Michael Sarajian on How Technology is Reshaping Revenue Cycle

This week I sat down with Michael Sarajian, CEO at Health Recovery Partners, to talk healthcare, technology and patient payments. Follow him on Twitter, @msarajian.

Health Recovery Partners was founded on the mission statement of “simplifying the patient financial responsibility process”. Their robust solution integrates patient and provider platforms with complementary vendor applications for a more positive and personalized patient payment experience.

1. What brought you to Healthcare Finance?

I’ve been an entrepreneur throughout my career, and with each company I’ve started, it always begins with changing market dynamics which require a new way of thinking. Beginning at Thomson, I was given the freedom to address unique problems and opportunities, including the company’s first Chinese joint venture. I am passionate about fixing an outdated process.

We know healthcare is different from other industries. Conflicting interests (of employers, payors, providers and the government) have created barriers causing patients to fear the cost of their care. The self-pay management process needs to be more fluid and adaptive. The ongoing shift in payor responsibility means a new set of needs for both patients and providers.

2. How is mobile technology reshaping Revenue Cycle Management?

Technologies that increase patient utilization and financial compliance with greater personalization, flexibility and security, and improved provider oversight will have the greatest impact. Here in the US, the shift to mobile has been slower than in other parts of the world, but mobile delivery networks will ultimately be the standard distribution platform for new technologies everywhere.

3. What are the most significant changes you’d still like to see in Healthcare and Revenue Cycle Management to drive progress? How can those at the executive level or otherwise in the industry make a difference in moving Healthcare Finance forward?

The technology revolution is here but adoption is lagging. Something I am always hearing from companies is that they are becoming more “patient centric”, but most of the cutting edge mobile, estimation, POS, etc. technologies target very specific components of the problem. To address the constantly changing financial needs of patients and their providers, a patient’s financial obligation must be viewed holistically and best-of-class technologies should be integrated to function as part of a seamless process. Until this happens, the flow of new technologies will only create more clutter and complicate healthcare’s transition to becoming truly patient centric.

4. Why does the debt collections industry need thought leadership for real change?

This is the first time I’ve heard ‘debt collections’ and ‘thought leadership’ used in the same sentence. To change this, the responsibility is on healthcare companies and providers to share new ideas about evaluating, adopting and implementing platforms ahead of other industry curves. Remember, healthcare faces unique challenges and often a large medical bill is unforeseen. Making patient collections smooth, efficient and a positive contributor to the image of the hospital or practice should be an industry-wide priority.

5. What problems is your company, Health Recovery Partners, Inc. looking to solve in healthcare –and- how is HRP’s approach unique?

At Health Recovery Partners, we believe patients should be given the option to design an affordable payment plan that is customized to their specific needs. We engage patients earlier in the cycle and have built a unique approach by integrating more vendor platforms. By partnering with more vendors, including payment processors, estimation and eligibility tools, mobile distribution platforms and billing and financing firms, we reduce both collective sales and IT complexity. Centralizing essential tools makes the process easier for facilities to manage and ensures a consistent and collective patient message. The result is that providers are able to monitor a more rewarding financial relationship with patients.