Healthcare execs admit they are doing so-so with patient billing. Are their hospitals going the way of Blockbuster?

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Remember Blockbuster? The days of renting a video, watching it on your DVR and then returning it through the slot? When Blockbuster was the big boy, none of us could imagine being able to stream a movie from our TV sets, let alone watch it on a phone. Now there is one Blockbuster store in the country, and Netflix and other live-streaming companies, including Amazon, rule the industry.

About Amazon. The giant retailer has permanently redefined shopping and our world will never be the same. Never. We can’t imagine not being able to use our smartphones to instantly shop online and get our goods two days later.

Then there’s healthcare. Struggling to stay afloat using ancient methods. Forcing people to use portals that tell them very little. Using EHRs that only provide clinical information and back office information when it comes to claims and billing. Billing patients with paper statements and hoping they receive their money. Finally, after months of not being paid, handing off the unpaid bills to collectors so that they end up with pennies on the dollar.

Hospital executives admit that they have issues and not doing a good job of billing. Cedar, a patient payment platform, along with Becker’s Hospital Review, conducted a survey with 80 senior healthcare financial leaders and executives from July 17 to August 1. “The respondents included 28 C-level executives, 16 vice presidents, 24 directors and eight managers within health systems, academic medical centers, community hospitals, medical groups and children’s hospitals across the U.S.”[1] These leaders rated themselves as “just ok” regarding how they handled instructing patients about their financial responsibility. In addition, “more than 51 percent of survey respondents said the patient billing and payment process is of highest priority – not a single respondent said it is low priority.”[2]

So. Patient billing and payments are of highest priority. Yet Moody’s recently reported that hospitals are on an unsustainable financial path.

To call this a dichotomy would be an understatement in all caps. Hospitals must change the way they do business or they simply won’t survive. And first and foremost, they need to adopt a consumer’s approach to healthcare.

Patients now account for 30 percent of a provider’s revenue. This makes these “patients” actually “consumers.” And what do consumers like to do? They like to shop. They like to look for deals. And they like to do it all on their smartphones. Healthcare consumers, though, are forced into asking their doctors what the cost is going to be, and doctors don’t usually know. Neither do their registrars or scheduling staff because they are accessing EHRs that don’t contain that type of information.

EHRs aren’t bad tools. They are actually extremely helpful tools. But they could be so much more effective if they included a platform that allowed them to provide a true retail experience in healthcare for the consumers.

Back to Blockbuster and Netflix. Back when Netflix was a two-year-old struggling company, they offered to sell themselves to Blockbuster for $50 million. Deal never happened. “Today, Netflix has more than 130 million paying customers, and Blockbuster has one remaining store in the U.S.”[3]

Just like live streaming TV was a foreign concept in Blockbuster’s day, so, too, is the idea of a shopping experience like Amazon offers in healthcare. We have never had it. Registrars can’t even tell us what our costs are going to be.  So the idea of a true retail shopping experience in healthcare seems, well, impossible.

Not only is it possible, it exists today. HealthQRS has developed a full, rich retail platform that allows for a shopping experience in healthcare. We digitally connect consumers and enable healthcare employees with technology. We provide a true shopping experience, where consumers search for services and procedures within their network, see the actual prices they will pay, select what they want, schedule it, and even pay for it (or at least begin a series of payments) all from an easy-to-use app in their smartphone that is connected to the provider’s EHR.

HealthQRS is not a replacement for EHRs. We are a complement that adds incredible value to the EHR.

We can partner and integrate with any EHR system to make it be everything you need it to be. We provide the front-end, retail shop at the point-of-service while your EHR continues to provide the necessary clinical and behind-the-scenes back office tools. We can be the value-added solution that provides a seamless experience, from start-to-finish, for your consumers and your employees. And, with HealthQRS there is no duplication of entry. Your staff doesn’t have to enter the same information into different legacy systems. We merge everything together behind-the-scenes and provide an easy-to-use retail experience for consumers and an easy point-of-service experience for your staff.

For example, many provider employees have to re-key everything they do because they don’t have one solution that automatically converges different systems. HealthQRS automatically posts payments to EHR systems. We automatically verify insurance, medical necessity, charity, our system can send all of that to your EHR.

We help you be strategic. The risk today is not doing anything about consumerism. Not being transparent about pricing, not taking a retail approach to healthcare. Doing nothing is going to make you unsustainable. Healthcare has become a true retail industry now. Consumerism is here. If Netflix had gone the way of Blockbuster they would be the same dinosaur, yet they are worth $158 billion today. They were struggling. But they took a risk. As a result – they are worth 3,140 times more.

HealthQRS gives you what you need to compete on many levels. Our solution provides people a full retail experience in healthcare just like they are used to receiving from Amazon for retail goods. From their smartphones, consumers can search for services and procedures in their network, see true prices – not just estimates – schedule the service, search for discounts, pay for the service or set up payment plans, find transportation, receive appointment alerts, wellness alerts, and even see a doctor via telemedicine. You name it. We offer it.

HealthQRS provides you with the infrastructure to create an online experience for consumers including accurate pricing (not just estimates). We enable telehealth connectivity as well. Our technology enables people to connect to more cost-effective, consumer-oriented healthcare options and we keep them in-network. HealthQRS integrates fully to your EHR and can also enhance your existing portals and other patient engagement solutions and improve your meaningful use numbers and increase meaningful use funds.

HealthQRS is the perfect vertical application for integrated delivery networks. We provide regulation compliance and serve as a marketing tool for your facilities. In addition, HealthQRS allows you to be compliant with the new CMS transparency rules beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

We are a software-as-a-service (SaaS), so you have no capital investment, just a low monthly fee. We also have a smartphone application that consumers can use to shop, see actual costs, schedule and pay for services with a few finger taps.

HealthQRS has over 15 years of experience developing healthcare retail experiences for people and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. We invite you to watch our user-friendly app video that you can use to win consumers. We also have a point-of-service solution video that may interest you. You can also check out our E-Commerce Medical Marketplace Flyer for more information. Why not contact us right now to schedule a personalized demo? Make the move past doing nothing and change your fortunes now.


[1] “Hospitals’ billing and payment processes are just ok – and financial executives know it,” Becker’s Hospital Review, Sept. 10, 2018

[2] “Hospitals,’ Becker’s Hospital Review, Sept. 10, 2018

[3] Ayla Ellison, “Netflix co-founder urges healthcare leaders to develop ‘tolerance of risk,’” Becker’s Hospital Review, Sept. 13, 2018,




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