Should the healthcare industry welcome bitcoin?

Bitcoin is becoming more common these days, but will it make a presence at your hospital or doctor's office?

Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency system has been around for more than four years, but is it time that businesses and medical practices begin to accept this form of payment?

Some practitioners say yes, due to the fact that bitcoin provides a sense of security that credit card companies cannot, according to Healthcare IT News.

"It's important for people to be able to maintain their privacy" about all things, but particularly medical issues, Dr, Paul Abramson told the news source.

He is among of a few earlier adopters of bitcoin and has found it to be an effective way to collect payment, even though there aren't many businesses or Americans utilizing this form of payment.

Unlike other payment options, Bitcoin wallets are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — traditional bank accounts and credit cards are. One of the benefits of bitcoin is that vendors who convert digital money to real dollars only charge a 1 percent fee, credit card providers have a 2 to 3 percent surcharge, according to The Coloradoan.

To make matters a little more confusing for those who aren't familiar with Bitcoin is that the price of a single coin can greatly fluctuate, due to a lack of central authority — Bitcoin is regulated by a team of programmers from many countries.

Practitioners like Gomez found bitcoin to be handy because patients aren't pressured to carry a large amount of money to cover co-pays or outstanding medical bills. Consider it an alternative way to "[swipe] a credit card."

Before implementing this form of payment, Abramson and Gomez recommends doing research first. Is there a Bitcoin application that works with current processes? Would you consider your patient population comfortable with adopting newer technology?

Healthcare coding and consulting services can provide industry expertise on going with this approach, as well as the ramifications of doing so. It may sound like a great alternative to cash and credit cards, but transitioning toward this solution will take time. 

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