December 20, 2022
Medical billing and claims are notoriously error-ridden. A study by Health Finance Professor Stephen Parente at the University of Minnesota concluded that upward of 40% of medical bills contain errors. Some sources claim that this number is even higher; the errors just go undetected.
For consultants and dental hospitalists, these errors can have detrimental financial impacts. Fortunately, medical billing apps can help improve accuracy and ensure everyone is billed— and paid— correctly.
Here are some of the top considerations to keep in mind when choosing a medical billing app, and why this tool is integral for success.
Benefits of Medical Billing Apps
In addition to the obvious error reduction, medical billing apps offer several benefits that make them worthwhile.
Convenient for Dental Hospitalists and Consultants
Consultant and hospitalist billing services can be complex in nature. Keeping track of patient visits between locations and ensuring everything is coded properly leaves room for error.
Using a billing service platform creates a centralized, convenient approach for medical professionals on the go. These apps typically cover everything from compensation management to care coordination with additional customizable features.
As mobile and virtual medicine become more prevalent in the wake of the pandemic, having the right medical billing app will improve the accuracy and quality of care.
Streamlines Coding and Billing
Coding and billing can be time-consuming. Using a medical billing app is a proven way to enhance time management and productivity in the medical profession.
Centralized apps offer billing-adjacent functionalities as well— accounts receivable management, for example. While these tasks and functions are often a full-time job in a hospital, dental specialists are required to self-manage. Having a streamlined coding and billing system helps internists with AR follow-ups and claims processing.
Minimize Paper Records
The world is moving away from paper records and toward EHR and paperless billing. Medical billing apps prevent lost paperwork and improve organization for rounding doctors and dentists.
For example, a psychiatrist who offers care at several local rehab centers will often spend their days traveling between facilities. Before the HITECH Act of 2009, they'd be forced to carry progress notes and documentation with them. Now, technology allows a centralized database of information for better time management, privacy protection, and consistency in patient care.
Improves the Patient Experience
While medical bills are a negative aspect of the patient experience, centralized billing apps make the process less burdensome. Fewer mistakes and streamlined claims submission prevents hours of frustrating follow-ups and phone calls to correct errors. Having information readily available to review improves transparency and gives patients the opportunity to advocate for themselves.
With those benefits in mind, here are the top considerations when choosing a medical billing app.
First, evaluate the company's reputation. The billing services provider should be well-known and regarded within the healthcare industry. Look for an established brand with years of proven experience in medical billing.
Ask for recommendations and reviews from colleagues and conduct self-led research online.
Choose a medical billing app with robust features that suit your needs. Consider features that benefit all practitioners (simplified coding and billing, in-depth analytics, accounts receivable management, etc.) and specific needs for your specialty.
A dental hospitalist may have unique or nuanced coding requirements, depending on the nature of the role. Ensuring accuracy is essential for proper billing and compensation. Having a premium coding automation service for complex visits would be a specialty-specific benefit.
Centralization and Integration
Having separate apps for billing, patient progress notes, and compensation management no longer makes sense. Choose a billing application that offers centralized solutions that cover all the bases.
If you have specialized needs or work with practices with individual software solutions, look for a tool that offers integrations and compatibility. The more effective your programs are at "speaking" to one another, the more accurate and efficient your processes will become.
Messaging is one of the most overlooked features of a medical management app. Consider an app with integrated messaging to keep all communications recorded and captured in one area. This feature helps create a paper trail for treatment and minimizes care gaps.
Privacy and Security
HIPAA compliance is integral when choosing software. Ensure that the programs you use are designed with medical compliance in mind.
Don't hesitate to ask service providers about their privacy, encryption, and other cybersecurity features.
This app will effectively run your medical practice or consultancy. As such, it's important to select something that's easy and intuitive to use.
Many app providers will offer a free trial or demo to help minimize the learning curve when adopting new technology. Take advantage of this offering to determine which platform is right for you.
Value for Investment
Centralization and convenience ultimately pay for themselves over time. However, finding something that offers a strong return on investment and value for the money is critical.
Compare the options and choose something that checks all the boxes for a reasonable investment. The cheapest solution is rarely the best option, but that doesn't mean the most expensive option is the most suitable.
Top Medical Billing Apps
There are several non-EHR medical billing apps to choose from. The most popular options include:
Claimocity dominates the competition when it comes to user experience, reporting features, and customer support. While Claimocity checked all the boxes functionality-wise, some users reported a need for more integrations and compatibility.
pMD doesn't offer the same quality in core functionality as Claimocity, but has a wider range of integrations and compatibilities. This option is worth considering for specialists with nuanced inter-application needs.
Like pMD, MD Coder has robust integrations and compatibility. However, it falls perilously short in app speed and reporting. As these features are essential for time management and ROI, it's only a viable option if the alternatives don't offer specialty-specific functionalities.
Choosing a medical billing app should take time and consideration. Keep these key elements in mind while vetting options. Outline your specific needs to narrow down the options and find the best fit for your specialty.