Simplee uses a personal financial management-style system with payment capabilities to help healthcare providers cut costs by making bill payments more straightforward.

Simplee launched three years ago, when co-founder and CEO Tomer Shoval's family got sick with the flu. While organizing his family's medical bills, "it hit me right then that this is really broken," he says.

Hospitals pay approximately $10 to solicit payment of bills through current practices, such as paper mail and phone calls, Shoval says.

"We are our own worst enemy in our processes," says Judi Ashline, director of patient financial services at El Camino Hospital, a Simplee client. The hospital, located in Mountain View, Calif. began using Simplee in October.

Within four months of adopting Simplee, the hospital saw online payment adoption jump from 2% to 20%, Shoval says.

"People want to manage bills online now," says Ashline.  Patients using the platform pay their bills faster, she says.

Because the hospital is working with another vendor it still has to send out paper statements, but Ashline anticipates ending the relationship with that vendor to save costs.

Already, the hospital takes fewer customer service calls from patients who can instead look at their Simplee accounts for answers. This allows the hospital to save money on salary — it recently had a customer service rep take leave and it didn't have to replace him because call volume had dropped, Ashline says.

Simplee also built technology that allows the hospital to create an estimated bill so patients can see the cost of any visit they are considering.

Patients add medical information and insurance plans to Simplee, which lets them manage their coverage, dental, vision and HSA accounts. When a hospital sends a bill, Simplee sends an email alert, which prompts users to review the bill before paying with a linked credit or debit card.

On average, 65% of Simplee's users, including those who do not use it for payment, use the system on an ongoing basis, says Shoval. And 85% of patients that have made a payment through Simplee continue to use it, he says.

"We want to be the transaction, because that provides the value," Shoval says. "We've got the secret sauce for the next generation of patient billing and paying."

Hospitals today face a growing number of bad debt write-offs from patients whose insurance policies require them to pay high deductibles or out-of-pocket costs, says Michael Trilli, senior healthcare analyst at Aite Group.

"This is spurring healthcare innovation to give patients more options in terms of channels to pay — at the point of service, online, and even mobile," Trilli says in an email.

 "Simplee is going right after the No. 1 issue regarding patient billing: lack of clarity and understanding," he says.

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