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How Omni-Channel Payments Help Healthcare Organizations Through the Pandemic

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March 31, 2020

Healthcare organizations are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beyond their core mission of providing exceptional patient care, healthcare organizations must also ensure the smooth operation of their business operations and supply chains. Payments processing is among the core business functions at risk of being disrupted by the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. 

Fifty-four percent of finance leaders say the pandemic has the potential for “significant” impact to their businesses. That’s according to a COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC). PwC interviewed finance leaders in the United States and Mexico. All the finance leaders surveyed by PwC said their business already is experiencing some impact as a result of the pandemic.    

How Omni-Channel Payment Solutions Ensure Business Continuity

Omni-channel payment solutions help healthcare organizations minimize disruptions to their business operations, supply chains and people. Here’s how omni-channel solutions do it:

Work from Home Support

Thirty-four percent of the finance leaders surveyed by PwC say the impact of the pandemic has been limited to specific regions, but they are monitoring developments. In many cities, staff cannot get into the office due to government restrictions, quarantine or illness. An omni-channel payment solution allows healthcare organizations to disburse funds via ACH or card simply by uploading a single payment file. Authorized users can upload an approved-payment file from wherever they are. Payments are reconciled in real-time. And any information for tax reporting is automatically tracked and generated.

Business Continuity

In this climate, employees and contractors want to know they will be paid. But there’s no telling when staff for some healthcare organizations can return to the office to cut checks. Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions and reloadable debit cards help ensure that employees and contractors get paid when payroll staff are working remotely. Financial assistance also can be sent to employees through instant payments.

Opportunities to Free Up Cash

Fifty-eight percent of the finance leaders surveyed by PwC expect a decrease in their company’s revenues and/or profits this year. An omni-channel payment solution can help lessen the blow for healthcare organizations by freeing up cash on existing revenues. Rebates can be earned based on the amount of spend paid for with a virtual card.

When you consider that disbursements for supplies, utilities and most other expenses can be made with a card, a healthcare organization could potentially earn sizeable rebates from cards – potentially millions of dollars.

 

Healthcare organizations can free up more cash by paying suppliers via ACH+ transactions or Real-Time Payments (RTPs).

 

Less Change of Supply Chain Disruption

Only 30 percent of the finance leaders surveyed by PwC are considering supply chain changes. But heading off supply chain disruptions will require healthcare organizations to help their key suppliers navigate the economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. An omni-channel payment solution accomplishes this by accelerating payments to suppliers (in some cases, allowing for instant payment), providing real-time visibility into the status of payments for better cash management, and delivering the rich remittance details for effortless application of electronic payments.

Real-time Visibility

During this uncertain time, healthcare organizations will need to carefully manage their cash and spending. Forty-eight percent of finance leaders surveyed by PwC expect to change disclosures as a result of the pandemic. Omni-channel payment solutions provide healthcare organizations with real-time visibility across the payment lifecycle, from submission through reconciliation, with all payments on a single platform. And readily accessible reports enable users to monitor cash flow and corporate spending.

Easy Deployment and Maintenance

Combating COVID-19 requires healthcare organizations to focus their resources on patient care. And the uncertain economic future makes it more important that healthcare organizations prioritize cost-effective solutions. While most finance leaders surveyed by PwC are optimistic about a resolution to the spread of the coronavirus, businesses would likely pullback on long-term investment spending if conditions were to deteriorate.

The open APIs built into leading omni-channel payment solutions enable them to be deployed fast, and easily integrated with legacy practice management systems or other applications. Omni-channel platforms also eliminate the burden of managing multiple systems for disbursing funds via different payment methods.

Ironclad Security

There is no need for healthcare organizations to forego their security and data protection standards because employees are working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Administrators of an omni-channel payment solution can restrict access to payment information and activities, mitigating the risk of fraud and safeguarding sensitive information.

The funding accounts for virtual card transactions also can be kept confidential. And leading integrated payables solutions undergo strict periodic audits. Virtual cards also are plastic-less, meaning there is no physical card that can become lost or stolen. What’s more, virtual card numbers can only be used once, recipients only receive 10 of the 16 digits of a virtual card, and each transaction can be restricted by recipient, amount and time period.

Lower Overhead

Healthcare organizations will undoubtedly reign in spending as a result of any economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Omni-channel payment solutions reduce the cost of making check payments, as well as the number of check payments made.

Customer Service

Omni-channel payment platforms enable healthcare organizations to make patient refunds using any electronic payment method, even if staff cannot get into the office.

With an omni-channel payment solution, healthcare organizations can automate disbursements to help minimize impact of the pandemic on their business operations, supply chains and people.

Accelerating Cash Flow During the COVID-19 Pandemic

But it’s not just healthcare disbursements that can benefit from an omni-channel payment solution.

The pandemic will likely impact cash flows. An omni-channel payment solution may be able to help accelerate cash flow by eliminating friction in a healthcare organization’s receivables lifecycle:

  • Enhanced cash flow: Real-time posting of electronic payments made by consumers can significantly accelerate funds availability while reducing the amount of un-applied funds.
  • Improved productivity: Automating the receipt, processing, settlement and reconciliation of consumer payments and acquirer fees can save accounts receivable staff a tremendous amount of time. Omni-channel payment solutions also can determine chargebacks.
  • Accelerated cycle times: Time is money. Omni-channel payment solutions eliminate posting delays by providing robust workflow capabilities such as real-time instant messaging to the customer, automatic routing of funds, splitting of funds and routing of attachments.
  • Support for any payment type: Offering customers the flexibility to make electronic payments via their preferred electronic method – including Real-Time Payments (RTP) – reduces the chances of receiving paper checks that might sit in a mail-room until staff return.
  • Guaranteed funds: Once an RTP transaction has been approved by a consumer, those funds are guaranteed, and cannot be drawn back, as in the case of traditional ACH transactions.

Each of these benefits of an omni-channel payment solution is compelling. Together, they provide healthcare organizations with the cash flow they need to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Preparing for a Brighter Future

Ninety percent of CFOs and finance leaders surveyed by PwC are optimistic that their business can return to normal operations in less than three months if the COVID-19 pandemic were to end soon.

An omni-channel payment solution can help healthcare organizations through the pandemic while equipping them with the tools they need for the future, however it unfolds. Want to learn more?

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