Open challenge asks providers to redesign medical bills

The confusion surrounding billing can negatively impact your revenue cycle.

The Department of Health and Human Services understands that billing is confusing for patients and has found a creative way to discover the right solution. Recently, the agency presented a new challenge to health care providers in the form of a contest: Design a medical bill that's easy to understand and improves the overall medical billing system. Whoever can fit this criteria the best will receive one of the $5,000 rewards.

"The HHS hopes to point out the complexity of medical billing."

The contest, which is open until Aug. 10, is sponsored by AARP and administered by the design agency Mad*Pow. By opening up this challenge, the HHS hopes to point out the complexity of medical billing and search for the best alternatives.

"This challenge is part of the HHS' larger effort to put patients at the center of their own health care," said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell in a statement. "With today's announcement, we are creating progress toward a medical bill that people can actually understand and a billing process that makes sense – progress that includes creating a forum that brings everyone to the table: patients, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and innovators."

The outcome of the competition could significantly clarify and improve the medical billing process for patients. According to a 2014 health care cost report by TransUnion, 54 percent of surveyed patients are either sometimes or always confused by their medical bills. That uncertainty can lead to delayed, incorrect or missed payments, so simplifying bills could help improve revenue cycle management.

One problem with the current billing system, as the HHS explains, is that patients often receive multiple bills from different sources written in industry jargon, making it difficult for them to understand what they need to pay. The TransUnion survey results suggest that better transparency would help patients manage costs and payments, with 80 percent responding that receiving pretreatment estimates would be helpful.

For more solutions on how to keep your revenue cycle efficient, contact Professional Medical Services today.