Drchrono, a health care software as a service (SaaS) developer for Apple iOS, announced that it has added payment processing to its electronic health record (EHR) app on the iPhone and instant insurance-eligibility checking on the iPad.
Patients can check insurance eligibility through Drchrono's EHR software and through the OnPatient check-in app. Drchrono introduced OnPatient in August 2011.
The company announced the payment-processing and insurance-eligibility updates June 7.
One time-consuming aspect of the doctor's office experience is a clerk or nurse calling an insurance company to check for insurance eligibility and information on patients' deductibles and coinsurance. Doctors and patients can now look up insurance status instantly on an iPhone or iPad.
"A patient can see all their information, how much their copayment is, how much their deductible is," Daniel Kivatinos, co-founder and chief operating officer for Drchrono, told eWEEK.
Sometimes a doctor's office will submit a copayment and then find out later that a patient must pay coinsurance. The instant insurance eligibility on the iPhone and iPad will clarify the patient's financial responsibilities, said Michael Nusimow, cofounder and CEO of Drchrono.
To take patients' payments using an iPhone or iPod Touch, a doctor's office can plug a Square credit-card reader into the device's audio jack. Square offers a credit-card reader for Apple iOS and Google Android devices. Providers can process payments using the practice-management section of Drchrono's platform.
Physicians running a private practice can avoid purchasing a "clunky" check-out terminal and instead use the free Square credit-card reader on the iPhone, said Kivatinos.
The portability of the iPhone could allow doctors to take payments during house calls, he said.
"Drchono is trying to make the physician and the whole practice more mobile," said Kivatinos.
The more lightweight use of the iPhone appealed to Drchrono, said Nusimow.
Although Square offers integration with the iPad, Drchrono's Square payment feature is available initially on the iPhone and iPod Touch. The company plans to add this capability to the iPad in the next couple of months.
The Drchrono app on the iPhone can hide other menu items users may not need at the moment, said Kivatinos.
Doctors prefer Apple devices according to Manhattan Research, and Drchrono is looking to make iPhone and iPod Touch more useful for providers.
"The iPhone and iPod Touch are not being used right away in a medical setting," said Kivatinos. "The last four months we've been focusing on creating a different experience on the iPhone and iPod Touch," he said, referring to the menu-hiding capability.
"A lot of these apps are not designed to use the whole screen of the iPhone and iPod Touch," said Kivatinos.
By offering its SaaS EHR, check-in and practice-management on the Apple iOS, Drchrono is looking to get doctors off the computers on wheels (COWs) in hospitals and become more mobile.
"If they want to go outside their hospital, they just can't in their current state," said Kivatinos.
"[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," said Nusimow. "Ultimately, our goal is to have the technology fade away into the background while physicians focus on what matters: the patient."