Blog

Medical industry taking to mobile payments for security, convenience

October 16, 2015

In recent years, there has been a slow but steady adoption rate for mobile payments among retailers and consumers alike, but many have perhaps held off from getting involved in the new transaction ecosystem over fears of security and convenience.

In recent years, there has been a slow but steady adoption rate for mobile payments among retailers and consumers alike, but many have perhaps held off from getting involved in the new transaction ecosystem over fears of security and convenience. However, quicker adoption from one surprising industry indicates that there might be little to nothing for merchants and shoppers to fear here.

Mobile payments have enjoyed similarly steady adoption in medical fields over the last few years, according to a report from Healthcare Payer News. But its use by care providers may be picking up a little faster than other industries.

Why is this important?
Interestingly, this level of adoption might be helpful to care providers because of how they perceive the quality of care they receive, the report said. Patient opinion of care providers after the fact often has little to do with whether they are now healthier, and more to do with how peripheral issues such as the customer service experience, which ultimately includes things like paying bills, are handled. As such, the continued preference shift toward mobile payments could help to make consumers happier about their doctors in the future.

“With evolving technology and consumer demographics, providers need to engage their patients for payment through every available payment channel,” Jeff Lin, senior vice president at InstaMed, a health care payments firm that recently adopted mobile technology, told the site. “No health care provider wants to make it harder for their consumer to pay their increasing patient responsibility portion of their bill. In 2011, mobile payments made up 2 percent of consumer payments. In 2015, close to 20 percent of all consumer payments were coming from a mobile device. This increase in just four years shows that mobile payments are here to stay and the growth in the next four years will be even more dramatic.”

Hospitals and other care providers may become leading adopters of mobile payment platforms.Hospitals and other care providers may become leading adopters of mobile payment platforms.

Other issues
In addition, that added comfort with and happiness about mobile payments could become more important to the medical community as the insurance environment changes, the report said. More costs are being shifted onto consumers all the time, potentially adding to their frustration with the care they receive overall. Therefore, these efforts could help to assuage growing fears over higher deductibles, larger co-pays, and other costs that consumers are now being asked to take on en masse across the country. However, like merchants in other fields, the ability of care providers to make sure these new systems work seamlessly with their old ones will likewise help them avoid potential major headaches.

If the medical industry, which handles a lot more sensitive data than just payment information (such as medical histories, personally identifying information including Social Security numbers, and so on) is now starting to trust the security measures put into place by emerging mobile payment processing platforms, then retailers may do well to follow suit. While there is probably no way to fully safeguard against fraud, the more obstacles to it that can be put in the way for criminals, the safer transactions are likely to be, particularly as the security of these platforms evolves.

Back To Blog