Tech startup iVinci Health didn't set out to help patients understand bills coming from St. Luke's Health System.
It set out to help St. Luke's understand what bills were likely to get paid by patients.
The two organizations, both based in Boise, Idaho, started working together in 2013. IVinci founder Kent Ivanoff was selling his expertise in predicting who would pay how much and when.
It was an analytics system based, in part, on what Ivanoff learned earlier in his career at credit card company Capital One Financial Corp.
"We started by building a business tool to help hospitals understand payment dynamics," Ivanoff said.
What St. Luke's quickly learned from the startup's analytics led iVinci to a whole new business and a new way of billing for the health system.
iVinci's business intelligence showed patients wanted to go online and see their statement and pay their bill like they did with other accounts. It also showed they were more likely to pay if they could easily set up an installment payment plan.
Trouble was, St. Luke's didn't have such a system. "We didn't have a digital platform," said Michael Rawdan, St. Luke's senior director of revenue cycle. "IVinci said they thought they could create one."
So iVinci built an online payment portal called VisitPay.
Before teaming up with iVinci, St. Luke's, like pretty much every other health system, didn't know much about the link between ease of payment and its own bottom line. St. Luke's learned it could save a lot on collections by installing a system for paying bills that was easier for the consumer.
"The poorer the experience, the more expensive it is for the organization—on the order of three to four times more expensive—just the cost of servicing the account," Rawdan said.
The model for how iVinci built out the VisitPay system was collaborative, working with St. Luke's and allowing the system to test what worked and what didn't. IVinci also started working with other provider clients to customize its core platform. The health systems drove much of what went into the product based on their individual needs.