Oct 30, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Ever download an app on your phone to pay for something more easily? Use a fitbit? If you answered yes to either or both of these questions, then you have the beginning concepts of fintech down.

Fintech, the revolutionary field that's changing the business of banks, is shifting the healthcare landscape, too. 

The combination of 'finance' and 'technology', fintech focuses on the business of using technology to offer financial services. In healthcare, it means using that same technology and expanding its reach.

As fintech disrupts the banking industry's standards for the flow of information, data storage, security, and transactions, it also makes its impact on other industries that depend on banking, namely healthcare.

How? Electronic billing. Online payments. Payment management. Patient data. Access to data. Movement of data between systems. Using big data to inform decision making. Personalized medical care.

Fintech is changing the healthcare landscape in ways we are only just beginning to understand. Let's take a closer look at what fintech brings to healthcare. 

1. Fintech makes paying for healthcare easier

Thanks to new financial technologies, managing healthcare payments gets easier every day. There are blockchain companies building financial systems for the industry and others building partnerships with hospitals, insurance companies, and other service providers to offer easy, secure online payments. 

Instead of using paper statements, more providers use fintech capabilities to make electronic bills more accessible, easier to manage, and easier to pay. 

Fintech's reliance on mobile and desktop apps makes those transactions even easier.

2. It streamlines costs and services

With systems in place that allow for more frequent online transactions comes less expense to you and faster delivery of other services. 

What does this mean? It means less administrative time and more focus on healthcare delivery.

Healthcare staff face outdated IT systems, endless paper filing, eternal phone calls and wait times, and inefficient systems. Fintech offers a path to streamline some of those back-office functions and gives healthcare workers more time to focus less on administrative management and organization and more on the bottom line: delivering high-quality patient care. 

3. It changes the management of customer and patient data

Fintech's purpose? To disrupt the norm. To create a new way of doing things.

With fintech, healthcare systems can empower patients and customers by offering them 24/7 access to their data -- and some analysis, too.

Customer empowerment and control underpin fintech's role in healthcare. 

From fintech's private banking and investment apps, to money transfer and paying with thumbprints, fintech products allow patients and customers to access information in models that work for them.

The convenience comes at a cost, though. That's where fintech blockchain solutions come in -- and a whole host of cybersecurity metrics.

4. It helps develop personalized programs

We live in an era of personalized, customized care. One size doesn't fit all. 

As customers and patients get more comfortable accessing their data using fintech, healthcare centers can use that data to tailor programs to meet specific needs.

These personalized programs use various elements of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality.

That's right: robots are involved in the newest frontier of personalized healthcare technology.

You know this if you already use something like a Fitbit.

5. Here's what med students need to know about fintech

If you are already in med school, then you are seeing the first iteration of fintech's impact on healthcare.

Here's what you might not know, though: some fintech startups offer loans to med students and doctors interested in implementing elements of fintech in their research and practice.

Why? Fintech startups need as many healthcare professionals on board as possible. If that means helping you out with your loans while you use their products, then it's a win-win.

Learn more about healthcare studies and fintech degrees.

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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