Computerisation and electronic billing

The Wellington Hospital
24 February 2005

There were presentations by Mr Tom Hunt (PPM Software) and Mr Steven Carroll of Healthcode.

Mr Hunt spoke about the value of computers in the production of invoices, codification and the maintenance of accurate accounts. Most secretaries were involved in computerised data and were able to research without difficulty the outstanding debts and current financial status. The ease of statement production for outstanding accounts was one of the prominent features of the PPM system. Mr Hunt also stated that the system allowed electronic linkage with all the recognised payors.

Mr Steven Carroll spoke about Healthcode and electronic billing company acting as a conduit and owned by several insurers and some hospital provider groups. Healthcode currently operates an electronic system on behalf of a large number of hospitals but only a small number of consultants. Its business is funded through the hospital providers and the service at the moment is free for consultants.

There were questions about the ease with which this Healthcode system could be employed by secretaries and whether or not extra data was required. Computer systems such as PPM were geared to link electronically with Healthcode.

In the discussion it was also made clear that patients should always receive a printed copy of the consultant’s invoice so as to confirm their own personal responsibility for payment and the contract with the consultant. It was felt that electronic billing could lead to the perception that the insurance company was entirely responsible for the bill.

Further discussion related to some of the technology of computer systems, the methods of dealing with shortfalls, bad debts and debt collection methods.

The meeting was rated highly in the returns from the attendees and further meetings are planned in the future.

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