My Day at the InstaMed User Conference 2018

On a chilly April morning in Philadelphia I made my way through orange cones, construction and a lot of extra morning rush hour traffic to the iconic Rittenhouse Square. As the bus ahead of me pulled away and the exhaust cleared there it was glinting in the sun, the Warwick Hotel, the site of the 2018 InstaMed User Conference. I eased my car up to the curb for complimentary valet parking, entered the lobby where I was happily welcomed by a few lovely InstaMed employees and directed to the Mezzanine floor where I would find an exquisitely catered breakfast and a bustle of attendees fueling up for an agenda packed with everything and anything around the topic of healthcare payments.

Keynote Speaker – Steve Wozniak
After indulging in an absolutely delicious breakfast and satisfying cup of coffee, I set off for the ballroom to hear Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (@stevewoz) impart some words of wisdom about life and the future of technology. “Technology should save us from the daily drudge,” Wozniak proclaimed when asked by VP of Marketing, Deirdre Ruttle what he thought about technology’s role in healthcare. Wozniak warned of getting caught up with what we think people want and advised innovators to, “design a product for yourself – that’s the best.” Wozniak went on to say that he always follows what is in his heart, his passion and that is what has led to his success in life. Finally, when asked about big companies like Walmart, Amazon and even Apple looking to enter the healthcare industry Wozniak seemed wary because these corporations aren’t “experts in healthcare.” However, since many have made the move and the writing seems to be on the wall, Wozniak’s hope is that “one good company that cares about people” does it and of course for him that company is Apple.

Jeff Lin, InstaMed’s Senior VP of Product
After listening to an endearing and inspiring Steve Wozniak kick off the conference, it was time for a stretch and a quick break. On my way to refuel with a Tastykake, a Philly specialty, and another cup of coffee I ran in to none other than Jeff Lin, InstaMed’s Senior VP of Product and host of one of HealthcareNOW Radio’s new shows, Payment Matters. I introduced myself and after a brief chat about how fun it is to host Payment Matters we took a selfie and I was on my way. To hear more from Jeff and his guests check out our SoundCloud Playlist or tune in to HealthcareNOW Radio.

Three Takeaways
For the rest of the morning and into the afternoon I followed the green track of the conference agenda which consisted of information sessions geared toward Healthcare Practices and Organizations. The theme of the day seemed to be patient engagement and all of its forms. Here are a few insights I had while listening to presentations from various managers, VPs, CEOs and even a plastic surgeon, with whom I would not only trust my makeover but my personal information as well.

  • Provide Options – Katie Buzard, Training Manager at Healthcare Administrative Partners, believes “We need to listen to what patients want.” When it comes to outstanding payments, the easier a company makes it to pay a bill the more likely the patient is to pay it. Patients want convenience and they want to understand exactly what they are paying and why. According to Buzard, “Honesty is the best policy,” and should always be followed when interacting with patients about their obligations.
  • Be patient with patients – When interacting with patients about payments it is best to leave no stone unturned and be sure they understand everything completely. Part of patient engagement is educating them and explaining all the ins and outs of their billing statements in plain language. Polina Goncharova, VP of Finance at obility, spoke to the audience in Russian to demonstrate how patients may feel like you are “speaking another language.” Goncharova challenges attendees to break through the “language barrier” and explain things using common terminology.
  • Be Transparent – There should be no secrets when it comes to healthcare services. It is in both the provider’s and the patient’s best interest to be upfront about costs and payment. Dr. Jonathan Kaplan, founder and CEO of BuildMyBod Health thinks all practices and providers should provide pricing for procedures, “When you advertise that you have pricing on your website everyone comes running!” Not only is it good for your practice’s reputation, it’s also good for business. According to Dr. Kaplan’s research, “Price aware patients were 41% more likely to book a procedure than non-price-aware patients.”

About the InstMed User Conference
The InstaMed User Conference 2018 gives providers, payers, consumers and partners the opportunity to discuss the latest healthcare payments trends, learn from forward-thinking experts, network with key industry stakeholders, get a first-look at payment innovations and earn CE credits from HIMSS and HFMA! Plus, attendees enjoy a VIP experience that delivers high-end fun at an incredible value.