Apr 9, 2020


4 min

Webinar recap: Blue Shield of California & CommonSpirit Health reimagine patient billing with OODA Health


OODA Health

OODA Health recently had the opportunity to host an informative webinar that brought together three executives representing different parts of the healthcare and technology ecosystem: Jeff Semenchuk, Chief Innovation Officer at Blue Shield of California, Steve Scharmann, VP of Revenue Cycle at CommonSpirit Health, and Seth Cohen, CEO and co-founder of OODA Health. Seth facilitated the conversation and shared our vision of eliminating the healthcare system from administrative waste via technology-enabled collaboration and real-time payments.                                             

Our shared vision

At the heart of the work we do at OODA is innovating in collaboration with payers and providers, two parties that have historically worked in silos. With our partners at Blue Shield of California and CommonSpirit, we have developed a common vision of eliminating the administrative waste that ultimately ensues after every patient encounter, generating unnecessary costs and complexity within the system. Through many passionate conversations with payers and providers across the country, we have learned that there is a strong desire to change the status quo. Payers, providers, and patients all believe strongly that there is a real opportunity to modernize the approach to payment administration, and we are excited to work together on win-win solutions.

OODAPay, a new model for patient payments

Last year, OODA and our partners jointly launched our first solution, OODAPay, a cloud-based patient payments platform, that takes an innovative approach to patient billing by re-envisioning the role of all parties in the system - payers, providers, and members. This webinar was an opportunity for us to share our results and learning from bringing this new collaborative model to market with the broader healthcare community. 

Three key takeaways from the webinar:
1. The patient experience dramatically improves with collaboration 

With Blue Shield of California and CommonSpirit, we’ve realized a 93 percent positive member satisfaction rate, which is monumental in healthcare, particularly for billing!  Equally exciting for our teams is the verbatim feedback we have heard from patients. Jeff shared some testimonials, such as “you are making this so painless and easy” and, “I typically am overwhelmed with all the medical bills, and this is helpful, and now we just get the one bill from the insurance company”. Pairing these testimonials with the increased collections rates with OODAPay, we are able to validate our hypothesis that by simplifying the experience for patients, we can also unlock financial value.

2. Patients better understand their bills when communication is streamlined

Steve shared how we have been able to simplify the patient experience by streamlining communications and offering one source of billing truth from the payer. He offered an example of how a great benefit of the collaboration is that it is now easier for patients “to understand that they have a $500 deductible from Blue Shield for their ER visit when they see their billing statement say the same amount.”

One of the biggest pain points in the healthcare system arises when patients receive multiple bills for one instance of care. Patients have expressed satisfaction with the clarity and simplicity of receiving a single bill rather than having multiple bills sent from numerous providers. Multiple bills are one of the biggest pain points in the healthcare system, and by sending patients only one bill, we alleviate a portion of the billing burden.

3. Innovation is critical, but must be realized without excessive abrasion to organizations

One question we have been asked frequently is what we are most proud of in our partnership. Jeff shared his perspective: “this innovation, everything from incremental to big disruptive stuff, it changes a lot of how the industry has worked historically.” We also recognize that disruption doesn’t happen easily and we have worked hard to build a solution that is scalable for both payers and providers. The result includes not altering any provider or payer workflows and building a foundation of trust across the board, so that we could share the necessary information with each other for success.

While not easy, we have succeeded in innovating and establishing trust, “I think it was really about the ability to go into this knowing that we’re doing this on behalf of our patients and members, on behalf of our business partners, to really make it better and to transform it, and that’s exactly what has happened,” said Jeff.

Webinar Q&A

During the webinar, we received questions on our ability to work with multiple providers in the same network. With OODAPay, we are able to set up the platform across multiple providers. For example, with CommonSpirit as a partner, we have set up OODAPay with the outsourced emergency department, the lab provider, the anesthesiologist, etc.  With each, we establish an arrangement that fits their needs, then remove any collections or communication activity through them and consolidate communications through the payer.

Another question was about the cash flow implication for payers. As Jeff noted in the webinar, some payers are underwriting the risk, and others are choosing to explore other options. A benefit of the OODAPay program is its flexibility regarding the source of funding. 

What is next

We are excited to continue our partnership with Blue Shield of California and CommonSpirit Health, as well as the work we are doing with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hill Physicians, and other leading payers and providers.

To learn more about our partnership, the work we’re doing with OODAPay, and more of our learning — watch our on-demand webinar.

Learn about how you can partner with OODA Health to improve your members’ experience and your revenue management.