Health systems could invest in Buy Now, Pay Later options to satiate consumer demand

The data: In 2022, about 74% of health system executives will likely invest in technology that supports patient access and convenience (like self-scheduling, bill-pay, and price transparency tools), per a December 2021 KLAS and Center for Connected Medicine Report.

Why it’s worth watching: In 2021, consumers demanded their digital healthcare experience to match their retail one—and healthcare execs are finally reacting.

Major online retailers like Amazon are increasingly offering consumers flexible payment options like Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)—and consumers want to see these sorts of payment plans in healthcare, too.

  • About 43% of US consumers would use BNPL to make high-value purchases, according to a 2021 joint report by PYMNTS and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  • And about 36% of patients would like payment plan options if they’re not able to pay the full amount, per a 2020 Cedar Report.

Plus, most healthcare consumers want convenient self-scheduling options:

  • Nearly 73% of healthcare consumers say they want to schedule their own appointments, per a June 2021 report by Experian Health.
  • Retail clinics like CVS and Walmart Health already offer digital options like self-scheduling to boost patient foot traffic and enable expansion: CVS plans to transform most of its brick-and-mortar stores into primary care offices over the next few years, for instance.

What’s next? Platforms like Cedar, Waystar, and InstaMed tout easy-to-use digital billing and self-scheduling options, which could be quick fixes for health systems lagging on seamless online healthcare experiences.

For example, Cedar’s platform enables health systems to send patients email and text reminders about their healthcare bills, and also lets them set up a payment plan.

  • Cedar’s platform helped healthcare organizations like CityMD eliminate patients’ pain points around billing, which is good news for revenues.
  • Cedar claims it helped healthcare clients increase patient collections by up to 30% on average, for instance.

Investing in tech like Cedar’s and Waystar’s could help health systems keep their patients engaged and ensure their patients aren’t going elsewhere for care:

  • About 11% of healthcare execs say competitive pressures are driving their organizations to pursue more investments in patient access technology (like convenient billing options), per KLAS.