In part 3 of neat start ups set to go places we look at one of the leading plays attempting to digitise all real time payments within the health ecosystem

If I told you just how much neat technology is coming down the pipe now, which is quite revolutionary compared to what you’ve had to put up with in the past, and which will almost certainly make your life a lot more pleasant in one way or another, you’d almost certainly smile to yourself – if you believed my spiel.

One which is marching towards you with a high degree of certainty, and is only slowed by the pace at which your Practice Management System can upgrade, and certain government payments providers get their act together (which they are) is the idea that you will be able to throw away your merchant terminal and still pay and claim for everything you do for your patient, whether it be MBS, NDIS, health insurance, third party compensatory or other payer based, right on the spot. That is going to make your patient much happier, and likely, your accountant in terms of cash flow and effort that she once had to go to in order to keep track of a spaghetti like milieu of after the fact, merchant terminal based, email, faxed and even paper cheque payment methods. You almost certainly are wasting a lot of money in this older payments world.

This is the vision of one of the new breed of healthcare payment startups called Medipass.

Medipass is backed by NAB, the folks that bring you that familiar HICAPS terminal and who have a lot of willpower and money to make this technology happen. And if you’ve noticed any of your friends just waving their mobiles at the coffee shop proprietor instead of pulling out their wallet and credit card, you are witness to the base of this digital payments technology.

Their technology focusses a lot on using modern technologies to streamline and digitise the various manual processes, including validation of invoices before they are sent to insurers, instant approval and next-day settlement to your bank account. For patient payments they use the patients mobile phone, avoiding the need for a bank terminal at all. Previously, much of these were harder issues to solve, particularly around security. But mobile phones have a lot of the functionality inbuilt  already because you have to be secured and identified now for so many mobile and app based services, not the least of which is your direct banking.

Healthcare is more complex than buying a coffee. But all the principles the banks and mobile entrepeneurs have now sorted out for the simpler mobile transactions are now applicable to almost all the bodies that pay for healthcare. Medicare, private health insurers, doctors putting gap fees on, allied health carers, the NDIS and all manner of organisations are mobilising digitally, and many are already mobilised.

Medipass is a complicated business, but with a simple vision. They facilitate claims and payments with the myriad of insurers, to get you paid as quickly as possible, with a minimum of fuss. For you and your patient.

Such a seamless system will also tack neatly onto new healthcare services that emerging, practicably telehealth and homecare services.

I could go on a lot more about it, but does anyone really want the gory detail? It’s highly technical!

Medipass currently offers the ability for a patient to pay directly and immediately, plus straight through claiming for private health insurance extras, overseas health insurance, online ecommerce payments for contact lenses (with specsavers) and Medicare – all without a terminal. Claiming for icare NSW and NDIS is coming soon, with many insurers from there.

As the group is backed by NAB, who own HICAPS, it has history and pedigree. But the size of the medical payments prize is big and they are soon to be joined in the race by the commonwealth bank with new competing system from whitecoat called Albert.

And both Westpac and ANZ have projects underway to expand their footprint in the sector.