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Patient billing communications platform Inbox Health automates patient billing and patient payments through the use of artificial intelligence and facilitating communication between practices, patients, and billing teams.
It works by allowing patients to receive medical bills via their preferred communication channel, including text, email, and live chat, while also receiving additional insights into their charges, as well as the ability to ask questions about their bills. For medical practices, Inbox Health streamlines administrative tasks and makes billing more efficient, so they can focus on patient care, thereby improving patient satisfaction and reducing costs.
Earlier this week the company, which is used by more than 2,600 medical practices and more than 3.5 million patients, announced a $22.5 million Series B financing round led by Ten Coves Capital with participation from existing investors including Commerce Ventures, CT Innovations, Vertical Venture Partners, Healthy Ventures, and Fairview Capital, bringing its total capital raised to more than $43 million.
Blake Walker, co-founder and CEO of Inbox Health, spoke to VatorNews about the new round of funding, what problems people encounter when it comes to their medical bills, and what's next for the company.
VatorNews: What are some of the common problems patients run into when it comes to their medical bills? What effect does that have on both them and their physician?
Blake Walker: Medical bills are a source of stress and anxiety for many Americans. About half of adults say they have difficulty affording healthcare costs. To make the burden even more stressful, medical bills are notoriously difficult for patients to understand, and support options are extremely limited. Often, the only avenue for patients to get a billing inquiry resolved is with a phone call to the provider, where a patient can spend 30 minutes on hold for a question that takes 30 seconds to answer. Patients want the same empathy and clarity that they receive during an office visit throughout the billing process. Traditional healthcare bills provide little explanation surrounding insurance jargon and the services provided, leaving patients frustrated and hesitant to pay. When it comes to payment, many providers only accept paper checks, which is inconvenient in today’s digital era – for both patients and practices.
For providers, patient billing is an extension of patient care. A survey conducted by Inbox Health found 50% of practices have had a patient leave because of a billing issue.
With patients taking on a larger share of healthcare costs, they are more selective of the providers they choose. Today, about 30% of a practice’s revenue comes from patient responsibility. Patient-first billing must be top of mind for medical practices to remain viable long term.
VN: What does Inbox Health provide that alleviates those issues? What technologies are you using to make that more efficient?
BW: Inbox Health changes the way patients interact with their medical bills by providing clarity and empathetic support via their preferred communication channel throughout the payment process. We meet patients where they are. When patients have questions about their bill, they have access to digital support channels, including email, text, and live chat, where they often get a response in 30 seconds. Patients are able to have a clear and open dialogue with their providers, even after they leave the office. Patient-friendly statements arrive via email, text, or paper mail and clearly outline the cost of service, what insurance paid, and the amount owed, building confidence in the payment process. Then, payment is simple through a secure portal that accepts credit card, ACH, and Apple Pay. There is also an option to pay by mail or phone. To alleviate the financial burden for patients, providers can offer payment plans through the portal for those who need to pay over time.
For medical billing teams, Inbox Health’s technology automates the patient billing process. Digital support channels allow billing teams to provide a quick response to patients’ inquiries, providing peace of mind that someone is advocating for them. From start to finish, the patient billing process is more efficient. Billing cycles begin automatically after a claim is adjudicated by insurance, and reminders are triggered based on each patient’s communication preference. Without Inbox Health, manual statement review can take days, depending on the size of a practice. Inbox Health’s technology reduces the process to minutes. On average, Inbox Health reduces the amount of time billing teams spend on patient A/R by 47%.
VN: What kind of ROI do patient and physicians who use Inbox see? Do you have any hard numbers you can share with me?
BW: 93% of patients report having a positive payment experience with Inbox Health. Even more compelling, the majority of patients who receive a digital communication through our platform opt to continue to do so, with some practices seeing a digital adoption rate as high as 97%.
Providers boost efficiency, increase revenue, and reduce costs. On average, Inbox Health cuts the amount of time providers spend on patient billing in half and reduces phone call volume by 50%, freeing up hours of staff time per day. Billing teams have reported an 88% increase in collection speeds and a 75% total patient collection rate.
VN: How will you be using the funding to accelerate Inbox Health’s strategic growth? Does that mean hiring, product development, expansion?
BW: Inbox Health has served millions of patients to date. This funding will help us grow our sales team to further accelerate growth and will allow us to double our investment in our product to continue to evolve the patient experience. This will bring convenience, affordability, and transparency to patients and improve efficiency for providers.
VN: What’s next for Inbox Health? Where do you want to see the company in the next few years?
BW: We have an opportunity to use this funding to magnify our impact and reach millions more patients. Our goal is for Inbox Health to be used by half of all American households within 5 years. That’s the kind of impact we think this business can have in a short time frame.
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