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Financial Information Systems

Revolutionizing the coding and billing cycle with intelligent mobile technology

The rapid sophistication and adoption of mobile devices in healthcare has created an alternative to the traditional paper-based billing cycle.

By Paul Adkison U

sing intelligent mobile technology, provid- ers have access via mobile devices to the patient’s health information, lab results and other clinical data. The ability of mobile devices to allow physicians to access and interact with patient health information and clinical data has essen- tially become what many in the media have described as the new “black bag” of the physician. Healthcare organizations that use mobile devices supported by coding intelligence have the potential to improve the fi nancial performance of their respective organizations by millions of dollars each year. A multitude of case studies have shown that capturing charges using mobile devices can increase revenue per provider by $20,000 or more per year, and signifi cantly improve the revenue cycle management of virtually any healthcare organization. So why do so many healthcare organizations still rely on a paper-based system?

The challenges of a paper-based system Complete and accurate clinical documentation is essential to providing quality care for patients and ob- taining reimbursement for services. Unfortunately, in a paper-based billing system, coding and billing patient encounters consume a large quantity of caregivers’ time and negatively impact their daily workfl ow. Paper-based billing also opens a Pan- dora’s box of opportunities to make mistakes. Illegible

Paul Adkison is CEO and founder of IQMax ( For more information on IQMax solutions:

handwriting, lost or misplaced sticky notes and limited writing space for capturing ICD and CPT codes cre- ate ineffi ciencies and bottlenecks in the revenue cycle. Coders and billing coordinators often fi nd themselves trapped in a manual charge-verifi cation cycle, imped- ing the billing and reimbursement process and costing healthcare organizations millions of dollars each year in uncollectable charges and wasted labor hours. Paper-based charge systems also present a multitude

8 May 2011

of issues in terms of accuracy and timeliness of captured charges. Studies show that on average 15 percent of charges never get billed. In an outpatient environment, the caregiver usually has an administrative support system. With a list of appointments and a way to do manual reconciliation, charges are rarely lost or unac- counted for.

The inpatient environment is much more troublesome because it is dynamic. In any given day, there are oppor- tunities to capture charges that can’t be predicted. For example, a provider stops a colleague in the hallway and asks her to see a patient. The consulting physician may perform a procedure at the bedside, but there is no true record for the underlying coding staff to know if anything happened. The result: a billable charge is lost. Moreover, providers have a tendency to procrastinate and delay documenting charges because it’s an annoyance and interferes with their daily workfl ow. They let charges accumulate and then try to go back and capture charges for a period of time, relying on memory and sketchy notes to accurately remember what they did. Inevitably, they will leave out procedures and consults that should have been billed, but are not. By the time the coders get the charges, it’s a week or two after care was rendered, making it diffi cult to fi nd out exactly what happened at the point of care.

Revolutionizing the billing and coding cycle with mobile technology Fortunately, there is a way today to capture point-


of-care charges in a method that not only saves time for practices, providers and hospitals, but that also signifi - cantly improves revenue. Many healthcare organizations have begun to trade handwritten notes and little pieces of paper for mobile applications that enable the capture of charges – in compliance with billing and coding rules – as they happen. This not only speeds up delivery of billable charges to the back end, but it saves time and money and allows for a more effi cient capture of revenue. Mobile devices – when supported by a sophisticated, Continued on page 11

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