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HHS Contest to Support Patient-Centered Medical Billing

The contest calls for thinkers in the healthcare space to streamline the medical billing process to serve more patient-centered needs.

- The medical billing process must become more intuitive in order to boost patient-centered care, says the Department of Health and Human Services.

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For those reasons, the agency has announced a competition calling on various thinkers in the healthcare space to develop a better medical billing process to better serve patient satisfaction. The competition was announced at the Health Datapalooza, according to an HHS press release.

The competition, entitled “A Bill You Can Understand” challenges health care organizations, digital health developers, and designers to create a bill that is “simpler, cleaner, and easier for patients to understand.”

All of this is a part of the greater goal for more robust patient-centered care.

“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,” said HHS’s Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.

“This challenge is part of HHS’ larger effort to put patients at the center of their own health care.”

According to the announcement, the healthcare industry faces a challenge in streamlining medical billing. All too often, patients receive multiple bills from various healthcare facilities, regularly for the same episode of care. These multiple bills make it difficult to understand what they as the patient owes, what health insurers owe, and other details pertaining to billing.

Acknowledging how patient-centered care is affected by this complicated billing process, HHS challenges industry stakeholders to create a more efficient and streamlined method for billing.

Competition winners will have their proposals tested by a total of six healthcare facilities, including Cambia Health Solutions, Geisinger Health System, INTEGRIS Health, The MetroHealth System, Providence Health & Services, and University of Utah Health Care.

These healthcare facilities will help HHS test winning solutions on a large and diverse patient set, helping to determine how approaches will affect different patient-centered care for different populations.

The competition will recognize two winners, the first of which being the proposal with the medical bill that is easiest to comprehend, and the second being the proposal that creates the best medical billing transformation. This transformation must acknowledge what the patient sees on the medical bill and how the patient interacts with it.

HHS, alongside its partners AARP and Mad*Pow, will be accepting submissions until August 10 of this year. The winners will be announced in September of this year, and will win $5,000 each.