Cut Time and Errors in Patient Billing
AutoBilling uses scanners or handheld computers to
automate how data is entered into medical billing systems. Versatile
and easy to use, AutoBilling works with any type of medical billing
Most healthcare providers use a standard form to
record the procedures and diagnoses associated with a patient visit.
Commonly called a "patient encounter form", a "charge
slip", or a "superbill", this document captures all
the information needed for billing.
In the past, the data on this form would be manually
keyed into the provider's billing system - a tedious task that consumes
many hours of staff time. AutoBilling replaces manual keying of
data with a computerized solution. It automatically reads encounter
forms, or acquires charge information from handheld computers, validates
the data found, and sends the data to the billing system. AutoBilling
is faster than a human operator and does not make mistakes.
Scan Forms / Acquire Charges From Handheld Computers
AutoBilling can use a scanner attached to a computer
to process encounter forms. A medium speed scanner will read six
pages per minute and has a fifty-page document feeder.
AutoBilling can also use handheld computers for the
entering of charge information. For the handhelds, we normally provide
an interface with your billing system that downloads the daily patient
schedule to the handheld. This interface is free with our system
and does not require the involvement of the billing system vendor.
After a day's charges have been captured on the handheld, the handheld
is synchronized with the main AutoBilling database, and the charge
Replace Manual Effort
AutoBilling performs obvious validations, such as
making sure every procedure has a diagnosis, and more complex ones,
such as making sure certain procedure-diagnosis combinations are
used for certain insurance companies. Validations can also be customized
for each installation, as per client requirements.
Once validated, the data is sent to the billing system
by supplying the billing system application with the same keystrokes
and mouse-clicks that would be entered by a person. This "keystroke
emulation" allows for complete flexibility when entering any
type of data into the billing program. For example, the data entered
can include not only procedures and diagnosis, but also items such
as modifiers, quantities, payments, referrers, authorizations, injury
dates, and dates for follow-up appointments.
In addition to saving the time and effort associated
with manual entry, AutoBilling offers these major benefits:
- Far fewer data entry errors
- Consistent application of data entry rules
- Reduced rejections from insurance companies
- Tracking of missing forms
- Ability to rapidly research past data entry history on any account
- An integrated database of all patient records
Easy To Use
AutoBilling processes automated encounters in four
Scan Forms / Synchronize
Handhelds - Either the user places forms in the scanner's
document feeder, and clicks on a button to read the forms. Or the
user connects a handheld to the AutoBilling computer, and synchronization
automatically occurs in about thirty seconds.
Recognition - The user clicks on
a button to initiate interpretation of the charge data.
Verification - The user brings up
on the screen any encounters that contain validation errors and
quickly make the necessary corrections.
Posting - The user clicks on a button
to initiate transfer of the data from the encounters into the Billing
System. An operator need not be present once posting begins. After
posting is complete, the screen displays a log file showing the
status of every transaction.
Form Design / Handheld Interface Design
The automated encounter form, and the handheld screen
interface, are designed to be as similar as possible to the existing
manual forms, enabling easy use by staff members.
The typical automated encounter form contains areas
for standard procedures and diagnoses. Non-standard procedure or
diagnosis codes can be handwritten in boxes elsewhere on the form.
Typically the top of the form has a row of circles
for specifying the physician. If the organization has multiple offices,
there is also a row of circles to select the location. At the bottom
of the form, a set of circles allows you to specify if a co-pay
was involved and how it was paid. Other items frequently captured
on forms include referrers, authorizations, injury dates and insurance
The handheld screen interface contains areas for
capturing the same information as on a form. In addition, to make
the selection of charge information on the handheld as quick as
possible, the software remembers previously used typical combinations
of charge data.
Validating Encounter Information
The basic validations performed by AutoBilling ensure
that encounter charges are filled out completely and consistently.
For example, validations typically check that a provider is specified
and that every procedure has a diagnosis. Also, when a system is
installed for a specific site, custom validation rules are often
created as well.
- Some situations require certain data to be present, such as a referring physician, injury date or modifier
- Some diagnosis/procedure/insurance combinations may be invalid
- Some procedures may imply certain diagnoses
- Some procedures may need to be posted in certain sequences
The implementation process includes thorough testing
of validation rules to ensure their proper functioning.
Identifying Patients When Using Forms
When using forms, AutoBilling needs to know the account
number and service date for the visit. The account number and service
date can be supplied either from text or from a barcode. However,
using a barcode has several advantages:
- Barcodes normally use less space on the form than text, allowing the layout of more elements such as standard procedures and diagnoses
- Barcodes aid in tracking of missing forms
- Barcodes are generally read more easily than text
If the account number and service date are supplied
from text, the site will print these fields on the automated encounter
forms using a laser printer. Often a site does this already, using
the appointment-scheduling module of the billing system to pre-print
demographic data on forms the day before an appointment.
When using barcodes, AutoBilling can be set up to
interface with the appointment-scheduling module of the billing
system to pre-print barcodes the day before the patient visit.
Identifying Patients When Using Handheld Computers
A day's schedule of patients is normally downloaded
to the handheld using the interface with the billing system we include
at no charge. Users can also manually add patients to the schedule.
The home screen on the handheld becomes a list of patients for the
day, and the user merely clicks on a specific patient in the list
to enter charge information for that patient.
Batch And Immediate Scanning
AutoBilling offers two modes of scanning: batch mode
and immediate mode. Batch scanning is used most often because it
results in the greatest gains in staff productivity. With batch
scanning, the operator scans group of forms, verifies any problems,
and then initiates the posting of data from the whole group. Typically
the group could be an entire day's worth of encounters. Once begun,
the posting process does not require an operator, allowing it to
occur after hours
.Immediate scanning is used if an organization wants to scan individual
forms as patients check out. With immediate scanning, the user scans
a single form, and if no verification is required, the system will
automatically initiate posting of the data.
Tracking Missing Charges / Online Log Of Processing
AutoBilling tracks missing encounters by comparing
barcodes produced for forms, and patients listed on handhelds, with
encounters processed. AutoBilling can generate a missing charges
report as long as the site has a network that connects all computers
where barcodes are produced and where handhelds are synchronized.
AutoBilling keeps a complete log of all processing
history. If a user has to research what happened to a particular
encounter, it takes just a few seconds to find the encounter in
the history and to see exactly the transactions that were involved.
AutoBilling keeps electronic images of encounters
on a scanning computer's hard disk. This allows past encounters
to be viewed or printed out whenever needed. It is usually possible
for several years of encounters to be stored online.
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