Medical Billing

The Rise of Mobile Health and Its Impact on Medical Billing

The Rise of Mobile Health and Its Impact on Medical Billing

Mobile health is an emerging field that facilitates the use of mobile phones in healthcare settings to achieve better healthcare. Such a development has changed not only the way patients perceive healthcare institutions but also how they relate to and execute some of the administrative tasks in the medical field, such as the medical billing process.

This article presents the current impact mobile practice has and describes the reasons that allowed mHealth to become a notable trend that significantly affects medical billing.

Definition Of mHealth

mHealth is the use of mobile equipment, for example, mobile phones, tablets, and wearable machines, to offer health benefits and manage patient records. It is a very broad term and relates to many aspects, including the health monitoring of the patients and their education through the use of teleconferencing technologies, telemedicine, and remote diagnostics. mHealth solutions harness wireless communication and mobile devices to improve the timeliness of getting health information, the communication process from patient to provider, and the process of delivering healthcare services.

 Evolution Of Mobile Health

The journey of mHealth can be traced through several key milestones that highlight its growth and integration into mainstream healthcare:

1. Early Applications And SMS Services

There has been a long history of mHealth where services at first were basic, such as SMS reminding patients of appointments and medication. Such an early use of mobile technology showed that the use of mobile technology can be helpful in improving patient compliance as well as helping to reduce missed appointments.

2. Emergence Of Smartphones

The advent of mobile phones and mobile devices running on intelligent operating systems and possessing mobile data connectivity boosted the field of mHealth. The impact mobiles have in the form of smartphone applications in health information includes fitness tracking, chronic disease management, and virtual consultation.

3. Integration With Wearable Devices

Smartphones and their fitness trackers and smartwatches added a new dimension called mHealth. These devices have the ability to track actual physical activity, heart rate, as well as sleep patterns giving the users great information about their health.

4. Rise Of Telemedicine And Remote Patient Monitoring

Mobile Health can be defined as the medical practice that is supported by the use of Telemedicine and RPM, which have grown rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic. These technologies make it easier to do video consultations and, at the same time, allow healthcare providers to track patients’ important vital parameters at home over time without the need for physical visits.

Impact On Medical Billing

medical billing technology

The idea of using modern information technologies in the healthcare system has led to changes in medical billing. These positive and negative developments can be observed that mHealth offers.

1. Streamlining Billing Processes

mHealth technologies can greatly streamline medical billing by automating various aspects of the process:

  • Automated Data Entry: The patient data obtained by wearable health apps and devices can be sent and loaded automatically into electronic health records. This automation helps to take off a significant workload from the hospital employees, and it also gets rid of risks tied to human mistakes during data entry.
  • Real-Time Billing: The use of real-time data collection gives healthcare providers the convenience of instantly generating bills and submitting them after a service has been given. This reduces the number of weeks between treatment and billing and increases the reimbursement rate that the facility receives.
  • Enhanced Coding Accuracy: The submission of patient interactions and treatments digitally through mHealth applications ensures that medical coding is done more accurately. There are some crucial tips on how to effectively code that are aimed at minimizing instances of claim denials and audits.
  • Telemedicine Billing: The use of telemedicine requires the introduction of additional billing codes and mechanisms. mHealth platforms could also help code these services, as it is important to bill the right services in order to be reimbursed for virtual consultation.

2. Challenges in Billing Adaptation

Despite the benefits, integrating mHealth into medical billing presents several challenges:

  • Complexity Of Billing Codes: The creation of new mHealth services brings in the need for special codes to be developed for billing purposes, which may not be straightforward and may require lots of education for billing professionals.
  • Insurance Reimbursement: Most insurance companies, however, do not recognize mHealth services, creating gaps in reimbursing these services. Policy changes have to be undertaken to ensure that mHealth services are covered in a standard manner.
  • Patient Misunderstanding: Patients may lack knowledge about the billing procedure the mHealth services use, developing confusion and disputes. These issues can be better dealt with through open conversations and education.
  • Regulatory Challenges: It is therefore not surprising that there are regulatory challenges when it comes to billing mHealth services. The reason to adhere to regulations such as the False Claims Act is to ensure to escape legal penalties.

Benefits Of Mobile Health

The rise of mHealth offers numerous benefits to both patients and healthcare providers:

1. Improved access to care

Another advantage of mHealth solutions manifests in geographical limitations, as people in remote or underserved areas are able to have access to top-notch medical services.

2. Enhanced patient engagement

Smartphones and fitness trackers help patients manage their conditions on their own by scheduling medications, tracking condition progress, and monitoring their overall health progress.

3. Real-time data and analytics

Healthcare providers become able to get crucial details of the patients’ health, as well as provide crucial information that can be used to predict health trends and improve the overall healthcare scenario.

4. Cost efficiency

Eliminating or minimizing the person-to-person interactions and hospitalization-related expenses, mHealth can help significantly cut the cost of healthcare.

5. Convenience and flexibility

Traditionally, patients do not have to make an appointment, do not get reminded of their appointments, and do not have to travel to the doctor’s office to consult them. These activities associated with healthcare can be effectively improved by technological solutions.

Future Trends in MHealth and Medical Billing

The future of mHealth and the impact mobile has on medical billing looks promising, with several trends expected to shape the landscape.

1.  Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The use of artificial intelligence and other machine learning mechanisms can greatly improve the mHealth ecosystem by offering predictive analytics, specific treatment modules, and more automatic billing schedules. They can detect overbilling or underbilling issues, help determine risk, and ensure effective revenue cycle management.

2.  Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology can be used to ensure privacy and trust in relation to transactions involving health data. It can also increase the security of medical bills, including integrity and validity, to prevent fraud.

3.  Value-Based Care Models

The trend towards value-based agreements where hospitals will be paid not for the services given but for the results achieved will be supported by mHealth. mHealth devices also help to prove primary effectiveness in value-based billing.

4.  Interoperability Standards

The increased demand for standardization will be to ensure greater interoperability within mHealth applications, EHRs, and billing systems. This will assist in streamlining billing procedures and also in the submission of claims.

5.  Patient-Centric Billing

Today’s patients are more involved in the decision-making process, and this factor determines patients’ interest in transparent billing systems. mHealth can minimize different charges that patients incur by giving them detailed payment information and helping them to pay the charges with convenience.

Conclusion

Mobile practice is the latest phenomenon in the healthcare industry that promises numerous possibilities for empowering the development of healthcare. The significance that it could have on improving medical billing is tremendous and could increase efficiency, accuracy, and transparency. But for such benefits to be achieved completely, the problems concerning data security, the regulatory frameworks, and the adoption of technology have to be overcome. This likely become prevalent in the future as innovations in mHealth technology continue to be made, and the healthcare billing system will need to adapt to the changes to keep up with this progress. Read our another blog about the impact of technology in medical credentialing.