Smart devices make smart practice partners

Mobile devices and applications are ushering in a new era of healthcare, transforming behaviors, delivery and cost. The technology has the power to put information and insight into providers’ hands whenever they want while still saving them money.

Though the healthcare industry initially was slow to adopt for a variety of reasons – not the least of which was concern over privacy and security of protected health information – as the technology has advanced it has found a very welcoming audience. A study by Manhattan Research found tablet use by physicians doubled between 2011 and 2012. That trend shows no sign of slowing down. According to a report by the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings, mobile health is expected to become a multi-billion dollar field by 2017. It’s no wonder given the many benefits that range from reduced time spent on paperwork to improved communications and workflows.

For hospital and healthcare leaders, chief among mobile technology’s benefits is its ability to improve an organization’s financial performance. Those on the forefront of change are increasingly turning to mobile solutions to improve the billing and coding cycle.  New applications enable physicians to look up diagnosis and procedure codes from their smart devices and insert them into a patient’s chart or bill. The electronic capture of these codes eliminates many common errors that arise from paper-based processes such as indecipherable notes, lost documents, and missed or forgotten coding done hours after the patient was seen.

For revenue cycle staff, mobile devices can improve a practice’s financial performance by streamlining the claims submissions process. Such technology allows providers to transmit lab reports, EOBs, treatment authorizations, certificates of medical necessity, narratives and ED records, doctor's notes, referrals, nurse's notes or any other documentation required by a health plan to adjudicate a claim. These capabilities help billing managers improve collection, streamline reimbursement cycles, simplify coding and billing, and reduce the administrative cost of claims by 30 percent to 40 percent.

Healthcare organizations can further reduce the financial and logistical challenges associated with medical record information with mobile camera applications. The key feature of these types of applications is that they:

  • provide HIPAA-compliant document capture, transmission and storage;
  • prevent local storage of patient data on mobile devices; and
  • allow 24/7 secure access to medical documentation.

Mobile technology is advancing health IT adoption. In a sea of regulations, turning to smart devices to streamline operations is something providers want to do and it’s positively impacting the financial performance of practices. Mobility provides quantifiable value through real-time access to patient information from anywhere, so that doctors can spend more time with patients rather than burning hours on forms and paper documentation. Devices supported by coding intelligence can improve ROI by enabling the more accurate and timely capture of procedure and diagnostic codes. They also reduce administrative costs. HIPAA-secure smart applications free front-office staff from time-consuming processes such as scheduling, copying and correspondence, and save on postage and paper costs.

When it comes to improving the bottom line, smart devices make smart sense.

Lindy Benton has worked in the healthcare information technology field for more than 20 years and is currently the CEO of MEA, which offers solutions that enable secure capture, transmission, storage and retrieval of medical documentation.