SaaS Partner Guide

Sphere’s full service ISV partner program provides a single source of end-to-end, scalable and rapidly deployable payment solutions that integrate seamlessly with your software.  Simply put, with just one integration, you can unlock many ways for your customers to pay.

Take advantage of all Sphere has to offer! We’ve written a definitive guide to show you the benefits of partnering with Sphere, including:

  • Ways to increase revenue capabilities
  • How a consultative approach can deliver the best integration plan
  • Frictionless onboarding so you can set up merchant accounts quickly
  • Best-in-breed security and technology, reducing your PCI footprint

Sphere is also more than a payments partner. We are also a powerful marketing partner. 

Our teams will work together on joint go-to-market planning. We’ll brainstorm the best channels to reach your audience and messaging that will drive engagement. From there, our marketing teams will work together to help you grow.

Everything you need to succeed

Get started today! Read the partner guide and reach out with any questions. We’d love to let you know more about how we can help you grow your business, enable your clients to accept all types of payments, and take the burden of compliance complexities off your plate.

 

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Health IT Answers features insights from Ryne Natzke, Senior Vice President of Growth and Strategy, Sphere

Read the full article: Patient Engagement Is the Key to Improving Provider Collections

Here is an excerpt:

Patient collections have long been among the most significant operational and financial headaches for medical providers – resulting in lost time and money.

For example, patient collections take more than a month for 74% of providers, according to a recent survey. For two-thirds of providers, patient receivables represent their primary revenue concern.

Many of providers’ challenges associated with collections stem from the “patient-as-a-payer” trend, in which patients have been forced to assume a greater proportion of their own medical bills due to a range of factors such as the proliferation of high-deductible health plans. In the survey, 65% of providers said they have seen an increase in patient financial responsibility.

However, there is another less-obvious culprit that creates additional difficulties with patient collections: manual, paper-based processes. In many ways, healthcare has failed to maintain pace with the technological advances in other industries, and the numbers tell the story: 88% of providers reported relying on manual and paper-based transactions to collect patient financial responsibility, 73% of providers use paper and manual processes for check-in, and only 23% of providers offer electronic statements, according to the survey.

In short, providers’ inability to engage patients is costing them. Patient engagement primarily depends on two factors – making time to understand patient needs, then connecting patients with the resources that fulfill those needs.

Healthcare Business Today features insights from Ryne Natzke, SVP of Growth and Strategy at Sphere.

Below is an excerpt:

With the COVID-19 pandemic exacting a substantial toll on medical practices’ revenues, savvy providers are searching for an edge that can help them stay competitive and build loyalty to retain patients.

In the wake of the pandemic, many providers were left reeling from the associated loss of revenue, reduction in patient volumes, and surging expenses. For example, in July and August, 81% of physicians in an American Medical Association survey said revenue was still lower than pre-pandemic, with an average revenue decline of 32%.

For many practices, patient engagement is that competitive edge. Engaging patients requires clinicians and staff to first take time and effort to understand patient needs, and then deliver to the patient the resources that meet those needs.

Read the full article here.

2020 marks the fifteenth year that The Ponemon Institute produced its Cost of a Data Breach report.  Among the findings of the report, produced jointly by IBM security, is one that generates pause for many of those in the healthcare industry: while the average total cost for a data breach was $3.86 million across all sectors, this cost in the healthcare sector was nearly double that at $7.13 million.  This represents an increase of 10% from the 2019 study.

What does this mean for those in the healthcare sector?  Strengthening information security practices to avoid and mitigate breaches is paramount, and a key component of this effort is finding ways to diminish the cost of a breach.  In these times where many companies are closely watching the bottom line, there is good news: among the top cost-mitigating factors are three that with your people and processes.

1. Incident Response Plan and Testing

Incident response team formation and incident response testing comprise 2 of the top 3 cost mitigating factors affecting the average cost of a data breach, according to the Ponemon report.  Having a team in place before an incident occurs means that you will be able to respond and contain a breach more quickly.  A trained team will be able to react quickly and make good decisions during a breach.  You will know what steps to take, who to contact for assistance, and how to mitigate the damage a security incident can create.

2. Business Continuity Planning

Implementation of a sound business continuity program rounds out the top 3 cost mitigating factors.  Your business continuity program is essential during a data breach.  You will want to answer questions like: How will your organization continue to provide services to your customers?  Do you have data backups that can restore corrupt data, or data that is frozen by ransomware?  Are you able to ensure your systems remain secure when operating under an emergency plan?  And how do you go back to normal operations when a breach is finally over?  Planning for these questions in advance puts you in a strong position to recover effectively.

3. Employee Training

Employee training continues to be a top cost mitigating factor.  One of the most effective ways to prevent a breach is to ensure employees know their responsibility for information security, and how they can contribute on an individual basis.  They will learn how to keep your organization secure by not falling for e-mail scams like phishing and spear phishing, how to create strong passwords, and how to be cyber-aware while working from home.  A well-trained workforce with information security on the brain can not only help you avoid falling victim to a breach, but they can also be the first line of detection and help you discover an attack more quickly.

When it comes to securing your company’s systems, and your customers’ personal information, every effort counts.  Leveraging your work force’s skills and knowledge in these key areas to contribute to your breach resilience are great steps in the right direction.

The last few years have been busy ones in the privacy landscape. Several states have proposed or passed laws that give individuals a broad array of rights when it comes to the use of their personal information. Part of this new privacy movement also includes changes currently out for comment in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for HIPAA Privacy Rule released by HHS on December 10, 2020. This NPRM directly addresses privacy issues brought on or heightened by COVID.

 

 

On this HealthIT Answers webinar, you will learn:

  • How new privacy rules line up with the Notices of Enforcement Discretion around disclosures related to the COVID Pandemic and public health.
  • How do these changes fit into state-wide legislation like CCPA and other states proposing similar legislation.
  • What are the consequences for failing to maintain good privacy practices.
  • Can healthcare organizations “future proof” their privacy practices to avoid major shifts as new rules come into play.

Speakers: Dr. Heather Randall, CCEP, Chief Compliance Officer, Sphere and Lee Kim Director of Thought Advisory, HIMSS

 

This acquisition combines Sphere’s strength in integrated healthcare payments software and technology with Health iPASS’s leading operational and financial technology to create a single platform for patient payments.

Nashville, TN, December 17, 2020—Sphere, a leading provider of end-to-end integrated payments and security software, today announced its acquisition of Health iPASS, an innovative provider of cloud-based patient engagement software and revenue cycle management technology.

Health iPASS specializes in solutions that enhance provider revenue collections and deliver a streamlined healthcare consumer experience from appointment to final payment. The software helps providers accelerate cashflow, reduce the cost to collect, lower claim denials, and improve patient relations. The technology improves the healthcare consumer experience by simplifying the check-in process and payment experience by facilitating pre-service, time-of-service and post-service engagement and patient payments through an innovative, multi-channel virtual software interface.

“Recent events have accelerated healthcare providers’ need for virtual interactions with their patients throughout the patient experience. The Health iPASS software platform addresses those needs by streamlining the check-in and financial engagement workflow to increase provider revenue and improve patient communications,” said Andrew Rueff, Executive Chairman of Sphere. “This strategic acquisition builds upon Sphere’s strong presence in the healthcare market and adds a highly relevant and unique set of software solutions to address the growing demand for improved patient engagement and payment experience in healthcare.”

“As a leading patient engagement and revenue cycle platform, Health iPASS is a tremendous fit with the strategic direction of Sphere to further our capability within healthcare and wellness,” said Steve Rizzuto, Chief Executive Officer of Sphere. “Additional healthcare integrations expand our opportunity to offer our payment solutions to the healthcare marketplace. With their unmatched technology, common vision and reputation for excellence, we are excited to welcome them to the Sphere organization.”

“The Health iPASS team has built a tremendous business with innovative technology and has reached a point where we will benefit from broader distribution channels, an in-house acquiring platform and a global brand. These gaps are filled when combined with Sphere,” said Rajesh Voddiraju, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Health iPASS. “We are aligned in vision, aspiration for growth and believe the future investment will help us capture significant market opportunity.”

The Health iPASS patient friendly platform supports more than 850 payers, 90 practice management systems and is payment processor-agnostic. The company’s commitment to personalized client support will remain unchanged as Health iPASS clients will remain with their existing relationship team.

 

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About Sphere
Sphere is a software and financial technology company providing integrated solutions that reduce friction and facilitate better and more secure commercial interactions with customers in primarily healthcare and non-profit. Sphere’s integrated payments technology and security software enable its clients to process payments in a way that is highly secure and compliant; integrated with their core business software; omnichannel to accept payments anytime, anywhere; and processor-neutral. Sphere’s partner-centric focused payments solutions serve small, midsize and enterprise level businesses and software companies in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. For news and thought leadership, visit the Sphere Blog.
About Health iPASS
Health iPASS is an innovative provider of cloud-based patient engagement software and revenue cycle management technology. Health iPASS’s solutions enhance provider revenue collections and deliver a streamlined healthcare consumer experience from appointment to final payment. Health iPASS’s software platform simplifies the check-in process and payment workflow prior to and at time-of-service. The technology also streamlines post service payment collection through an innovative, multi-channel, virtual software interface. Health iPASS is committed to delivering better check-ins for patients and better revenue for medical practices.

This is a guest post from Vincent Martino, Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder of  VisitPay.

In this Q&A, Vincent Martino shares how VisitPay helps simplify and consolidate the patient experience. He also discusses the value of choosing a technology compatible with Sphere to ensure your organization continues to manage a single, integrated experience.

Why are health systems choosing a platform like VisitPay?

Vincent Martino: Health systems are choosing VisitPay primarily for the increase in patient satisfaction we drive combined with the resultant increase in cash payments.  The platform provides patients a consolidated billing process that creates an unparalleled amount of transparency, which in turn creates more loyal and better-paying patients.  Our clients Net Promoter Score (NPS) for their billing experience is in the 40’s, which is three times higher than the average across healthcare.  Bills are also higher than they have ever been, and providers have a need to deploy more advanced strategies and capabilities to manage this growing and difficult to collect asset.  The VisitPay team offers a tremendous amount of consumer finance experience to help guide and advise client-specific strategies, which can be enabled and delivered through the platform.

What teams in the health system are typically driving that work?

Martino: We team up with teams across the entire health system.  Of course, the CFO and rev cycle organization are key partners – VisitPay offers a lot of flexibility in terms of how it’s deployed, and many of the financial offer decisions will be driven by these teams.  Oftentimes the consumer experience team will also influence or drive some of the configurations.  The patient billing experience is complex and also is viewed as an increasingly important part of the overall healthcare experience.  Therefore we also partner with the information and technology groups, patient access, the treasury department, and the marketing departments.

What are the implications of this from a payment processing experience?

Martino: It’s important to create cohesive, system-centric experiences for your patients and operational efficiency for your staff.  Finding a patient financial experience company that can effectively partner and collaborate with the different teams within your healthcare system is very important – and it’s vital that your partner can drive alignment when you need them to do so.

Why is it good to have a single payment environment?

Martino: Having one integrated payment solution from end to end is a good thing for a health system and for your patients.  It provides the most efficiency for your staff in terms of posting, reconciliation, and reporting.  And it provides the best experience for patients by providing a single place to save payment method information.

Any industry trends in payments? Any that could influence change?

Martino: Prior to COVID, we were already seeing a trend around contactless payment and “login-less” payment, and the two essentially go together and can be one and the same. And COVID has only accelerated the need for contactless payments.  Every consumer today essentially has a “payment device” in the mobile phone they carry with them everywhere they go. VisitPay has deployed multiple novel ways to pay from that device, which are all contactless in nature.  One specific payment option we offer is “Text To Pay,” which serves as both a contactless and “password-less” way to pay.  VisitPay developed and now offers Text to Pay in partnership with Sphere.  This provides the patient with an automated text when a balance is due and provides them a way to pay their bill securely, without needing to log into an application to do so.   In general, we are seeing more consumers willing to pay from their mobile device using a variety of payment options – some of our clients have over 60% of their consumers paying via mobile devices.

How do these changing trends impact the people running infrastructure?

Martino: I think the organization should continually be looking to deploy new technologies that provide easier and better ways to pay bills.  That said, ideally, newly added technologies shouldn’t create an added process or management burden for the organization that manages the infrastructure.  There are vendors in the market that seamlessly combine technologies onto one platform to ensure efficiency for your team.  When assessing the market, be sure to ask if all payment technologies are centralized on a common processing, reporting, and reconciliation platform.

 

To learn more about VisitPay and Sphere solutions, such as Text to Pay, request a demo.

Health systems have been hard hit by the economic impact of COVID-19. Unfortunately, bad debt will rise for providers as patients prioritize their bills, oftentimes putting medical bills last.

Ryne Natzke, Vice President of Strategic Accounts and Healthcare at Sphere joined Vince Martino, Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder at VisitPay to discuss 3 ways to reduce cost and recover patient revenue during a recession.

Watch

 

Want to learn more about Sphere and VisitPay? Read Sphere’s interview with Vince Martino, Chief Product Officer  of VisitPay.

Sphere and Unified Practice now offer secure, integrated payments solutions to the Holistic Medicine market.

Nashville, TN, July 7, 2020Sphere, the leading provider of end-to-end integrated payments and security software, today announced it has made a strategic investment in Unified Practice, a leading technology company that provides a fully integrated practice management and EHR system within the Holistic Medicine market. This relationship advances Sphere’s broader strategy to expand and deepen its integrated payment solutions within high-growth vertical markets, specifically healthcare.

Based in Denver, Colorado, Unified Practice provides a clinic management system for independent clinics offering Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), massage and physical therapy. Their innovative technology gives practices the tools to manage their clinic all in one place. Unified Practice will offer clients Sphere merchant processing and secure gateway, leveraging frictionless boarding to facilitate easy onboarding.

A single source for technology and merchant processing, Sphere’s secure payment platform supports:

  • Card-present and card-not-present transactions
  • Tokenization for secure data storage, card on file, and recurring payments
  • Validated Point to Point Encryption

“Unified Practice’s reputation for providing innovative technology and superior service makes them a natural fit for Sphere,” said Steve Rizzuto, Chief Executive Officer of Sphere. “The combination of Sphere and Unified Practice solutions will deliver a user-friendly and secure payment experience that is highly efficient. We are thrilled to have Unified Practice leverage Sphere’s technology platform.”

“A strategic partnership with Sphere was a no-brainer for us.” Peter Ungureanu, Chief Executive Officer of Unified Practice said. “By combining our innovative technologies, we’re able to provide our clinics with a seamless end-to-end payment processing system that streamlines the checkout process. Unified Practice’s main goal is to make managing clinics as easy as possible for our practitioners and having an integrated payment processor like Sphere in place is an important piece of that goal.”

 

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About Sphere
Sphere, powered by TrustCommerce, is a software and financial technology company providing integrated solutions that reduce friction and facilitate better and more secure commercial interactions with customers in specialized vertical markets, primarily healthcare, non-profit, transportation and education. Sphere’s integrated payments technology and security software enable its clients to process payments in a way that is highly secure and compliant, integrated with their core business software, omnichannel, and processor-neutral. Sphere’s partner-centric focused payments solutions serve small, midsize and enterprise level businesses and software companies in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. For news and thought leadership, visit the Sphere Blog.
About Unified Practice
Unified Practice is a technology company that provides a fully integrated clinic management software for TCM practitioners. At its core, Unified Practice builds technology that synchronizes and supports the complex work of Chinese Medicine practitioners from streamlining, scheduling and patient care, to unifying administrative functions and practice management. Designed to work the way practitioners think, Unified Practice understands practitioners’ unique processes to provide the support necessary to harmonize their work lives. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. For news and updates, visit the Unified Practice blog.

By Dr. Heather Mark, CCEP

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, fraudulent activity and scams have been on the rise.  As a result, scammers are looking for ways to test their stolen card information.  One way they do that is to find portals or e-commerce sites that have payment forms and use those forms to “test” cards.  This is done by running hundreds or thousands of small transactions to see if they will be authorized.  If these small transactions are authorized, the criminals assume the card is “good.”  Meanwhile, the merchant may not know that this has happened until an expensive invoice is received for those “auths.”

In order to combat these types of scams, here are three ways merchants with an internet presence can mitigate their risk proactively:

  • Implement CAPTCHA – CAPTCHA is an easy test that users take on web-based forms to prove that they are not a “bot.” These may include simple math questions or identifying pictures from an array.  This simple step allows merchants to filter out bad actors and helps to ensure that their payment site is not being misused.
  • Use TC CrediGuard TC CrediGuard is a product offered by Sphere that allows merchants to set parameters for certain transaction patterns. Merchants can set TC CrediGuard to deny transactions based on a set of predetermined criteria.  For example, a merchant may set parameters to deny transactions after five attempts from the same IP address within 7 minutes.  Or, if the IP address of a bad actor is known, a merchant may block that specific IP address.
  • Add a Log-in Screen – Payment forms that reside in front of a log-in page may be more convenient for your customers, patients, or donors, but it can also make it easier for criminals to use that payment screen as a tool for testing card numbers.  By adding a log in screen, you create a barrier that may protect your business from becoming a target for these types of schemes.

By implementing these recommendations, merchants can take significant steps towards mitigating the likelihood of a Primary Account Number (PAN) or Card Testing event.

To learn more about secure online payment solutions and fraud reduction tools, please contact a Solutions Consultant at 800.915.1680, option 2 or sales@spherecommerce.com.

Solution delivers safe and compliant ways for veterinary practices to take payments via many channels that automatically post to practice management software.  

Nashville, TN, June 18, 2020—Sphere, the leading provider of end-to-end integrated payments and security software, and Sikka Software, a market leader in advancing retail healthcare connectivity, today announced their integrated payments platform called Sikka Payments is now available for the veterinary market.

Sikka Payments joins Sphere’s technology and merchant processing with Sikka Software’s innovative practice solutions to streamline collections and payment acceptance. The solution enables veterinary practices to accept client payments securely from a variety of channels.

As practices are now adapting to accommodate social distancing, the need for flexible, self-service methods for clients to pay is paramount.  Whether in person, online, mobile, text and/or card on file, the innovative Sikka Payments platform delivers safe and compliant ways for vet practices to take payments. These transactions automatically post back to the veterinarian’s compatible practice management software (PiMS) for greater efficiency.

Features include:

  • Flexible modes of payments for the pet parents, including mobile, SMS and web-based, to enable payments on the go.
  • Easy-to-use desktop application that sits next to the PiMS so everything is on a single screen. Payments are posted automatically back to the PiMS in real-time.
  • Supports tokenization and validated point-to-point encryption to enable secure card on file payments and safe transaction processing.
  • Ability to create set it and forget it installment plans. For those who cannot pay in full at the time of service, customized, automatic payment plans can improve collections.
  • Push requests for payments, allowing clients to complete the payment on their phone without the need to come to a waiting room or shared card reader.

“While self-service payments have been on the rise for years, the current environment has greatly accelerated the need to allow customers to pay with their mobile devices.  The work we have done with Sikka has prepared clients to quickly adapt, allowing them to continue to collect payments as interaction within their waiting rooms and front desks has been reduced,” said Steve Rizzuto, Chief Executive Officer of Sphere.

“The payment experience is undergoing fundamental changes for veterinary practices, particularly in the era of social distancing,” said Vijay Sikka, Chief Executive Officer of Sikka Software. “Sikka Payments, powered by Sphere, will provide pet parents with the flexible methods they need to pay their vet bills, and at the same time, automate many of manual processes at the front desk. No solution in the market enables the level of 360-degree integration offered with Sikka Payments.”

To learn more, visit: Sikka Payments for Veterinarians

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About Sphere
Sphere, powered by TrustCommerce, is a software and financial technology company providing integrated solutions that reduce friction and facilitate better and more secure commercial interactions with customers in specialized vertical markets, primarily healthcare, non-profit, transportation and education. Sphere’s integrated payments technology and security software enable its clients to process payments in a way that is highly secure and compliant, integrated with core business software, omnichannel, and processor-neutral. Sphere’s partner-centric focused payments solutions serve small, midsize and enterprise level businesses and software companies in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

 

About Sikka Software
Sikka Software is helping to rethink the retail healthcare market using a single API cloud platform with Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics. Focusing on non-physician practices in dentistry, audiology, veterinary, optometry, chiropractic, orthodontic and oral surgery etc., Sikka Software now has over 34,000 practice installations on its platform. These are businesses where the primary skilled worker is also the owner who needs tools to digitize their practice and help them make more real-time, optimized decisions. Sikka Software API and cloud platform connect to 90% of the retail healthcare market including practice management systems and financial software. For more information, please visit https://sikkasoft.com.

Advantages of Adopting Flexible Payment Methods in Healthcare

By Ryne Natzke, Sphere and Vince Martino, Chief Product Officer, VisitPay

PaymentsJournal, a leading payments and banking news and information portal, recently published an article co-authored by Ryne Natzke, Vice President of Strategic Accounts and Healthcare at Sphere and Vince Martino, Chief Product Officer, VisitPay.

Click to read the full article.

Below is an excerpt.

In healthcare, the payment process differs from virtually all other industries in one significant way: patients do not pay for the bulk of the service received themselves because their insurance companies do.

American healthcare consumers have come to expect that their insurers will handle most billing issues with their medical providers. However, the responsibility has started to shift in recent years.  Patients are increasingly paying more of their own medical costs due to rising health insurance deductibles and escalating out-of-pocket expenses.  This year, for example, individuals with commercial insurance will be responsible for 20% to 35% of the cost of the healthcare they receive. For hospitals and health systems, this means that 20% to 35% of their total revenue must now be collected directly from the consumer. …