As our personal and professional technology is constantly evolving, it makes perfect sense that there are advances in medical billing and coding software. Software Advice, a service that matches a customer’s needs with the appropriate software, recently evaluated a random selection of interactions with customers who were in the market for medical billing software. Software Advice found that almost 40% of buyers were replacing or updating their current billing software systems because:
- 19% said they didn’t have confidence that their present software would achieve regulatory compliance.
- 17% said they wanted to eliminate paper from the medical billing process.
- 15% said their present system was outdated.
What these respondents are saying is that healthcare facilities that use medical billing and coding software need advanced and sophisticated software that both fulfills the needs of medical billers and coders and meets the regulations put in place by insurance companies and government entities.
Sometimes the best way to get an idea of what sort of advances are being made in a field or industry is to talk to professionals working right in it. We’ve talked to some experts who work with medical billing software and medical coding software, and who work with the healthcare professionals that deal with those technologies.
Meagan Rhodes is an employee at @Pay, an email payments technology company.
“Most paper/mailed invoices cost an average of $2.06 a piece… oftentimes even higher. The ability to easily convert paper bill clients into email-bill clients is extremely appealing to medical billers. The amount of money they could save by not sending paper bills is astounding.
@Pay is the world’s first patented technology that actually powers payments by email, rather than the traditional method of HTTP (web links). Because of this innovative way of approaching payments, @Pay has created a way for billers to send invoices via email. It’s a literal two-click process for repeat clients.”
Rajesh Voddiraju is the CEO of HealthiPASS, an innovative software company that has developed a solution to patient payments.
“With the surge in enrollment in high deductible health plans (HDHPs), patient out-of-pocket payments now represent 25-35% of a medical groups’ revenue. Less than five years ago, this number was in single digits. Most of the efforts in the last two decades have been around streamlining commerce between Payers (insurance companies and government) and Providers—with the last mile of patient billing often left to paper-based, laborious process.
Our system, HealthiPASS, enables medical groups to deliver greater convenience for their patients and complete transparency into their cost of care—before, during, and after service. This is all performed through a multi-channel, patient engagement platform. The system uses the kind of technology that is everywhere to its advantage, including iPad-based patient check-in kiosks that have patient-facing tools, as well as smartphone apps and web apps—enabling patients to become more engaged and also be financially accountable for the care they receive.”
Dr. Ryan Secan is a doctor and the Chief Medical Officer of MedAptus, a medical billing software company.
“With the increasing complexity of the clinical care environment, having the right tools to handle the current landscape (tracking quality for pay-for-performance measures, facilitating team communication, assigning the right patients to the right providers, etc.) is critical. Electronic tools can meet these needs in ways that paper can’t.
Taking a long view of changes in coding and billing software, over the past decade or so, charge capture software tools have evolved greatly and serve as a natural extension of billing software. By removing the middleman, and allowing the physician to capture the charge at the point of care, often from an iPhone or other device, the entire process becomes much more efficient. More accurate coding, fewer lost charges, and better reconciliation processes generate significant increases in revenue that can help practices as they invest in more clinically-oriented software.”
We also talked to the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), an academy that provides certification and education to physician-based medical coders. The AAPC said that as practice management systems have evolved, they have been able to incorporate things like:
- Patient reminders
- Claim status checks
- Eligibility checks (for insurance)
- Fee schedules (to know when a payment is received and if it’s correct)
- Include medical policies for quick reference
The ACCPC also said:
“The evolution from paper medical records to EMRs (electronic medical records) is evolving the role of the medical coder. EMRs are commonly built to assist the provider in selecting a procedure code from a drop down list or even help the provider select the correct level of evaluation and management service based on the documentation. With the provider selecting the codes, it falls on the medical coder to become more of an auditor, verifying the code selections are accurate based on documentation and medical necessity.
Price is also a factor in the software chosen for a medical practice. The cost of medical billing software increases as more features are added. It is important to know when the features are worth the added cost.”
As helpful as these advances in medical billing and coding software can be, the AAPC stresses that it is important to take the time to train staff to use the software correctly to avoid mistakes or discrepancies. If you are working to pursue a career as a medical billing and coding professional, keep these factors in mind when you’re working toward certification or are looking at job descriptions. The medical billing process is a crucial part of the healthcare industry, and as the software for billers and coders evolve, so will the jobs of professionals in those positions.