Florian Otto, Co-Founder and CEO, Cedar
Consider the last time you received a bill from your healthcare provider. Chances are that you forgot all about it and accidentally threw out the statement, spending hours on the phone trying to find out the bill’s incomprehensible and opaque contents.
Few things today conjure a more immediate negative reaction from Americans than the topic of medical bills. Once we finish lamenting on the meteoric growth of healthcare costs and the patient’s responsibility for those costs, we can all share personal anecdotes about the frustration of the medical bill itself. The traditional practice of healthcare billing involves the use of confusing paper statements, aggressive collections agencies, wage garnishment and lawsuits—none of which serve the patient. Not surprisingly, one in three Americans don’t think that their providers have done enough to improve their billing and financial practices.
Difficult circumstances like these have become even more common in light of the current pandemic. This further highlights the inefficiencies of mainstream US healthcare models, as investment dollars double down on virtual-first, digitally-enabled solutions.
Enter Cedar, a healthcare innovator in the patient engagement space, providing patients the modern, convenient and transparent financial experience that they deserve. Cedar's financial engagement platform brings together cutting edge expertise from the worlds of healthcare, technology and design. The company leverages the latest data science and user experience trends to provide patients with a medical billing and administrative experience that reflects the ease we have come to expect from consumer-centric industries, to keep patients happy and businesses healthy. “At Cedar, our objective is to improve the patient experience—eliminating the unnecessary pain that patients and their families endure from confusing, difficult billing and administrative processes,” says Florian Otto, the co-founder of Cedar.
Cedar’s flagship product, Cedar Pay, delivers medical bills in an intuitive and navigable format, with payment options that help patients understand and resolve balances. Additionally, the company also provides omni-channel outreach, in paper, text, email or call form, alongside the bill to make things even more transparent for the patient. The outreach translates CPT codes into plain-english descriptions so that patients can see exactly what they are being billed for.
At Cedar, our objective is to improve the patient experience—eliminating the unnecessary pain that patients and their families endure from confusing, difficult billing and administrative processes
The product improves the patient financial experience using technology through flexible payment plans, personalization, and resolution options. Cedar facilitates this by using dynamic data-science experimentation to determine the right billing approach for individual patients. “Our models proactively identify and execute the optimal payment approach for different patients, offering the right options to each,” mentions Otto. Cedar Pay is now also available in the Epic App Orchard, which will help providers deliver a frictionless, personalized billing experience embedded in Epic’s MyChart that complements existing staff workflows.
Cedar has 30+ signed healthcare provider clients on the platform including ChristianaCare, Maimonides Medical Center, Novant Health, Florida Cancer Specialists, Optum-owned Westmed Medical group, US Dermatology Partners and Crystal Run Healthcare. When Crystal Run Healthcare partnered with Cedar to modernize their paper-based approach to patient billing and financial engagement, they wanted to give patients a transparent, convenient experience while also easing manual burden for their revenue cycle and front-desk staff. With Cedar, Crystal Run Healthcare doubled their collections and achieved 50 percent digital self-service payments, reducing call center volume.
The competitive pressures that Cedar faces in the marketplace are largely a result of the incumbency effect; many of the company’s competitors are legacy players, but despite that advantage, the competitors have significant product deficiencies that have allowed Cedar to set themselves apart in the market. Many of the other players in this space are not equipped to handle complex, consumer-centric financial scenarios while Cedar’s product is also built from the best of consumer-facing technology.
Otto mentions that Cedar has recently raised more than $100 million in Series C funding so that they could invest heavily in building out a full product roadmap, beyond the core financial engagement product. “We are working closely with development partners this year to expand to our end-to-end touchpoints with patients in order to be the seamless thread that connects their administrative and financial experience before, during and after care. For example, we recently announced a partnership with Waystar to implement eligibility verification and price estimates directly into our pre-visit offering,” concludes Otto. “As patients, and organizations like CMS, continue to demand price transparency and shoppable services, health systems will want to partner with platforms like Cedar’s to innovate in this space quickly.” Additionally, Cedar’s recently announced innovation partnership with Novant Health will allow the company to advance and accelerate key innovation initiatives that extend further into pre-visit patient digital engagement.