Going to the doctor doesn’t just start and stop when you enter and exit — it’s a messy process, filled with multiple lines of communication, arduous paperwork and confusing direction. With that in mind, Cedar has developed a patient payment platform to transform what is typically a tiresome administrative and financial experience. The Cedar team is driven by their mission to transform healthcare.
Cedar is a healthcare financial engagement platform for hospitals, health systems and medical groups that clarifies and simplifies the financial experience for patients, improving bill resolution and payment outcomes for providers. Recently recognized as a leading solution provider in the patient financial experience space by KLAS Research, Cedar facilitates patient-centric financial engagement across the care journey. Cedar is a patient payment and engagement platform that elevates the total patient experience beyond clinical care. Their technology improves the overall experience of patient billing and engagement, enabling healthcare providers to thrive in a rapidly changing environment while helping patients understand the cost of their care.
Florian Otto, CEO of Cedar, explains that healthcare billing is an opaque and paper-based process that can benefit from customization and use advanced technologies to modernize
the experience. That’s especially critical since, the way things stand now, only 40 percent of every dollar is collected by healthcare providers, according to Otto. “Indeed, allowing patients to resolve their bills can boost provider collections by at least 30 percent.” Otto told that the company got its genesis in a 2016 incident: His wife fainted and had to go to the emergency room. “She swiped her credit card” to cover the co-payment. Then the paper bills, statements and collection notices started, one in particular for a lab bill that never came. “She never received that lab bill,” he noted, adding that to get a glimpse into healthcare’s pain points, “just look on Yelp or Google reviews. The number one [healthcare] problem is billing.”
The company’s flagship Cedar Pay combines data and machine learning to connect patients and providers to help craft customized bill plans and messaging (through, say, email and texts) to help providers get paid. The company also enables digital insurance capture, which flags missing or incomplete insurance data, and that can improve collections efforts. “Basically, we interact with the patients on behalf of the provider,” adds Otto. “There’s, of course, a lot of sophisticated technology in the background, but at the front end where the patient interacts with, it’s actually very simple.”
The company recently closed $200 million in Series D financing led by Tiger Global Management, bringing the company’s valuation to $3.2 billion. The company, which boasts more than $350 million in total funding to date, will use the new capital to continue meeting skyrocketing demand for the exceptional, patient-centric digital health experiences provided through its platform. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Thrive Capital and Concord Health Partners also took part in the round.
This funding comes when meeting and exceeding consumer preferences around digital experiences is no longer optional for healthcare providers. As COVID-19 has sped up the digital shift in healthcare, demand for Cedar’s product has increased significantly, with the company quadrupling its business throughout 2020. Since the onset of the pandemic, 40% more patients have switched providers over a poor digital experience and almost 50% wish their digital health experience was more intuitive, similar to Netflix, Amazon or Uber. Providers are looking for partners to help them deliver top-notch patient experiences and turning to platforms that prioritize the end-to-end patient journey, including the financial experience. Through thoughtful workflows and empathetic design, Cedar’s core platform delivers a modern consumer experience.
“Now, more than ever, patients deserve a healthcare experience that prioritizes their needs, and yet there are still so many problems on the financial side, which negatively impact their medical journey,” says Otto. “Our mission has always been to enable exceptional patient experiences and transform healthcare. With this funding, we are in a position to further extend our footprint, help relieve financial burdens for patients and continue innovating to respond to ongoing shifts in the healthcare industry.”
Since launching in 2016, Cedar has experienced significant growth resulting from its industry-leading levels of patient satisfaction, digital engagement and bill resolution, now engaging with over 300,000 patients a day. And while healthcare providers typically see a 30% lift in patient payments, Cedar also helps nearly 3-in-4 health system patients who interact with its platform avoid collections by providing clarity into healthcare costs and pathways to affordability, all while maintaining an 88% patient satisfaction score.
As the company continues to invest in scaling its technology platform, funds from this round will broaden Cedar’s product roadmap beyond its flagship financial engagement product, making the healthcare experience more personalized, transparent and convenient. Using the momentum from the company’s Series C in June 2020, this new round of funding will enable Cedar to continue collaboration with its development partners and build out more patient engagement use cases, including additional pre-visit functionality and tools that provide more pathways to affordability and actionable price transparency, with the goal of delivering better experiences and outcomes for both patients and providers. For example, through an Innovation Partnership announced earlier this year with Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS), Cedar’s only strategic health system partner in the Northeast, YNHHS and Cedar will work together to develop new forward-looking product features to further improve patient satisfaction and financial results.