Healthcare Expansion Creates Need for HIPAA Compliant Payment Processors

As the healthcare industry continues to expand, the United States’ top payment processing firms are noticing an increased demand for HIPAA compliant payments. In 1960, healthcare accounted for just 5 percent of the nation’s overall GDP. Six decades later, that figure is creeping towards 20 percent.

Healthcare expansion has been caused by changing legislation, increasingly specialized treatments, and a generally aging population. More than one in five American businesses are connected to the healthcare industry to some degree, a figure that is significantly larger than those found in other developing countries.

Most businesses change their practices according to developing forces of supply and demand. But firms that manage the back-office components of the business cycle, such as payment processing, have been directly affected as well. In a nation where more than 68 percent of consumer-driven companies rely on outsourcing, these economic developments have not gone unnoticed.

Responding to a Rapidly Changing Economy

Accounting behemoth Deloitte describes the current healthcare care industry as one that “moves toward a financial model that is based on value rather volume.” In a recent report, the company also goes on to recognize that the industry is focusing more on virtual solutions, collaborations within the healthcare system, and an increased focus on personal wellness.

All of these trends are directly affected by the ongoing regulations created by HIPAA. HIPAA—which is an abbreviation for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996—set basic standards for how personal healthcare information ought to be stored and distributed. As a larger portion of American industry attaches itself to the healthcare industry, the need for universal HIPAA compliance will continue to grow.

It’s been more than two decades since HIPAA was formally signed into law by President Clinton. Since then, our world and our economy have become considerably more digital. According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, “The HIPAA Privacy Rule gives individuals important controls over whether and how their protected health information is used and disclosed for marketing purposes.”

HIPAA directly or indirectly affects seemingly all communications between healthcare providers and corresponding businesses. This includes communications between banks, insurance companies, and hospitals. Each of these types of businesses may be involved in billing and payment. Active payment processing firms have been paying close attention to these changes.

Preventing Payment Process Complications

Without HIPAA, it is possible that sensitive and personal information could be sold directly to internet marketers. Knowing that a patient has high blood pressure, for example, may influence Google or Facebook to tailor their marketing efforts and even sell this information to other firms.

Thus far in 2019, HIPAA has already issued and processed more than $6 million worth of fines. In 2018, that figure was more than $28.6 million, following a $20.4 million tally from the year before.

As the medical community continues to focus on being preventative, rather than simply being reactionary, medical accounting and billing firms have been developing a similar mindset. In order to prevent the possibility of a multi-million dollar fine—such as the $4.3 million fine leveled against The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center last January—medical companies are preemptively investing in better accounting and billing practices.

Streamlining and Improving Payment Processes

Most doctors believe that protecting personal medical information is the morally right thing to do. But even for those that are morally indifferent, further investing in HIPAA compliance simply makes sense on paper.

Globalization and digitization have both been driving forces behind the outsourced payment processing industry’s remarkable growth. As the industry continues to expand, focusing on specialized payment processes (such as HIPAA compliance) will likely be even more of an ongoing priority.

Many of these firms are not afraid to flaunt their commitment to HIPAA compliance. For example, payment processor Smart Paybles promises the company “understands and protects [sensitive health information] with the utmost care and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.”

Other companies are quickly following in SmartPayables’ footsteps. By the end of the year, the number of firms that have been approved and certified by HIPAA is expected to increase. These changes have come amidst a wave of payment processing security measures. Positive pay, specialized envelopes, and improved digital communication methods have all helped keep people’s medical information safe.

By the time 2019 comes to a close, the payment processing industry will likely expand. The medical industry will continue to expand, too. In response, the increased emphasis placed on HIPAA compliant payment processes makes perfect sense.

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Company Name: Smart Payables
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