The pMD Blog
POSTS BY TAG | Mobile Charge Capture


From a financial perspective, one of the benefits of mobile charge capture software is a tremendous reduction in charge entry lag. This is the length of the time between when the patient is seen and when the charge is captured electronically - not on a piece of paper where it could be misplaced or accidentally used as a napkin.

Providers who see patients in an office or clinic setting typically have low charge entry lag. Patients come to them and the provider is always in front of a computer, so they can capture billing information at the same time as they're doing other documentation.

Everything changes the moment the provider heads over to see patients at an outside facility such as a hospital or nursing home. Suddenly they are walking from room to room, and they need to improvise a system (typically a paper system) to track what happens as they go along - or they have to reconstruct it from memory later, when they're in front of a computer. Then they have to figure out how get the paper or spreadsheet back to their billing office. This administrative burden can create a cycle of procrastination that leads to weeks of charge entry lag as busy providers struggle to stay on top of their paperwork.

The statistics tell the story. If you're looking for a mobile charge capture solution, you should ask each vendor what their median charge lag is across their entire customer base for these places of service: Hospital Inpatient, Hospital Outpatient / Surgical Center, and Skilled Nursing Facility. If a vendor tracks these statistics, the answers may reveal whether their charge capture solution is usable in real time. If they don't track these statistics, why not? Charge entry lag is one of the key metrics for charge capture software, and you should choose a vendor that helps its customers measure and improve it.

In February 2017, the median (typical) pMD customer had a charge entry lag of 0.06 days at these remote facilities. In fact, 84.9 percent of pMD’s customers had a charge entry lag of less than one day outside of the clinic setting. Of providers who used pMD to capture charges in February, 90.8 percent used the pMD mobile app to do so, and 91.2 percent of all February charges were created on mobile. These numbers prove that practices are living the dream of real-time mobile charge capture. The fast, intuitive mobile app that works offline is key to achieving this.

What does all this mean for a medical practice? If you start out with a charge entry lag of one week at your remote facilities, and you become a typical pMD customer with a charge entry lag of less than one day, then you immediately recover a full week of revenue that had been floating out there somewhere in paper form. You could bill 372 days worth of revenue in a single calendar year of 365 days.

iOS 8, Apple’s newest operating system to be released with the iPhone 6 this fall, contains some exciting and unprecedented features in the password department. With the introduction of iOS 7 and the iPhone 5S, we oohed and awed over the TouchID password feature. We no longer had to enter in a 4+ digit pin every time to keep our iPhones secure - the phone simply scanned our thumbprint and verified our identity. Pretty innovative technology.

Now, Apple will take TouchID to the next level with iOS 8 extensions and could allow third-party applications, like pMD, to take advantage of this powerful feature. What does this mean for health care providers who are increasingly using their iPhones in their work? For one thing, it’ll help cut down on their extensive list of passwords to remember for both work and personal applications. We hear from our doctors using mobile charge capture about the constant hassle of keeping track of numerous passwords among their various health care systems and the time spent having to retrieve forgotten passwords. It’s even common for some systems to require a password change every couple of months! The iOS 8 password features will also be a huge benefit for health care companies who are developing mobile software faster than you can remember your EHR password.

If iOS 8 can simplify the password process and make them even more secure, then that’s a win for both doctors and health care software companies alike.

Source: The Verge
As of last week, we released version 8 of pMD’s iOS charge capture application, which fully supports secure text messaging between providers and staff in and between practices. One of the inherent challenges in mobile development is trying to keep your user base up to date with the newest version of your app. Not only does this ensure that users get the latest features and performance improvements, it also helps keep the organization agile by not having to support and maintain backward compatibility with legacy versions. With fewer strings attached to the past, a small team of developers can deliver above their weight class.

Like many companies that support native applications on mobile devices, we always struggled with getting enough of our users to upgrade to the latest version in a timely manner. Last year, Apple helped alleviate this problem by introducing auto-update to applications. In the first few days after the update, there was an inevitable spike in upgrades, followed by a linear-like rate. A little more than a week after its release, over 58 percent of our user base is now updated to the latest version of the app, which is a much faster adoption rate than we had for previous versions.


There are several reasons, however, why this number isn’t higher: some users have auto-update turned off, haven’t used pMD since the app updated, are prevented from updating the app due to not yet having iOS 7+, or are simply afraid of change. So even though the problem of legacy app support is improving, it is by no means solved. There really won’t be a silver bullet other than customer education and building updates that persuade the most skeptical hold outs that an update is worth while.
Transitioning to the new ICD-10 code set without a mobile charge capture strategy is like traversing a snowstorm without a shovel. You will get through it (eventually), but it won’t be easy.

With the ICD-10 transition looming later this year, practices are scrambling to get a plan into place. Mobile charge capture can be an important part of that transition for doctors who see patients in hospitals and other locations outside of their office.

When providers are in the clinic environment, there are practice management and medical billing services to keep them organized and efficient with charge entry. But when providers work outside of their office’s four walls to see patients, they often revert to disorganized and inefficient systems of paper, spreadsheets, phone calls, and text messages… napkins, even. Mobile charge capture replaces these systems with intuitive software. It extends the practice to the hospital and the hospital back to the practice, so providers can stay on top of everything in real-time and communicate efficiently from their smartphones and tablets.

It might seem easier to ignore the snowstorm of ICD-10. But addressing your needs now by applying a good mobile charge capture strategy will make the transition smoother and easier.

Read the full article about how mobile charge capture can feel like a day at the beach with your transition to billing with ICD-10: http://www.athenahealth.com/blog/2014/01/29/icd-10-transition-the-benefits-of-a-mobile-charge-capture-strategy/
In my last post, I painted a picture of a war between Apple and Google for the brains of our mobile devices. Some inquisitive readers, however, wondered why I didn't mention anything about another well-known contender, BlackBerry. (No one asked about Windows.) The answer shouldn't be surprising for anyone following the news. As of last month, BlackBerry had just 0.6 percent of the market (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/blackberrys-market-share-falls-below-others/). Similarly, for the pMD charge capture app, BlackBerry accounts for only 0.7 percent of mobile users.


Mobile Market Share Pie Chart



Looking at the last few years of pMD users, the trend is clear.


BlackBerry User Trends from 2012-2014



Of our current users who had BlackBerry devices, more than 92 percent switched to iOS devices, and the rest switched to Android.

The reasons why BlackBerry fell from its once-envied position will be the subject of case studies for business students for years to come. Yet it's easy to forget that we stand on the shoulders of BlackBerry. When I joined pMD as a software engineer in 2009, BlackBerry accounted for more than half of our user base. I heard firsthand from doctors and nurses how much they loved their devices, from the efficiency of their physical keyboards to their robust messaging--BlackBerry was cool. It’s easy to forget that BlackBerry was called “Crackberry,” a nickname no modern device has inherited.

Even though the fate of RIM and BlackBerry serves as a cautionary tale that nothing in technology is sacred, it is also a chance to reflect on what they made possible. In particular, here at pMD, we can reflect on how they helped make mobile charge capture and in fact mobile medicine a reality.