Transforming Patient Billing through Customized Outreach
Episode 487

Nathan Spoden, Founder and COO at MedPilot Inc

Transforming Patient Billing through Customized Outreach

Helping health care providers and medical billing companies reduce unnecessary cost and increase operation efficiency in the billing process

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Transforming Patient Billing through Customized Outreach

Episode 487

Recommended Book:

How to Win Friends & Influence People

Best Way to Contact Nathan:

LinkedIn

Company Website:

MedPilot

 

Transforming Patient Billing through Customized Outreach with Nathan Spoden, Founder and COO at MedPilot Inc transcript powered by Sonix—the best automated transcription service in 2020. Easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Transforming Patient Billing through Customized Outreach with Nathan Spoden, Founder and COO at MedPilot Inc was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast, where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today’s most successful and inspiring health care leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the podcast, Saul Marquez here. And today, I have the privilege of hosting Nathan Spoden. He’s the co-founder and chief operating officer at MedPilot. He has overseen building out MetPilot’s operations, product and business strategy. Prior to MedPilot, Nathan established his career working for a boutique consulting firm focused on restructuring distressed health care entities. He then spent time as the lead of products for practice management system built for the ambulatory surgery center space. His last role before starting med pilot involved working for Accenture and their revenue cycle management division, leading strategy and management consulting projects for some of the nation’s top health systems. Through his experience, Nathan developed an expertise in revenue cycle management, operations, technology implementation and product management. And that’s why we’re going to take a deep dive into how they’re transforming patient financial engagement and making it simpler, but also helping improve the accounts receivable and revenue cycle for health care providers. So it’s such a privilege to have you on the podcast today, Nate. Thanks for joining.

Nathan Spoden:
Yes. Thank you. Appreciate the introduction and appreciate being here today.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, for sure. So the trail of your career is sort of like so, so clear. And everybody always says, you know, everything’s so clear in hindsight. And so I love the richness of your career and how it led you to what it did, but what inspires you to work in health care?

Nathan Spoden:
I really appreciate that. Absolutely. And I think just the experiences in my career have sort of led me to where I am today. And it sort of gives me this mentality that I have. But what I feel is, you know, through the learnings that healthcare is just really behind the times from a technology perspective. I think a lot of people don’t realize that, but there’s also just a lot of waste in the industry. And so through my career as I’ve helped these health care providers solve these problems, I really just developed a passion for wanting to be part of like just a broader change in the industry. And obviously, technology is one of the most realistic ways to create that impact or an impact, but not only to help improve the operations of healthcare providers, but also help improve that patient experience, which is just a really hot topic. And on top of it being a hot topic, healthcare is really delicate, the delicate topic for a lot of people that have to deal with it. And, you know, just when you have to deal with the industry and dealing with the experience, and going to see a health care provider and dealing with day to day health care problems just improving. The overall experience for that is something that just inspires me on a daily basis.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. Yeah. It’s such a such a great, great place to tackle those things that keep us going. And so today MedPilot, you know, be great to learn a little bit more about it. So let us know what makes what you guys do different and how are you adding value to the health care ecosystem?

Nathan Spoden:
Yeah. That’s a great question. And really what it comes down to is we help health care providers and medical billing companies alike just reduce unnecessary costs and increase operational efficiency in the patient’s billing process. So, you know, like you mentioned, you know, main feature is just reducing the overall receivables. But with that, we’re also just helping create a better financial experience that’s leading to increased payments for these pay for these providers. And then also just great patient satisfaction throughout the process. So that in turn is going to lead to both repeat customers and increase cash flow for the providers that we do business with. But with that, it’s really the artificial intelligence in our product and our technology in and of itself that differentiates us in the market. Our A.I. is sort of unique in that it tracks a patient’s behavior to determine the best time forme and tone of communication to use to get that patient to either pay the bill or re-engage us. And I think as many people have experience, people are just going to pay. You know, there’s always a question or dispute. People have a hard time understanding their bills. So that’s really where our technology comes into play and our workflow tool to deal with these one off issues or concerns or questions that patients have. So whether it be someone providing secondary insurance or requesting a refund or an itemized bill or disputing a bill for, you know, coding related reasons, regardless of what it is or workflow tool helps automate a lot of the manual processes that it takes to deal with those issues for one. And then our CRM in and of itself and the communication tool that we felt CRM being our customer relationship management platform just gives providers this end end solution to manage the entire patient billing process versus just a small piece of it, which is what a lot of our competitors do in the market. There’s one off CRM pools out there that try to swap health care next year name and try to play in that space. But the solution isn’t designed for health care. You know, it’s not going to be functional. And then again, there’s even engagement vendors that focus on the financial side, but just solving for one piece of it and trying to get people to pay. That’s only a portion then really a small portion of the overall process that you have to manage. So that’ll puzzle together, end to end technology and service that we offer really helps differentiate us and really actually solve for the problem that’s out there.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, it’s really interesting. So the A.I. will help you frame these follow ups with patients.

Nathan Spoden:
Correct. Correct. And it’s really getting smarter over time. So ultimately, automatically building your preferences and understanding, you know, the best time to engage you and you know the ways that you’re used to being engage right.. So if you prefer text messaging and you’re more likely to answer a text message, that’s how we want to communicate with you. Because we’re reducing costs for the provider and sending paper statements which are 65 to 70 cents a pop, where text messages a fraction of a cent. So, you know, that goes back to the point of creating operational efficiency and reducing unnecessary waste where we really live in a digital world today. And I think health care providers are just starting to realize they have to figure out how they engage people differently and more effectively, not only on the financial side, but just also on the clinical side as well.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that’s interesting. So let’s dive into this a little bit further, Nate. We’ve got a variety of different patients. You got patients with insurance that are in network, patients with insurance that are out of network. And then you have patients that don’t have insurance. Tell us how this works and how, what are the typical scenarios that people struggle with and how you guys are filling in the gaps?

Nathan Spoden:
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, I think it’s it’s a great question, because a lot of people don’t realize, you know, they think that you have insurance and there’s not always a patient responsibility. But in many cases, there is. And in some cases, it’s it’s not just due to the fact that there’s a patient liability, but it can be that something was building correctly. So we really deal with a lot of one off issues, but ultimately we’re going to treat someone who’s a true self paced patient and doesn’t have insurance different than, you know, someone who has insurance where there could be issues or there might be a question that arises from them reviewing their bill or, you know, diving into a conversation with them. But ultimately, what we’re ultimately providing is just a better solution overall that’s going to give them a means of not only communicating better with us, but also just dealing with those one off issues. So, for example, whether it’s them providing secondary insurance because only their primary was billed or maybe the primary that was billed wasn’t the correct primary because the you know, at the point of service, they didn’t get that updated information. So we could obtain that, whether that’s through someone standing on an insurance card or taking a picture of it and sending it to us and then us automating the workflow in the back and getting that back into the practice management system. Or maybe it’s just a complaint where we have to work with the billing company to determine if their claim was actually coded correctly because maybe something was determined, patient responsible. That shouldn’t have been. But then lastly, I think you know what a lot of health care providers are facing and a lot of reason why patients are more and more involved now than ever is the fact that ultimately there’s high the high deductible health plans that exist today are much higher than ever before. So 2020 is probably going to be the biggest year for patient responsibility, meaning patients are now one of the largest, if not thee largest payer in health care providers payer. So that’s why all these issues that providers are having to deal with is stemming to more inbound communication, more questions, more concern. And that’s where our tools from a communication perspective and our workflow offering help alleviate a lot of those issues.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that’s interesting issues with the insurance, maybe not taken well upfront, incorrect coding. I mean, there’s a lot of different things that can happen. And so who’s doing this? You guys have a team that that takes these calls or. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Nathan Spoden:
Yeah. So ultimately we offer sort of two solutions. So we have just a software that we sell to health care providers to fully automated. And what that means is they would handle any inbound calls or inbound communication outside of the automated responses that our technology provides. But we also have a full service team. So we we offer real business process outsourcing to these health care providers because in many cases they can’t deal with the influx of inbound communication that comes in. So that’s where our team based in Cleveland, Ohio, can actually be that outsource call center function and then to support that team. We have patient billing team that also deals with managing, you know, any any disputes that come through, managing, sending out those paper statements that the provider still wants to do that, dealing with any ultimate accounts that need to be converted to collections. But really, again, managing the end and process. So to be clear, you know, if we’re just giving software, we’re just enhancing their operating model, if we’re doing a full service offering. We have the ability to sign that paper statement that our phone number on the statement are online, though, pay link and then do that proactive digital communication that we talked about, the text messages, the phone calls, the emails. And then after the fact, handle any disputes, handle payment posting. Handle working on the account all the way to the point, if the health care provider wanted to use that back, collect or write it all.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Very cool. So there’s options Right. for people looking to engage. You’re able to give them the software or you’re able to just completely help them outsource.

Nathan Spoden:
Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. It’s great because these health care providers a lot of times are outsourcing to a medical billing company and medical billing companies they face the same problem, whether it’s them dealing it and dealing with it internally or, you know, pushing some of the responsibility back on the client. We’re helping support them, whether it’s their internal operations or their their end clients operation.

Saul Marquez:
Wow. You guys get pretty deep in this.

Nathan Spoden:
Yes, we definitely get our hands dirty.

Saul Marquez:
So tell me a story, man. I mean, like, what’s an example of a client that you’ve been able to help? And tell me that before and after.

Nathan Spoden:
Yeah. So we worked with several clients, was great as a really national at this point. And we worked with a multitude of different specialties. You know, we mainly focus on the ambulatory market, but we have physician enterprise clients that are associated with a large health system. And with that, one good example would be, you know, we had this five location urgent care chain in Connecticut that we really helped just improve their collections, reduce the time that it took them to collect, reduce their costs, just reducing paper statement costs, phone calls and then just getting productivity. And then lastly, just having like great patient satisfaction. So for that client, I think is roughly like a 17 percent increase in collections. We reduce the time it took to collect by roughly 46 percent from their patient population. And then overall satisfaction was that roughly ninety seven percent for them. So great patient experience while we’re managing this whole process.

Saul Marquez:
That’s awesome, man. So mainly focused on ambulatory. These are oftentimes I mean, there’s a large ambulatory chains, but oftentimes there’s one or two in an ownership model. And it’s it’s harder to get those operational efficiencies. I can see how you guys are tackling an area that really needs help.

Nathan Spoden:
Yeah. Agreed. And that’s one of the reasons that these health care providers, we’re seeing a lot of them outsource the medical billing companies because these medical billing companies are experts. They are. And they have the team that allows them to deliver quality results better than the average provider can do. So with that, we’re sort of in turn the experts around patient billing. We know how to do it. The most cost effective, we have the technology to support it. And then we really have the team that backs up. That is the knowledge base behind everything we’re doing and ensures that we are delivering success to these to these clients.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. So as you guys has been working on on the business and working with customers, tell me about one of the biggest setbacks you’ve had and and what you learned from that.

Nathan Spoden:
Yeah. So we’ve had a lot of success with clients, but I think one of our biggest setbacks was we landed a pretty big deal when we first launched our company. And, you know, with that, you’re trying to figure out how to start to make you have the right resources and get everything in place to go live. So we ramped up pretty quickly and we realized pretty soon that the client wasn’t moving as fast as we’d like them to go with that. You had a little more resources than we needed to. And, you know, it all worked itself out at the end. But ultimately, we’ve just sort of taken a better approach and been a little bit more strategic with regard to onboarding new clients. You know, we were always anticipating someone who going to go live very quickly and roll out all of their locations or their entire client base to us. But, you know, in reality, we’re seeing something happen a little little less quickly than that. And we just have to make sure we’re appropriately staff and not, you know, over anticipating things as we as a skill.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that’s challenging, you know. And so I guess it’s about asking the right questions rather than assuming and that type of situation, is it like, hey, all right, great. We’re gonna do business with you. Tell us the cadence and putting it on contract or what are your thoughts there? Like what is your learning and how do you prevent four for that mistake again?

Nathan Spoden:
Yeah, part of it is it’s good project management. I think there’s a little hesitation with any client base of rolling anything out at scale. And part of it is the internal change management that they have to deal with. Right. of it is the internal project management that they have to create to sort of own the rollout. But it’s really, you know, just being good project managers ourselves and trying to create as much transparency initially as possible. So building out that rollout schedule and trying to define the entire client list or location list that we’re going to be rolling out to establishing realistic timelines and then just creating continuous track ends to where we’re following through on our own, but ensuring that also the client is following through on their end. So it’s really creating ownership both within our organization internally and within our clients.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Great learning and a great way to to frame it for the listeners. Just thinking through many who are starting their own business in healthcare. There are many who are already deep into it or starting a new line. Something to think about there. Appreciate you sharing that name. So what are you most excited about today?

Nathan Spoden:
We’ve just built a really great foundation for a company and I think that in and of itself. But with that, you know, we’ve created some really great partners for health care providers and medical billing companies alike. Our team internally, we’ve we’ve just got a great structure in place to really scale offered. So, you know, whether it be our call center team or a patient billing team, our operations team or sales team. You know, our development team, everyone is really at the core of our business. Like driving success in a different way. And then last year, I would just say, like our growth, we’ve seen great growth over the last two years and we’re expecting continued growth into 2020 and with the partnerships we’ve already signed rolling out with. And but also, you know, several new building companies and health care clients that are continuing their expansion going in the new year. And yeah, it’s it’s been great. But I think we’re just ready to capitalize on on this foundation that we put in place and we’re excited for where we are.

Saul Marquez:
That’s awesome, man. Well, congratulations on the work that you guys have done and continue to do. It’s about the patient experience. More and more of those dollars are are being paid by consumers, as Nathan shared. We all have a bigger burden and making sure that there’s clarity in the processes is going to ensure success overall. So love the work that Nathan and his team are doing. You guys want to check them out there at medpilot.com. They got some pretty cool stuff going on. Great solutions. So what I want to do now is, is is ask what your favorite book is?

Nathan Spoden:
Tough question, tough question.I think one of the ones that I read that was pretty inspirational and just one that I continue to go back to is just How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie. It’s just a book that it’s almost like a guide to life in some respect. And it’s good to dive back into every so often and keep getting inspired from.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Yeah, that’s a classic, man. That’s a classic, folks. If you haven’t read that one, it’s a really good one. I definitely would recommend that too. It’s the basics of just treating people Right. made. I mean that that’s kind of like what it boils down to.

Nathan Spoden:
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And definitely helps a business. I think everyone has their own skills. And I think the point of reading and just continuing, you expand your knowledge base and growing as a person. I think it’s a great it’s a great reference point. But also something that’s important to doing business is just justifying what skills, you know, you’re good at and you know, whether you’re bringing the team to support those skills that you’re not or just continue to expand your own personal knowledge to help continue to build this office. It’s so important.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. So there you have it, folks. How to win friends and influence people for the entire transcript and show note. You know where to go. Just go to outcomesrocket.health and in the search bar type in medpilot and you’ll see my interview with Nate and all the details there. So, Nate, leave us with the closing thought and the best place for the listeners to get in touch with you if they have questions or they want to explore the solution further.

Nathan Spoden:
Yeah, I think for us, it’s it’s really, you know, a lot of patients deal with these problems daily. And I would say just don’t be afraid to speak up. You know, we’re all patients at one point or another and know you’re dealing with problems with your health care provider. Sometimes some providers know other solutions like us out there. So don’t be afraid to represent us to them. And you know, you can find us that medpilot.com or direct them there. And we appreciate it.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. Nate, hey, appreciate you guys sharing your insights and definitely wishing you guys the best. Looking forward to staying in touch.

Nathan Spoden:
Thank you, sir. Really appreciate your time. Thanks so much for having me today.

Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

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