6 min read

Bitcoin Adoption in Healthcare

Bitcoin Adoption in Healthcare
Providers who say "pay me in bitcoin" will lead the way for bitcoin adoption in healthcare.

Zaprite Customer Stories: Wilson & Wilson Dentistry

By Jon Gordon, Satoshi Health Advisors

Author's Note: this article was originally posted on Zaprite, a bitcoin payments platform that I'm excited to partner with to drive bitcoin adoption in healthcare. Use promo code SHA to get $40 off your annual subscription and start accepting bitcoin/Lightning Network payments alongside fiat rails today!

The centralization of industry under a fiat standard in the United States has been arguably most pronounced in healthcare, with an annual $4.5 trillion in spend.

The medical claims processors and clearinghouses are dominated by a few large players, led by UnitedHealthcare/Optum’s Change Healthcare, which processes $1.5T in claims annually. The self-proclaimed  “trusted advisor to the healthcare system” was recently hacked, leading to widespread negative impact to patients and providers, who are still owed over $14B in claims for services they provided months ago. The problem Change Healthcare created is actually being exploited as a profit opportunity for its parent company, which has started buying up distressed practices.

To make matters worse, 25% of the US healthcare spend is administrative, and half of that is waste. Tight margins for providers and the overhead burden of dealing with bureaucratic insurance companies has led to an increase in M&A and a decline in independent providers. Bitcoin has the potential to reverse these trends, strengthening individual practices by increasing practice sovereignty, lowering transaction fees and providing a treasury savings asset that effectively stores value into the future. 

A great example of a healthcare provider taking the lead in his industry to adopt bitcoin is dentist Ryan Wilson, DDS. At Wilson & Wilson Dentistry, Ryan and his wife Jolanta Wilson, DDS, and staff proudly deliver comprehensive dental services in Rockford, Michigan, serving the broader Grand Rapids metro area. After two decades of clinical practice, the Wilsons were feeling at a crossroads on how to continue to grow their practice while resisting the pressures of turning into a less personal, hyper efficiency assembly line that underlying fiat incentives push toward in today’s insurance dominated business model. 

Rather than working for the patient directly, healthcare providers have been forced to cater to their ultimate customer, the “payor”, the insurance company. The traditional fee-for-service model means providers need to see a higher volume of patients for enough reimbursement to sustain their practice and are actually disincentivized from keeping patients healthy. Alternatively, there is a growing movement of providers that are pricing services fairly and directly for patients, cutting out the middlemen and enabling a more relational approach, like the Wilson pair. Dr Wilson has been passionate about bitcoin for some time personally and wanted support as he considered ways to adopt bitcoin at his practice. 

Dr Wilson and I connected through a mutual connection in the bitcoin ecosystem, and through my business Satoshi Health Advisors, we worked to develop a holistic bitcoin strategy to integrate bitcoin into his dental practice. This includes not only considering bitcoin as a savings asset, but utilizing bitcoin as a payment rail and as a strategy to attract a new customer base with aligned values. Our project together started with bitcoin and Lightning Network education and moved into evaluating the different options Dr Wilson had to integrate bitcoin and Lightning payments. Turning on bitcoin payments could lower his transaction fees from more than 3% to less than 1%. Dr Wilson has written about bitcoin in Dental Economics and understands the value bitcoin can bring his business; he encourages other dentists to consider adopting bitcoin.

After analyzing several options from custodial to noncustodial solutions, Dr Wilson decided to go with Zaprite, a bitcoin company providing a suite of tools for businesses to accept bitcoin payments. Zaprite enables business owners to receive bitcoin and Lightning Network payments alongside traditional fiat rails like ACH and credit card. Zaprite takes a “bring your own wallet” approach to provide business owners flexible connection options; since Zaprite does not process the payment, they do not take any processing fees. 

The Wilson & Wilson Dentistry website.

Zaprite fit in seamlessly with Dr Wilson’s payment flow, where patients receive their amount owed after insurance and go online to pay their bill directly. “We’ve been on a journey to understand and embrace bitcoin, recognizing its value in today’s economy”, said Dr Wilson. “Deciding to accept bitcoin payments was a natural move for us. Integrating Zaprite as our payment gateway has allowed us to accept not only bitcoin but also all major credit cards. This versatility has made our payment processes more inclusive and convenient for our patients.”

When a patient clicks the Bill Pay button on his website, they are directed to the Zaprite Payment Link checkout experience.

The Wilson & Wilson Dentistry branded Zaprite Checkout.

By utilizing Zaprite for all online bill payments, Dr Wilson completely replaced his old payment portal. In a similar flow to his current process, patients type in how much they owe, and now in addition to the option to pay with credit card, patients can now pay with bitcoin, on-chain and over Lightning. Interestingly, Zaprite isn’t processing the payment, but enables the practice to use a processor like Stripe or Square on the backend and a variety of different bitcoin/Lightning connection options, while presenting a unified payment experience to the patient.

Bitcoin and fiat payment options side by side.

By adopting bitcoin, Dr Wilson’s goals include increasing the mix of self-pay patients and continuing to move away from his business’ reliance on insurance. Even so, dental insurers generally only pay 50% of the bill, so all of his patients have to go through this flow. Dr Wilson recently announced the reasoning behind his bitcoin adoption for payments both in-person and online, highlighting the following reasons that should resonate with independent providers across specialties: 

  1. Enhanced Security: Bitcoin transactions provide an additional layer of security, ensuring your payment details remain protected.
  2. Convenience: Easy and swift transactions mean you can manage payments effortlessly, anytime and anywhere.
  3. Innovative Healthcare: We believe in staying at the forefront of technology, making our services more accessible and convenient for everyone.
  4. Strengthened Relationships: Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer system simplifies transactions, removing middlemen. This not only streamlines the process but also strengthens the direct relationship between you and your healthcare provider.

Wilson & Wilson Dentistry is leading the way in the dental industry and welcomes new patients from across Michigan who are looking for an aligned provider putting in their own proof of work through executing a comprehensive bitcoin strategy. Bitcoin facilitates a direct value-for-value relationship between the consumer and merchant, in this case the patient and doctor. As we move towards the medium of exchange phase of bitcoin’s monetization process, it will take more innovative merchants like Wilson & Wilson Dentistry tapping into bitcoin’s open network saying “Pay Me in Bitcoin” and educating staff and consumers alike.

Written by Jon Gordon (Satoshi Health Advisors)

Learn More

Satoshi Health Advisors is a bitcoin-centric healthcare consulting practice that is helping healthcare providers and startups integrate a bitcoin strategy. Reach out to Jon if you’re considering turning your business into a bitcoin company. 

Zaprite is helping businesses migrate onto a bitcoin standard by allowing anyone to seamlessly accept bitcoin and fiat in one integrated platform, whether you’re issuing invoices or selling goods or services online. Try it out with a free 30 day trial.

Wilson & Wilson Dentistry provides diagnostic, preventative, restorative and cosmetic dental services. Patients of all ages are warmly welcomed with gentle pediatric care beginning at age 12 months. Turn to this highly trained dental team for a refreshing approach to dentistry!

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