This summer, PYMNTS.com reported on numerous topics, industries and trends in the B2B world. Some were more common than others, which is why this column dissects what happened in healthcare payments, innovations in fleet management and how eInvoicing is spreading through all types of businesses and entities.
One of the biggest debates in healthcare is the reimbursement method for providers. Are bundled health care payments the best option, or should the industry adopt a pay-for-performance model? Bundled health care payments slowly transformed from a hot buzzword into a realistic concept that some providers began to adopt. Moreover, some organizations worked to find the best ways to integrate that payment option into daily operations. Aver Informatics received $8.5 million in Series A funding. The company sells software that it packages into “episodic bundles,” which are designed to simplify the payment process.
However, value-based purchasing is designed to reward health care providers for meeting various performance measures for quality and efficiency. KPMG surveyed representatives from hospitals, physician practices, health plans and pharmaceutical companies to see what they thought about the practice.
In addition to types of payment, health care facilities looked into online options. An InstaMed survey showed that 76 percent of providers said that it took more than one month to collect from a patient, and suggested that electronic options could simplify the process. Health care billing and payment firm Navicure launched its own payment platform in an effort to reduce bad debt and the costs associated with patient collections.
B2B card issuer and processor WEX Inc. acquired Evolution1 and dove head first into health care payments, hoping to make the right technology accessible to third-party administrators, physicians’ offices, insurers and others in the health care payments process.
Even with positive movement, some confusion was found to still exist. For example, the Sunshine Act promised to shed light in terms of payments, hoping to clarify what the money from device makers and pharmaceutical companies to doctors and hospitals was doing. But things did not go as planned.
Acquisitions and partnerships were the name of the game this summer for fleet management firms. For example, Comdata was acquired by FleetCor in a deal valued at $3.45 billion. The move is expected to give Fleetcor entry into new B2B segments, including health care and virtual cards.
FleetCor also had an epic back and forth battle with WEX, Inc. PYMNTS.com compared the two in our Versus feature.
The acquisition list continues, as Verizon Networkfleet and J.J. Keller teamed up to create a GPS-enabled fleet management device for regional and longhaul trucking. Element Financial bought PHH Fleet Management in an effort to sharpen the organization’s overall focus, enhance its financial flexibility, and help it deliver greater shareholder value. Additionally, Micronet acquired the mobile resource management/fleet management division of Beijer Electronics.
Furthermore, Volvo and Telogis decided to work together to help fleet managers across the U.S. be smarter in how they spend money and lead their fleets.
Another trend that took place was fleet management firms trying to update their business model. Local Motion is a firm that wants to take the “Uber mindset” and cater it towards fleet. The company hopes to transform ordinary fleet vehicles into shareable vehicles in less than an hour.
Fleet management was also not without its scandals. A U.K. survey found that that nearly nine out of 10 fleet drivers lie about their mileage records, a fact that can severely skew an entity’s payment process.
Several companies opted for digital options over the summer. Included in that list are sustainable waste management and renewable energy firm Covanta, which selected eInvoicing and procure to pay company Transcepta to help it eliminate paper invoices. Additionally, ood ingredients company Kerry Group renewed its contract with Tungsten Network, globally extending invoice automation to all of its businesses across Europe, North America and Asia.
Many countries also worked toward enacting mandatory electronic invoicing laws. Both Brazil and Spain switched over to eInvoicing platforms, hoping to cut down on paper and save money. Europe as a whole is moving toward an entirely electronic process. The 2014 Billentis Report showed that European invoice/receipt volume has now surpassed 34 billion.
In fact, numerous studies were released that discussed the benefits of adopting electronic methods, and why certain businesses are lagging behind others. For example, PayStream Advisors released the “2014 eInvoicing Benchmark Report,” which found that some companies are still hesitant to adopt electronic invoicing methods. The Institute of Financial Operations released its 2014 Order-to-Cash (O2C) Automation study. The results showed that the percentage of companies committed to begin e-invoicing within 12 months more than doubled to 5 percent from 2 percent in 2013.
It’s difficult to say which industry had the most innovative summer. However, health care, fleet management and eInvoicing are clearly moving forward. We’ll have to wait and see how much progress will be made next summer.