Hamilton, N.J.—July 7, 2014—The U.S. healthcare system is arguably in the midst of the biggest challenges it ever faced. Heavily impacted by internal and external forces alike, the industry is in urgent need of dependable solutions that increase both efficiency and quality of care.
This drive for greater performance isn’t lost on Radiometer America, the U.S. division of Radiometer, a global provider of acute care testing equipment. With thousands of hospitals, clinics and labs nationwide using its blood gas analyzers and other diagnostic devices, Radiometer is continually looking for ways to improve workflows. In fact, its devotion to kaizen principles made it one of the world’s leading lean companies in the medical diagnostics sector.
In late 2013, Radiometer America set out on a path to transition from printed customer invoices to an electronic invoice and payment system. Dan Herchick, Radiometer America’s collections manager, instituted the move, understanding that e-billing is the wave of the future.
“Many of our accounts are as interested in improving efficiency as we are. Delivering invoices to the correct department, navigating multiple layers of approvals, executing payments—it’s a complex process for our customers,” he observed. “Electronic invoicing and payment are the best ways to be cost-effective, environmentally responsible and organizationally efficient.”
To help facilitate the move to e-billing, Herchick brought in Billtrust, a provider of outsourced billing services. In addition to a print billing and mailing network that spans eight distribution centers across North America, Billtrust offers a broad array of electronic billing and payment capabilities. Of particular interest to Herchick was Billtrust’s partnership with OB10, a global business-to-business (B2B) e-invoicing network.
“One of our largest account groups is a part of the federal government. Congress passed legislation requiring all healthcare vendors to process invoices through OB10 by the end of 2015,” Herchick stated. “By connecting with OB10 through Billtrust, we meet those requirements along with supporting other accounts that have similar needs.”
Billtrust’s AP Connect technology makes the connection to accounts payable (AP) systems like OB10, Ariba and AvidXchange possible. “AP Connect eliminates the hours each week needed to manually key data into the system,” said Herchick. “Now, invoice data is filtered, formatted and transmitted directly into OB10. It allows our customers to pay quicker through electronic means.”
Another key area for Radiometer America was providing its customers with a convenient online option for billing. They took advantage of Billtrust’s Invoice Central service, an online portal where their customers can receive, review and pay invoices across multiple vendors. Invoice Central gives Radiometer’s customers the ability to pay many of their vendors electronically, as well as download invoices into common accounting packages such as QuickBooks.
In mid-December 2013, Radiometer America began offering these new e-billing options to its accounts. “At every opportunity, we asked our customer contacts, ‘Do you have an e-invoicing system we can send to?’ Most of the time, the answer was ‘Yes,’” Herchick noted, adding that his company also worked with Billtrust to create marketing messages for use on their invoices do build awareness and usage of electronic billing.
Giving customers multiple e-billing alternatives was a good development for Radiometer America: More than 17 percent of the company’s accounts switched to electronic invoicing and payment in the first month; by May 2014, that number grew to over 51 percent. “Our goal for the first year was 60 percent. We expect to easily surpass that,” said Herchick.
Herchick observed, “With electronic delivery, everyone on the customer side has online access to invoices. We no longer wait for a paper invoice to make its way through the system. Approvals take less time—and there are fewer chances for mix-ups and delays. At every step of the process, efficiencies are captured. Considering how complex the payment process can be in the healthcare industry, the benefits of e-billing for us were huge.”