.