Implementation of a Handheld Electronic Point-of-Care Billing System Improved Efficiency in the Critical Care Unit

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Coding and billing are time consuming and important considerations for critical care practitioners. A 1-year prospective, observational study incorporated the use of a personal digital assistant and MDeverywhere software (Hauppauge, New York) for patient coding and billing. Twelve months of data were examined before electronic implementation (pre-elec) and compared with a 12-month period after implementation (post-elec) by using an unpaired t test or z test with P < .05 considered significant. The total number of charges was 2479 pre-elec and 2243 post-elec. The days from date of service to billing for services significantly decreased from 37.8 pre-elec to 12.4 post-elec (P < .001); days in accounts receivable significantly decreased from 92.0 to 73.0 (P < .001). The net collection rate increased from 44.7% pre-elec to 49.3% post-elec (P < .001). Duplicate charges significantly decreased from 5.0% pre-elec to 1.4% post-elec (P < .001). The return on investment was 1.97-fold (197%). The initiation of personal digital assistant technology to facilitate billing and coding resulted in significant improvements.

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