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St John of God Health Care first health care provider to implement digital informed financial consent and payments process for patients

Read this article in Pulse+IT.

St John of God Health Care is the first hospital group in Australia to implement EpiSoft’s newest version of a National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) compliant online Informed Financial Consent (IFC) and payments process for patients.

This is the latest feature addition to EpiSoft’s ‘epi-me’ online patient admissions portal.

The IFC and payments process is also now integrated with St John of God Health Care’s web based Patient Administration System (webPAS).

St John of God Health Care’s transition from its former platform, which was only available at three hospitals, to EpiSoft’s off-the-shelf epi-me platformhas enabled online admissions to be expanded to nearly all of its 17 hospitals. This has resulted in less administrative overhead and enabled a centralised patient admissions support team for the organisation.

Whilst epi-me has provided an online IFC module to the market for several years, the launch of the online payments capability and webPAS integration is a significant efficiency improvement for hospitals. Staff can continue to prepare the patient’s estimate of fees from within webPAS, and it is automatically exported to epi-me where it is presented alongside the National Claim Form (HC21) that is required for a private health fund claim. Following the capture of an online IFC the patient can elect to securely pay any out of hospital pocket costs, including credit card pre authorisation for any incidentals they might incur during their admission. The electronically signed documents and payment receipt are then returned to webPAS to automatically update the patient’s account as paid.

St John of God Health Care Patient Admission Manager Debbie Hoddy said:

“Enabling patients to complete their Informed Financial Consent, National Claim Form and make payments via the portal, streamlines the admission process for them and for our admissions team.

This has the flow-on benefit for caregivers who are supporting patients at their time of admissions to reduce the number of administrative processes they need to follow, so they can focus more on the needs of the patient.

The uptake from patients has been excellent, with more than 10,000 patients completing their admission forms via the portal during September 2022.”

The online IFC and payments process means patients receive their estimate of fees earlier and conveniently on their preferred device, which provides a more timely and consumer-friendly experience for patients, allowing them to discuss any concerns before they arrive at hospital.

Looking ahead, EpiSoft now plans to extend its online payments capability to its other customers and to other types of out-of-pocket costs that patients incur during their hospital stay. “Facilitating patient online payments is a significant advancement for our hospital customers and their patients. We are delighted to have implemented this solution successfully with St John of God Health Care and we now expect to switch on the module for a number of our other epi-me customers shortly now that we have proven it in a production environment.

As the ‘digital front door’ of the hospital, epi-me is also well-placed to streamline other payments that occur during the patient’s stay and post-discharge. We are in active discussions with our payment partners to deliver innovative solutions for these gaps in our functionality.” said EpiSoft CEO, Jenny O’Neill. epi-me was first launched back in 2011 with the Sydney Adventist Hospital. The company has an impressive 100% customer retention rate for epi-me. As well as being integrated to several of the most popular Patient Administration Systems, epi-me has integrated to numerous Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) including EpiSoft’s own. EpiSoft’s EMR features custom workflows for oncology, infusion management, hepatitis, IBD, addiction disorders and mental health.