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POSTS BY TAG | Charge Capture

Accessing health care information on mobile devices is not just a trend anymore; it’s the new norm. The last couple of years has seen tremendous growth in the number of mobile health care apps that make doctors more efficient and improve patient care; mobile EHRs, charge capture, secure text messaging, drug references, and diagnostic support, to name a few.

With such critical patient information at the hands of our doctors, these apps have to be secure and robust. Whether hospital WiFi is spotty, certain care locations don’t have WiFi, or cellular reception is limited, doctors still have to be able to access important medical information on-command from their array of health care apps. Say, for example, you’re a patient in the hospital. Your doctor pulls out his or her smartphone to find what drug dose to prescribe you, only to find out that the hospital WiFi signal has dropped, and along with it, any immediate access to the necessary health information to find this out. As a doctor, this would be frustrating. As a patient, this would be frustrating and unsettling.

This is where the Native app vs. Web app distinction comes into play. A native app is developed for one particular mobile device, like the iPhone or Android, and is installed directly onto the device itself. It works standalone and can be used offline. A Web app, on the other hand, is an Internet-based app that runs on the mobile device’s Web browser, like Safari. So if you want to access information from an app when you’re in a cell reception void, like parts of most hospitals, you’ll want a native app. If you want your doctor to be able to access your medical information on a secure mobile device to deliver faster and more accurate care, you’ll want your doctor using native apps.

Times have changed for physician practices over the last decade. Many of the government regulations have put more demands on the practices and hospitals with less reimbursement to show for it. Practices and healthcare organizations are hyper focused on looking for areas of opportunity that will help provide a return on investment to combat the challenges to their revenue cycle while also improving patient care.

Recently, I received a questionnaire asking about our services as a mobile charge capture software company and how we could help practices meet the new compliance standards while increasing the financial health of practices and hospitals. This medical organization was trying to figure out where to start with their evaluation of mobile charge capture.

I have worked with hundreds of practices over the years that I know are operating at a very high level of patient care while also thriving financially. These well-run organizations and practices all share similar evaluation tactics when researching new technology. They seem to focus on just two simple questions when evaluating a new software system:

1. Will this software work for us, or will we have to work for the software?
One theme that these organizations are keenly aware of is leveraging technology to work for them – not the other way around. Smart practices and hospitals want to learn from the experience of others' success, but they also recognize that the “one size fits all” approach does not work with medical technology and software. Practices are like snowflakes – they may seem similar, but no two are identical. When evaluating charge capture or any other software, it’s important to find a solution that is flexible enough to adapt to your specific workflow rather than forcing you to conform to a standard way of utilizing technology. Nobody likes a backseat driver telling you how to do your job.

2. Will this software support itself, or will we have to support the software?
Another topic that physicians and staff are constantly referencing is customer support. Any technology or software is only as good as the support that stands behind it. Everyone wants a vendor that provides great initial and on-going training, easy-to-use software, and technology that functions exactly how you expect. Of course, if you do have a question or need assistance, are you able to reach a live person who is capable of answering your question? From speaking with my customers, it only takes one time to get burned in this area to learn a valuable lesson. Do your homework and due diligence to find out what others are saying about the support with any new system. It pays dividends down the road.

Stay tuned to learn more about the biggest challenges that practices are solving with mobile technology.

Apple will be releasing its earnings report later today, and we at pMD were wondering if we could predict or corroborate the existing market expectation: Apple went sideways in Q2. I wrote earlier that in the mobile wars, Android is gaining on iOS, but that in our niche (charge capture and secure messaging for medical professionals), Apple is still dominant. The question is, has anything changed in the pMD device breakdown between the last earnings call and today?

Before revealing the numbers, it’s important to note that our company inevitably and officially ended support for BlackBerry on March 31, so there was a forced migration of 1.22 percent of our users to Android and iOS devices. How does this affect the trends? We're not sure, but it's not going to stop us from making wild predictions, kind of.

Looking at the charts, Android gained 0.8 percent and iOS gained 0.45 percent market share among doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants using pMD. This supports the lackluster market expectations, and if anything else, hints at even lower expectations for the Q2 results. With that said, eyes (medical and otherwise) are already set on rumors and hopes of Apple announcements in June.

The new ICD-10 code set, originally intended to be implemented in 2008, has now seen yet another delay to the October 2014 go-live date. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the “Doc Fix” legislation, which includes a one-year delay to ICD-10. Tonight, the Senate confirmed that delay, adding another year onto the ICD-10 countdown.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services may not, prior to October 1, 2015, adopt ICD-10 code sets as the standard for code sets under section 1173(c) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d-2(c)) and section 14 162.1002 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations.

This delay, so close to the October 2014 deadline, comes with mixed reviews from health care groups. There has already been a great amount of resources put into the training and funding of ICD-10 education and transition efforts. Well-prepared health care providers have already begun the process of learning the new level of specificity that will be expected of them for each patient visit, and medical coders have begun learning the complexities of these new codes so as to not interrupt reimbursement from payers. These groups who have already started the transition know how difficult it is and will continue to work diligently in the next year to be ready.

Then there are the medical practices and vendors that simply would not have been ready come October 2014, for which this decision comes as a huge sigh of relief. Those who haven’t begun the transition should use this delay as a wake-up call to get started now and take full advantage of the one year gift they’ve just received.

Still, this decision gives everyone more breathing room to develop an effective and seamless ICD-10 plan. Medical organizations have another year to work through the ICD-10 transition, and it’s a big undertaking that requires time from both health care providers and administrators. Having good software in place, such as a charge capture system, will help shrink the time needed to set aside for the transition, and will make the new October 2015 deadline less daunting.
A few weeks ago, I surveyed the battle for market share between iOS and Android and the large discrepancy between the general market and enterprise breakdown, especially in medicine. Yet given the sad tale of the BlackBerry’s fate in my last post, we can’t take anything for granted. As a service to the curious, I’ll be posting regular updates on the device breakdown for pMD’s mobile charge capture app -- available on both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. I’ve even included the BlackBerry, which may or may not survive the Thunderdome. Stay tuned.
pmd-device-breakdown copy
As a patient, you should be able to assume that your private health information is safe and guarded from the outside world. Unfortunately, this may not be the case. Unknowingly, many physicians are using unsecured, unencrypted methods of messaging that leave your personal matters a little less private. These methods include, but are not limited to, text messaging, and even email.

As Jen mentioned in our last post, apart from your data floating around, your doctor could be fined thousands, or even millions of dollars for sending unsecured information! Imagine you are at the hospital with a broken arm. You have just sat down to look at your x-ray and your doctor decides that he wants to send it to your primary care physician. So, the doctor takes out his phone, takes a picture of the x-ray, and sends it over. That could cost your doctor upwards of $50,000 for one text! There has to be a better way to do this, and there is.

At pMD, we have found a way to solve this problem. We have created pMD Messaging, a secure, encrypted, HIPAA compliant messaging platform that physicians and patients can rely on. Other than its ease of use, one of the many features that makes our secure messaging so special is its integration into our charge capture solution (learn more). Having messaging directly incorporated into the software limits the amount of app switching and allows for quick access to patient records. Instead of two separate applications, you can find the patient and compose your message in the same instance. This is especially important for specialists whose time is very precious when it comes to patients. Specialists need to send and receive information about their patients very quickly, making an app that incorporates both messaging and charge capture the perfect match. Better yet, you can message physicians outside of your practice too!

To explain the importance of secure messaging, we are in the process of creating a video featuring our very own Doctor Mustachio and a new character named Doctor Fast Thumbs. In making this video, we are looking to show a serious situation with a humorous tone. Engaging an audience can be a very difficult task, especially with a topic that can be bland and boring. Over the next few weeks, we'll be posting updates on our progress and giving you a glimpse into the world of animated, video creation, and what it means to use secure messaging.
It seems you’ve made your way to pMD's blog and want to know more about what charge capture really is. This blog is your guide. You've heard the buzzword all over health care, so let's begin by answering the question, “What is charge capture?”

Charge capture is a process used by doctors and other health care providers so that they get paid for their services. In its simplest form, charge capture is the process whereby doctors record information on their services, which is then sent out to different payers and insurance companies for reimbursement. For example, let’s say a doctor sees you in the hospital, and after 30 minutes of care the doctor diagnoses you with hypertension. Both the hypertension diagnosis and the 30 minutes of care translate into separate codes which are eventually submitted for reimbursement.

One of the big variables in charge capture among medical practices is the way in which doctors record and transfer this information.

Pop Quiz: What are doctors using to capture their charges?
A) Smartphones
B) Post-it notes
C) Spreadsheets
D) Cafeteria napkins
E) All of the above

The correct answer? E. There are numerous ways to capture charges, and as you may have guessed, certain methods are more effective than others.

As an alternative to paper based systems like index cards and hospital print-outs, electronic charge capture ensures faster reporting and greater billing accuracy. When doctors submit charges electronically, it also reduces data entry errors along the way and eliminates the need to decipher enigmatic handwriting. Paper can't keep up with ever-changing government regulations like ICD-10 and MIPS, but electronic charge capture can incorporate many solutions right into the software.

The best and most efficient form of charge capture involves using mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets. Doctors can record their charges using a charge capture application on their phones, allowing them to enter charges on the go. And because they can submit these electronically, doctors no longer have to shuttle paper charges back and forth from the hospital to their office.

Mobile charge capture is also the most secure method because all of the data is encrypted, both on the device and in transit. This way, doctors don’t have to worry about misplacing a paper charge and putting confidential patient information at risk.

pMD provides intuitive, elegant mobile charge capture software that improves patient care and makes doctors happy. Learn more about pMD charge capture.