What's Wrong with Paper?
A paper solution for capturing charges - such as 3x5 index cards, the status quo for tracking hospital patients in many practices - is quick to use and highly mobile. No one can dispute its simplicity. Nonetheless, it exacts hidden tolls in the form of lengthy hand-off conversations, lost or forgotten charges, and delays in reaching the biller. An electronic solution can address these concerns while actually reducing the amount of time that it takes to document each patient encounter; but only if it was designed well for this purpose.
Dr. Jonathan Matthews, DO of DFW Hospitalists has realized the benefits of adopting an elegant charge capture solution such as pMD, declaring that "pMD has made our lives a lot simpler, saving me hours of administrative work every week. Now when I leave the hospital, I'm usually done with my billing by the time I get to the car. Information flows easily within my practice, and my life is more efficient - which is more important than ever now that I'm starting to grow my small hospitalist practice." For small practices, great technology can make the difference between prospering and struggling to stay independent.
So what's wrong with paper? It cannot re-use demographics that you, your partners, or your staff have previously entered. It cannot help you stay abreast of which patients you and your partners have already seen, today or in the distant past. It cannot find its own way to your biller, or be accessed using a Web browser if you forget to bring it along. And if it is lost or stolen, your patients' privacy may suffer.
Fortunately, today's smartphones - capable, friendly devices such as the BlackBerry Storm and the iPhone - have allowed pMD to create a solution that is not only better than the competition; it's also definitely better than paper.
Save Time, Recover Lost Income, and Improve Patient Hand-Off
If your practice is considering adopting mobile charge capture, first determine where your existing process could be improved. In the rush to provide the best patient care or spend time with your family, does your billing ever fall by the wayside? In this case, you stand to tighten your accounts receivables cycle, getting reimbursed more quickly and more reliably for your work. You may also benefit from being able to tell at a glance whom you've seen today and whom you haven't.
On the other hand, your billing might be airtight, up-to-date, and accurate; but the checks and balances that you've put into place to ensure this are consuming you with administrative work. You have a strong feeling that you could be spending that time in a more productive way. If this rings true, then you stand to recover an immense amount of time by transitioning to a system that cuts out the middle man and lets you send your encounters directly to your biller from the point of care. Like Dr. Matthews, you could already be finished with your billing by the time you leave the hospital.
Finally, you may be spending a lot of time on the phone with your partners, catching them up on the status of each patient in your census. In this case, your practice may improve both the speed and quality of hand-off by adopting a system that updates highly visible sign-off notes in realtime. Dr. Raj Patcha, MD, FACC of the Huntington Heart Center has found that "I am hardly calling my partners about whom I have to see as it continuously updates itself. It's like my biller is following my clinical rounds. Thanks for making my life easier to run our practice."
pMD retains the best aspects of paper billing, and adds the power of a well-written, truly mobile software solution.