HHS announces winners of challenge to improve the medical bill for patients
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the winners of the HHS "A Bill You Can Understand" challenge, a design and innovation challenge to solicit new approaches and draw national attention to a common complaint with the health care system: that medical billing is a source of confusion for patients and families. HHS received submissions from health care organizations, technology companies, and design agencies, and today we are unveiling the two winning designs, which will be further evaluated for testing or implementation in six health care organizations across the country that are working to improve the patient billing experience.
“One of our priorities is to put patients at the center of their own health care,” said Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “Helping Americans understand their medical bills empowers them to take more control of their health, and that’s a step in the right direction for our entire health care system.”
After receiving more than 80 submissions, the challenge awarded two prizes for: 1) the bill that is easiest to understand; and 2) the design that best improves the overall approach to the medical billing system, focusing on what the patient sees and does throughout the process.
Prize 1 was awarded to RadNet of Los Angeles, CA. RadNet’s design aims to make the bill as concise as possible. RadNet provides adaptable bills that line up with the patient’s current experience, including options for uninsured patients and for patients who are past due on payments. Their use of color segments make it easy for patients to locate and read specific information, and the bill includes a clear presentation of payment due, payment options, and insurance details. Additionally, plain language explanations put charges in context.
Prize 2 was awarded to Sequence of San Francisco, CA. Sequence developed “Clarify,” a new online- and mobile-based service that extends a retail model of consumer behavior to medical billing. “Clarify” presents health care services in new ways that allow people to search, browse, weigh their options, compare prices, and decide how they will pay. By modernizing, automating, and personalizing the transactional aspect of health care services, “Clarify” could enable better relationships among consumers, providers, and payers.
The “A Bill You Can Understand” challenge was sponsored by AARP and administered by the design agency Mad*Pow. As part of the challenge, the following organizations have committed to work with the developers on their winning billing solutions to consider testing or implementing for the patients they serve:
Cambia Health Solutions (Portland, OR)
Geisinger Health System (Danville, PA)
INTEGRIS Health (Oklahoma City, OK)
The MetroHealth System (Cleveland, OH)
Providence Health & Services (Seattle, WA)
University of Utah Health Care (Salt Lake City, UT)