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A California company known for creating an electronic health record platform for the iPad is adding payment processing and insurance eligibility tools.
The tools, unveiled earlier this month by Mountain View, Calif.-based drchrono, are designed to enable physicians and their patients to make and accept payments by credit card and check health insurance eligibility on an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. They’re being targeted at independent physicians and those in practices of up to 10 doctors, which have typically been hesitant to adopt mobile technology tools.
The company’s co-founders aren’t beating around the bush in explaining their sales strategy.
“It’s really a bribe,” said Michael Nusimow, who’s also drchrono’s chief executive officer. “It makes them look cool in front of their patients.”
More importantly, say Nusimow and Daniel Kivatinos, the company’s chief operating officer, the payment and insurance eligibility apps enable small-practice physicians to help patients check their insurance and recoup payments during the clinical encounter, whether that’s in the hospital, the clinic or the home. And since the percentage of patients paying their bill drops dramatically once the patient and the doctor part ways, that’s an important opportunity to collect revenues that might otherwise be lost.
Nusimow said drchrono’s iPad EHR is the answer to the older, impersonal, Windows-based applications that tend to distract physicians and make patients feel like they’re being ignored. By pushing the platform to a mobile device, he said, physicians are more apt to use it as part of their conversations with patients, rather than interrupting their conversations to look up some bit of data. In addition, physicians using mobile devices can bring healthcare to their patients, rather than requiring their patients to come to them.
By integrating payment and insurance eligibility tools, Kivatinos added, the company helps small physicians streamline and improve their practice management capabilities, reducing time spent on administrative tasks and improving payment rates.
Payment processing is performed in conjunction with Square, another Silicon Valley company. By plugging a Square card reader into the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch audio jack, physicians or their staff can swipe a patient’s credit card and complete the transaction to the physician’s or practice’s bank account. The transaction is then updated in the physician’s or office’s practice management system. The insurance eligibility check, which drchrono developed for its EHR and patient check-in apps, enables both providers and patients to check insurance coverage in real time, rather than making phone calls once the patient visit is over.
“This is something completely new” for doctors, said Kivatinos, who sees such capabilities adding value to home healthcare visits and spurring doctors to make more house calls or developing specialist or concierge services. “This sort of changes the game.”
Nusimow said more than 23,000 physicians are using the drchrono EHR platform, and hundreds have signed up for the new capabilities since they were launched earlier this month.
“Our focus is on creating a better medical experience for doctors and their staff,” he said in a June 7 press release. “By adding real-time health insurance eligibility information into the platform as well as mobile payment processing, we’ve provided some simplicity and a little bit of ease to a profession that is undoubtedly stressful on a daily basis. Ultimately, our goal is to have the technology fade away into the background while physicians focus on what matters – the patient.”
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